One of the most common problems within a home’s electrical system is that of a tripped circuit breaker. You’ve probably experienced it a number of times yourself. Usually, the fix is a simple flip of a switch, and the lights are back on. But occasionally, the circuit breaker won’t reset or keeps tripping. So, what can you do if your circuit breaker won’t reset?
1. Be sure you are resetting the breaker properly.
First of all, be sure that you are taking the proper steps to reset the breaker. It sounds silly, but make sure you’re flipping the right switch. Also, be sure that you’re pushing the breaker handle firmly and fully to the off position, and then back to the on position.
2. Check for evidence of an overloaded circuit.
Signs of an overloaded circuit can look something like this: a circuit breaker trips, won’t reset immediately, resets after a cool-down period, and then trips again after a few minutes. The cause of an overloaded circuit is usually just that there are too many heavy loads plugged into receptacles or outlets on the same circuit, or that there is a faulty appliance plugged into the circuit that is causing the problem. Overloaded circuits are common in older kitchens and bathrooms where there are often several appliances plugged into the same circuit.
To troubleshoot the cause, unplug everything and reset the breaker. If it stays reset, plug in everything one by one, until a problem becomes evident.
3. Check for a short circuit.
If the circuit breaker won’t reset and trips immediately, the problem might be a short circuit. A short circuit occurs when a hot wire carrying a current touches a neutral wire. In this case, the flipped breaker is a safety mechanism and is evidence of your circuit breaker working properly. A short circuit can cause broken appliances, overheating, or even be a fire hazard. If you suspect a short circuit is the reason your circuit breaker keeps tripping, leave the breaker off and call a licensed electrician.
4. Check for a faulty breaker.
Although it is much less likely, it is possible that the breaker itself is faulty. If this is the case, you definitely need to call a licensed electrician for help.
5. Call an electrician for help.
Whether you are inexperienced, uninterested, or just too busy to find the underlying cause of why your circuit breaker won’t reset, a phone call to a licensed electrician at White’s Electrical can’t hurt. At White’s Electrical, we have the experience, knowledge, and tools to find and fix the problem for good.