Q:

Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?

A:

Quick Answer

A circuit breaker trips when the current traveling through the circuit exceeds the rating of the breaker, causing it to become warm and spring open. This occurs when too many electrical devices are plugged into a single circuit. Moving some of the devices to other circuits should relieve the problem.

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Full Answer

Circuit breakers in the home are often rated for 15 or 20 amperes. With 120-volt service, this means they have a limit of 1800 or 2400 watts, respectively. However, circuits should only run at 80 percent capacity for long periods, so if a circuit is loaded near its maximum, it may cause the breaker to trip.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes a circuit breaker to get hot?

    A:

    Circuit breakers get hot when the current exceeds the rating of the breaker. The electricity that flows through the circuit produces heat in the unit. When that heat reaches a certain point, the breaker trips and breaks the circuit. Warmth indicates that the circuit is at or near capacity.

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  • Q:

    How do you test a circuit breaker?

    A:

    To test a circuit breaker using a multimeter, remove the circuit breaker box cover and turn the switch on. Using the multimeter's red prong, touch the screw that connects to the breaker. Touch the grounded box using the black prong. If there's no voltage reading, then the breaker is faulty.

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  • Q:

    How do you change a circuit breaker?

    A:

    To change a circuit breaker, switch off the main circuit breaker, and unscrew the load terminal wire. Remove the old breaker, and reverse the sequence used to remove it to install the new one. Use a voltage tester, a screw driver, and a new circuit breaker to complete this task.

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  • Q:

    What is the function of a circuit breaker?

    A:

    The function of a circuit breaker is to cut off electrical power if wiring is overloaded with current. They help prevent fires that can result when wires are overloaded with electricity.

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