You woke up early because of a very important meeting. You were getting ready and started to blow dry your hair when suddenly your circuit breaker trips. This is not the first time it’s happened and it is getting to be annoying-especially now that you cannot afford to be late. Sound familiar?
When a circuit breaker trips, it switches off the electrical flow to prevent and protect the circuit from causing damage or the possibility of an electrical fire caused by overheating. If this is repeatedly happening, plug your appliance into another outlet until to find out what initiates the tripping.
Reasons other than your hair dryer that might be causing your circuit breaker to trip
- Circuit Overload or Overloaded Circuit means there are plenty of heavy-powered appliances or devices running on the same circuit at the same time. This is the most common cause of breaker trip. Heavy-powered appliances include air conditioner, refrigerator, television set, hair dryer or any device that have a 15 amp circuit with 20 amps worth of electricity. If they all work at the same time and are connected to the same circuit, your breaker will trip to prevent overheating. To solve this issue- reallocate the high-powered appliances to another mutual purpose circuit, and turn off some appliances using the same circuit to minimize the electrical load. Overheating appliances can also cause an overloaded circuit because it pulls in more amps than the usual that causes the circuit to overload. This usually happens during summer in the case of an overheating air conditioner.
- Short Circuit refers to a black (hot) wire touching the white (neutral) wire in one of your outlets. There are several reasons why these wires touch, but it could also be a simple improper wiring or loose connection. The circuit breaker shuts off when these two wires touch because a huge amount of current flows, producing more heat than what your circuit can handle. A short circuit is the next possible cause of stripping circuit, which is in fact, more dangerous. To know if a short circuit occurred, check your plugs and outlets for any black/brown discoloration or any burning smell.
- A Ground fault is almost the same as a short circuit. It occurs when a black or hot wire touches the ground or the bare copper wire located on the side of a metal outlet box, which is attached to the ground wire. To check if any ground fault occurred, check your outlets for anything that does not look usual or normal.
Don’t ignore your tripping circuit breaker. The best thing to do if you notice the circuit breaker tripping often is contact a licensed electrician. An electrician will quickly and safely identify the real cause of the breaker trip.