What Causes a San Diego Circuit Breaker to Trip?
Going outside, to the garage, or down into the basement to mess with your tripped circuit breaker can start to become frustrating when it keeps happening again and again. So why does it keep happening? A San Diego circuit breaker “trips”–or shuts off the electrical flow—to keep the circuit from overheating and causing significant damage. If this didn’t happen, we’d see a huge spike in the number of house fires all across the country.
So before you back out to flip the switch on your breaker one more time, you may want to consider what the root cause of the problem is. There are three typical causes of a San Diego circuit breaker trip:
- Ground Fault Surges
- Overloaded Circuits
- Short Circuits
Here’s a quick look at what those things mean to you and your home, and you can help prevent them but doing more damage.
An overloaded circuit is the most common reason a circuit breaker will trip. You’re simply asking a particular circuit to give you more electricity than it has the capacity for, which causes it to begin to overheat. For example, if you’re running a television and computer through the same circuit, using 20 amps worth of electricity in an outlet that can handle 15 amps, the circuit breaker will trip to prevent the circuit from overheating and possibly causing a fire.
There are a couple of easy solutions to this problem. First, you can redistribute your devices and keep them from all being on the same circuit. Or, you could turn off some of the devices to reduce the electrical load.
The next possible and much more dangerous cause of a circuit breaker tripping is a short circuit. A short circuit occurs when a “hot” wire comes into contact with a “neutral wire” in one of your outlets. When this happens, a large amount of the current flows, which creates more heat than the circuit can handle. Again, the circuit shuts off to prevent any dangerous outcomes.
You’ll know if you’ve had a short circuit because your outlets will have a smell of burning around them, or you notice a brown or black discoloration. These wires could cross for any number of reasons, and it may be as simple as loose connections or faulty wiring.
Ground Fault Surges
This is very similar to a short circuit. A ground fault happens a hot wire touches a ground wire, which is made of bare copper, or the side of a metal outlet box which is connected to the ground wire. As was the case with short circuits, you should be able to see a discoloration around your outlet if this has occurred.
If you need any assistance with determining what’s causing your San Diego circuit breakers to trip, call our professionals and we’ll be glad to help. It’s a matter of safety, and letting the problem go untreated is creating a dangerous environment for you and your family.