Determining the cause of the overload of the electrical circuit is essential. This guide is about circuit breaker keeps tripping.
I just moved into a brand new apartment, we are the first tenants to live here. In my bedroom I have a 47 inch TV, Xbox, surround sound system, alarm clock, cable box, laptop, desktop computer, and monitor (for the desktop), a total of 8 things plugged in.
My 20 amp breaker would pop all the time, so I unplugged everything except my Xbox, cable box, TV, and my surround sound. It still tripped the breaker. So I thought it might be the surge protector I have so I got another one and it still tripped. Now I have used two surge protectors and two separate outlets and it still trips all the time.
I currently have only three things plugged into two different surge protectors on two different outlets and it pops a lot less often, but I shouldn't have to do this. The breaker should easily be able to handle everything. I had an electrician come and check it out and they said everything was fine and it was probably something I had plugged in, but with my Xbox, TV, and surround it doesn't trip. If I add anything else no matter what, alarm clock, laptop charger, anything it trips. It's really getting old. Any suggestions? The breaker only runs the outlets, nothing else, no lights or anything.
By Tyler H.
May 21, 2011
In order to decide how big of an electrical service is needed in your home, one has to do a little math homework. Calculating how much power both you and your electrical appliances use is necessary to calculate this number. I'm often asked how to figure this load. It really is pretty simple if you know what to look for and how to add up the loads.
The first thing to know is that circuits should only be loaded at 80% of the total circuit load. To help you understand the concept, if you have a 15-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 12 amps. The total wattage would be 1,800 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 1,440 watts.
If you have a 20-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 16 amps. The total wattage would be 2,400 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 1,920 watts.
On a 30-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 24 amps. The total wattage would be 3,600 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 2,880 watts.
To determine the wattage, you take the voltage times the amperage. Check the tags on all of your appliances for the required amperage rating. Add all of the lighting load by adding the total wattage of the light bulbs in your home. Look at the light bulbs and read the wattage that is printed on them.
Your home will likely also have 240-volt appliances like water heaters, air conditioners, electric dryers and electric ranges. These too will have an amperage rating label and the wattage can be calculated. The voltage, 240 volts, times the amperage, say 30 amps, will equal the wattage requirements.
By ann Cohn 1
My circuit beaker keeps tripping on my dishwasher, garbage disposal, and light above sink. I changed the breaker and light switches and it still won't turn on help?
By Ann from Greenville, SC
February 9, 2011
You should really buy a continuity tester.Just a starting point.
1. Make sure power is off at each item with a volt meter before working on them.
2. Disconnect each appliance completely from the circuit.
3. Then check first for continuity from the black wire to the green wire/frame of the appliance. If you have continuity to ground from the black of an appliance that's your puppy.
If you don't no how to use a tester, I would say this job is not for you and you should call a pro.
By Kim 1
We have a 15 amp breaker that keeps tripping. This is something that just started happening. This is what feeds off that breaker: livingroom lights, 2 TVs, kitchen lights, fridge, washer, dryer, master bedroom, guest bathroom, laundryroom lights, all porch lights, and a new gas heater with an electronic ignition and fan. This is a 1977 doublewide mobile home. What could suddenly cause this to happen and is it dangerous?
By Kim from Silver Springs, NV
January 6, 2011
You bet your bippy that's dangerous! Unplug everything and get an electrician out there today to help you sort out what is overloading that particular breaker. My guess is that whomever installed the new gas heater didn't 'add' a new breaker for it exclusively.
January 6, 2011
1) the circuit breaker has gone bad (they do that)
2) you have way, way too much on that breaker!
I would bet that the breaker trips when the heater comes on. The heater should be on its own breaker. I agree with everyone else, call the electrician now!
I have girls and they keep tripping the 20 amp breaker. I made sure there is 12 gauge wire and there are only two receptacles on this circuit. But when the girls plug in both hair dryers and curling irons it blows the breaker. Will I have to run a dedicated line for each receptacle?
June 23, 2011
A hairdryer is nominally rated 1500watts; according to the NEC, the breaker has to be rated at least 80% greater than the load. Hence, 1500w divided by 120vac = 12.5 amps x 125% = 15.63 Amps (minimum rating for the circuit breaker) Now if you have TWO hairdryers (12.5A x 2 = 25 Amps) on the one 20A circuit breaker, you'll trip every time. If you don't, then you really have problems.
You could run #10 Romex and change out to a 30A circuit breaker but that will put the breaker at maximum capacity. It may make more sense to leave the #12awg, change the circuit breaker to a 25amp rating and run an identical separate circuit of the same. Otherwise you will keep having issues.
My breaker keeps tripping. My air conditioner is on a 15 amp circuit and it goes out every 6-19 minutes, and then I will have to reset. It also takes out the living room, kitchen, and bathroom lights. This is in a one bedroom apartment. I have unplugged everything in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen except for the fridge, but it still goes out. What to do?
June 29, 2012
Actually contact your apartment manager and he should have maintenance check it out for you. Unless you own the apartment, instead of renting it is his responsibility.
We have a 3 bedroom house and my son's family started living with us. Before this we were only using 1 bedroom. Now there is a 110 volt window unit in every room, AT&T U-verse TV in every room, plus naturally the lights. The breaker started tripping (15 amp) so we bought a new one. The new one is tripping now. Help! What to do? Can we go up to a 20 amp breaker?
June 3, 2011
Do not put in a 20 amp breaker. Breakers are sized to protect the size of wire in a circuit. In general 15 amp breakers are used to protect 14 gauge wire, 20 amp 12 gauge. You most likely have 14 gauge wire and over sizing the breaker is dangerous and can lead to short circuits and fire. The answer is to use fewer appliances, especially a/c units or have more circuits put in, maybe even a dedicated line for each a/c unit.
By tmr34 1
I have a 20 amp circuit that goes to my barn and garage and the breaker is tripping even when nothing is turned on. I can run the garage doors and turn on the lights and it does not trip. I check the next morning and it is tripped. I can't seem to get it to trip while things are running just when the circuit is idle?
November 19, 2015
Breakers can trip from short circuits and overloads.
From what you describe, it is not overloaded (it is idle). An electrician can verify this with a ammeter.
A short circuit can be caused by water to a damaged or improperly installed wire. (an electrician can verify the wire is okay with a megger).
In the morning is there a dew? Has it rained? Can water be getting into the electrical boxes?
Is it possible someone is using the circuit overnight and tripping it out on overload?
I live in senior housing, 55 and older. I have an assigned post for my vehicle. When I plug it in the breaker trips. So I move to another plugin and that works for a couple days, then when I plug in again it pops the breaker again. Maintenance keeps telling me it's my car, but if I go to a friend's and plug in there are no problems. I just have problems at the senior housing. Why does this happen?
November 28, 2011
Your car shouldn't be tripping the breaker at your home if it's not tripping the breakers elsewhere. Do any of your neighbours have the same problem?
The maintenance guy could be dangerously wrong; I say dangerously because the electrical problem needs to be looked at and resolved before it causes a fire.
The draw from your car (and anyone else') is overloading a circuit not up to the work of recharging your vehicle. But if you are plugging into a circuit that is assigned to the purpose of recharging your vehicle, the complex is responsible for maintaining that outlet in a safe and satisfactory condition to accomplish the recharging. For the maintenance guy to say it's your vehicle sounds as though he doesn't want to be bothered.
You should check your agreement to see if you have any recourse to the services of a licensed electrician to check the electrical system you are plugging into, and to whom you can lodge a request for further investigation of the electrical system. Be sure that your vehicle is checked by the dealer or a licensed mechanic certified to work on your model to be sure it really isn't your car, first:)
I just moved into a 1950s house. All the electric seemed to be working fine until carpet was installed yesterday. The circuit breaker flipped and flips again immediately after each attempt to turn it back on. There is no power being drawn on the circuit. It is only feeding overhead lights and outlets with nothing plugged in.
August 26, 2011
If this started after carpet was installed, I'd say somewhere a wire got nicked. It is time to have an electrician come check it out. I am speaking as a fire fighter here, who has heard similar stories that later resulted in a fire
By annie1 1
I have an outside vapor light my husband installed on one end of our barn. The light is on a separate breaker with just the light and a plug on it. I have noticed the past few nights after it has been on about 6 hours the light goes out. When I went to check on it the next morning the breaker had tripped.
My husband had put another vapor light on the other end of our barn and it is fine; it also is on a separate breaker. We have a breaker box with about 20 breakers in it and so far none have tripped except the one.
By annie1 from Crosby, TX
July 27, 2011
Something is causing that breaker to trip-don't take the chance of a fire or electrocution, call a pro in to find out what is wrong.
The breaker to our living room and patio has tripped twice at night. Once my husband just flipped it back on and it was fine. The next night it happened again and will not flip back on. The things on the breaker are just standard things (TV, 2 lamps, an overhead light and fan, as well as, the overhead lights and fans on patio).
We can't figure out why it won't flip back on or why it is tripping at night when everything is off. Any ideas? Oh, and this is a new construction home. We have been in it 1 1/2 years.
July 12, 2011
Usually you will find it on the outside part of the things you mentioned. A bug or spider in the fixture. Turn the breaker off and clean all the fixtures outside including the plug ins. Moisture sometimes causes the wires to corrode, usually something simple like that if it hasn't been doing it before. I do my own and there is no risk as long as the breaker is off.
I live in a three bedroom deluxe seven room plus basement altogether. So I just got my circuit breaker replaced because it was going out. The workers put in new one.
I keep small heaters on, but now that it's been replaced I can't use the microwave or my room, kid's room, parts of my mom's room, part dinning room, kitchen, and basement goes out. The guy who fixed it put it on 15amp. Should it be all on one like that?
By LW from Kansas City, MO
February 1, 2014
No, it should not. It might be a good idea to figure out what is all on that breaker. From my experience, a microwave takes a lot of power. Perhaps, in the short term, you can plug that microwave into a different outlet that is not on this circuit. I have too many outlets on one breaker, and I am going to have the electrician come in and add more circuits (put in more breakers). This may be what you need to do.
I live in a two tenant house. The upstairs neighbors keep blowing the circuit. Last night at least 2 went down. The landlord said that it's impossible for 2 different breakers to go without shutting power down to the whole house. He also said that they think I intentionally shut the breakers down and that this is a criminal offense. I know nothing about breakers (only to reset them). Is it possible for more than one breaker to trip without shutting power to the whole house down?
September 29, 2013
Absolutely agree with everything Dena said! This landlord is trying to dodge the cost of having the house electricity supply brought into the 21st century. If he doesn't get it fixed within a week report him - this really is a fire hazard!
It's also seems he might be trying to cause trouble between you and your fellow tenants - you might want to make a point of talking to them so they know this is nothing you're doing. Then all of you can work together to make sure your landlord upholds his contractual obligations to maintain the wiring to a safe standard.
If you decide to move because of unsafe conditions, under most US state tenant-landlord laws you are not liable to any charges owing to breaking any lease. Don't let this creep intimidate you into paying a cent, this is HIS problem - multiple circuits being blown is not only possible, it means there are very serious problems with the wiring.
Check your lease - no tenant is ever responsible for faulty wiring unless they can be proved to have illegally tampered with it. Should the property catch fire the subsequent investigation by the fire department will prove tampering or that the wiring was deficient and sub-standard - can't fool FD (or insurance) investigators. Many have tried, all have failed.
Consult your local legal aid group, you do have a case.
I wonder - does your landlord even have proper zoning permission to be renting a multi-family property? You might want to check on that.
I live overseas, and have a 220V circuit. Yesterday, when I came home and turned on the light at the bottom of the semi-outdoor stairwell, the main circuit breaker shut off. I turned it back on and it was fine and I shut the light off from the switch at the top. It happened again today, but this time I switched it off from the top before I turned on the circuit breaker.
I plan to not use the stairwell light any more, but is that enough or is it dangerous to leave in that condition? I can call the landlord, but if it's not dangerous, my lease is almost up and I expect to be moving in a couple of months anyway so I'd just as soon not bother the landlord now. But I will if I need to.
By Joy C
May 10, 2013
I would recommend telling your landlord about the problem because if you don't he/she may very well charge you for any repairs that have to be made or not release your bond when you leave.
By carlowbo 1
My downstairs lighting circuit breaker trips every 30 minutes or so. It is a 10 amp breaker. Can you tell me what I should check?
May 9, 2015
Bruce always gives good advice. He knows what he is talking about. However, another thing that he should have mentioned is that breakers wear out if they trip frequently. If I were you, I would go with his advice to change your light bulbs, and then, if the problem persists, call in an electrician to test the wiring and check the breaker. It may be a very inexpensive fix.
We have a circuit breaker that all of a sudden keeps tripping. The breaker box goes directly to the power pole and the only thing on the problem circuit breaker is the pump for our well. We've had this pump on this breaker for 15 years and just started having a problem in the last few days. We already tried replacing the circuit breaker. We replaced it with a 15 amp breaker because that's what was in there before. That did nothing. Can anyone help please?
By Tim A
April 20, 2015
The breaker is tripping from overcurrent. If it trips immediately, it is most likely a short to ground. It could also be a locked rotor on your pump.
If it takes time to trip, it is an overcurrent, and for some reason the pump is working harder than it used to. Maybe buildup within the pump or bearing failure.
Look for physical damage of the cable feeding the pump from the breaker.
If none is found, have an electrician megger the leads to the motor to see if you have a short to ground.
If you do not, you may need to have someone pull the pump and have the motor tested and/or replaced. If it has been the same pump for 15 years, it may be at the end of its life.
The refrigerator, dryer, washer, and 2 outlets on a wall with nothing plugged into them is what's on that breaker. The breaker is setup like a things together. 1 20 on top, 2 30s in the middle and 1 20 at the bottom. It's the 20 on bottom that keeps tripping. We noticed for sure that the refrigerator and the 2 wall outlets don't work when it trips, but we have not noticed if the washer and dryer work or not. Do you think it's a bad breaker? It just started tripping, it tripped once last year before summer and has tripped 3 times in the past month.
April 8, 2015
Well when I asked my daughter about it she said she didn't run anything that day. But I did notice the breaker tripped 10 days apart. I logged the date and what was plugged up and or if anything was running.
I bought my house a year ago. The electrical box was replaced because it did not meet code as well as some wiring and new outlets were installed. I have had absolutely no issues, never blown a breaker or anything.
I came home tonight to find only some of my house working. Half the kitchen, half the living room, half the basement, and my garage door won't open. I checked the electrical box and a breaker blew. I reset it and switched it back on and all it does is spark a little and shut right back off. I unplugged eerything in my house and waited a few hours and tried again and still nothing.
I live in Illinois where we've had the worst winter ever, averaging 70 inches of snow over the course of winter. Today however it reached around 50 so everything was melting and water just pouring down my house non stop. I read there is a box outside as well. Could that be an issue? Or a bad breaker? Please help! The electrician wants $150/hr.
By Missy Mo
February 21, 2014
That electrician might be worth every cent of that $150 /hour. Since you have had no serious issues before, and have just had everything replace, this sounds like a serious issue to me. I'd call the electrician. You may have something dangerous going on - better a big bill than a house on fire.
I recently started renting a two bedroom house with my buddy. When we moved in half the house didn't have power. The land lord called a electrician and got that fixed but failed to fix the light in my bedroom. A new electrician came to work on my light and they have been here for 3 days claiming they are rewiring some stuff in the attic. However, since they have been here we have had problems with breakers tripping due to flipping a light switch. Most of the outlets in the house are wired to just a couple breakers. One being a 30 amp that trips when the light switch is turned off. The electrician wants to put a 35 amp in its place. Is this safe? Also they fixed my light but now it will not turn off. They say I have a bad light switch. Do these guys know what they are doing or should I be scared that they don't know anything about electrical work?
November 3, 2013
I would be very afraid that these guys don't know what they are doing! Since they are rewiring, by law a permit must be issued and an inspection done. Call the city, county or state to see if this has been done (it should be posted where it can be seen).
Putting a larger breaker in means it won't trip if there is a problem and will result in a fire when the wire over heats.
Are there smoke detectors in this place? Make sure you have lots of renters insurance.
I rent a 3 bedroom house with, all together, 7 rooms. When I'm using the AC in one room I can't used it a other room. If I use it, I lose power for the whole house. When I check the breaker panel, there are 6-7 breaker switches in there, but only 1 breaker switch keeps on switching off the whole house. Does that mean the whole house is wired to the 1 switch, is that safe?
October 18, 2012
Although this is the landlord's responsibility, you are the one living in the house. Call the landlord, and insist that he call an electrician. If he doesn't get one there in a day or two, get one in yourself. Document all this, so that if there is work that needs to be done, and your landlord doesn't get it done, and you end up paying for it, you will have documents to prove all this, and you may be able to get reimbursed from small claims court or a provincial or state housing regulator - whatever may be in place wherever you live. Of course, if moving is an option, you may want to just move, but that may not be something that you can do on the spur of the moment.
An air conditioner uses a lot of power, but one breaker shouldn't shut off all the power in a house, unless it is a main breaker. I used to have such a thing -- a switch that shut off all the power in my house trailer. However, it is hard to know what you have in your house. It sounds like a job for an electrician, asap.
My trailer house has a breaker box in my trailer for different parts of my trailer, but it keeps tripping the breaker box on the outside pole that my trailer is plugged into. If I have the dryer and AC on it trips. If I have the microwave and washer on it trips and I have to go outside to reset the switch. Help.
By tootiel from Menominee, MI
I have a 7.5 Kw motor started by a control circuit with breaker. The breaker is tripping while I stop the motor. What is the cause for this?
By biglou 1
The breaker is tripping. I put a new breaker in and disconnected all the light fixtures and it is still tripping. I checked all outlets and switches to see if any are burnt and all look good. Any ideas? Please help.
August 28, 2015
You are on the right track.
I would always recommend a qualified electrician to troubleshoot such a problem.
Removing loads to eliminate possible problem loads is a good start and usually identifies the problem. Make sure all loads have been removed from that circuit.
What an electrician would do is make sure all wires from each removed fixture are isolated with wire nut or tape. Then go to a receptacle nearest the panel and disconnect the hot wire which should be black and connects to the brass colored terminal. He/she would not disconnect at the terminal, but separate at the wire nut because this feeds the other loads down stream. After isolating with wire nut or tape, they would go back to the breaker to see if it stays on. If it doesn't, the problem is between the breaker and receptacle. If it does stay on, the breaker is turned back off and the receptacle is re-installed and the electrician moves to the next receptacle until the problem is found.
By sissy66 1
I have just bought a 1966 mobile home. It is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath with 2 breakers, 1 in each bedroom. There has been some remodeling done, new bathroom lights put into ceiling, in living room overhead light, in kitchen it has a double oven built in. The 1 circuit breaker runs the bedroom, kitchen, dining room (both kinda like one room), the 2nd circuit breaker runs the other bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, living room, and front porch light. There are also 3 air conditioners, 1 big old one in the bedroom of the 2nd circuit breaker, 1 newer small one in the living room, and 1 big one in the dining room. The circuit breaker in the bedroom that runs kitchen etc. seems to work fine, but the other one that runs the living room etc. keeps shutting off. It seems like if the big old air conditioner is on and all lights are on it shuts off within maybe 10 minutes. I think it's longer if the old air conditioner is off. There is nothing plugged in except air conditioners and overhead lights and stove, no refrigerator. Just don't know if it's the air conditioners or something within the remodeling.
August 17, 2015
I would strongly urge you to get an electrician to look into this.
At first, it sounds as though the circuit is overloaded and the living room breaker is tripping on thermal overload. ( a 20 amp breaker allows 25 amps to flow for a period of time while its internals warm up and eventually trip the breaker on overload) If the breaker is being overloaded by the a/c, shutting the a/c and breaker off for 1/2 hour will allow the breaker to cool. Turning breaker back on without the a/c will then determine if the a/c is tripping the breaker.
You also commented about the remodel of your 1966 mobile home. At some point in history it was not uncommon to use aluminum wire in mobile home construction. This was fine, but care had to be taken that all termination points of the wire could accept aluminum. Aluminum shrinks and grows more than copper with temperature change and the terminals where it lands need to be rated for aluminum. If wired incorrectly, this could cause hot spots.
By Hunain A. 1
My main circuit breaker keeps tripping after on attaching a new load, like an iron or home theatre. Please know this, there exists a main circuit breaker through which are connected 3 more breakers, each one of those 3 breakers is connected to 2 rooms.
Now, on tripping, I turn off loads and flip off all those 3 breakers, but the main one keeps tripping, it takes about a minute or more to have it stay at that pose and I then turn on individually each breaker.
June 2, 2015
Your circuit breaker is tripping on overload. Pulling too much current thought the main causes the internal bimetallic strip to heat up and trip the unit. After tripping, the internal bimetallic strip is still hot and must cool down before it can reset. (The bimetallic strip in a breaker is similar to the bimetallic strip in a low cost dial thermometer where increasing or decreasing temperature causes the needle to move)
The bigger problem is you have too much load for your panel, so you either need to shed load (reducing consumption is low cost but inconvenient) or install a larger service (high cost - done by an electrician).
My Continental commercial freezer keeps tripping a 20 amp breaker every hour after reset. It is a commercial freezer that draws 9 amps. I had the 20 amp breaker replaced with a new one, also replaced the plug, and it still trips the breaker. It has a brand-new compressor and a brand new thermostat. What could the be the problem?
June 3, 2015
If you have a single pole breaker - 120 volts, not 240 volts...
Your freezer should have a serial data tag. Verify that the unit is labelled as 115, 117 or 120 for volts and 1 for phase. I am assuming this tag is where you obtained the info that it draws 9 amps.
Also verify that the replacement compressor was 120 volt.
A compressor will draw a fixed amount of power when running (after startup). If your freezer is 240 volt, 9 amp - that would mean it would draw 2160 watts of power (240 times 9). If that freezer were connected to 120 volt it would draw 18 amps (2160 divided by 120) and the inrush of the compressor starting would trip your breaker. The motor would only be rated for the 9 amps and would quickly burn out under the 18 amp draw.
Another possibility is that your 120 volt power is dropping. If your power is dropping to half voltage - 60 volts, this would also result in an 18 amp draw to the load. You would see a voltage drop on your power source - any lighting would be very dim.
I have a house built in 2005. I never had a problem with the breaker box; it is updated and everything. All of a sudden it kept tripping. So I thought since it has a fish tank, heater, and overhead lights in both bedrooms, and a TV it's not overloaded. I put a new 15 amp breaker in and it worked fine for a few days and then did the same thing. I took out the fish tank and heater and it still trips. Why is it doing that? There's no moisture and it's a brand new circuit and the wiring was put in 2005.
March 7, 2015
I am no electrician, but it seems to me that if all you are running on one breaker is a bunch of lights, and the breaker keeps tripping, you have a problem that you need to call an electrician for. Are you sure that this is all that is on that breaker? Do a check as best you can to find out for sure.
Microwaves, for example, make a very heavy draw, as do anything that heats, such as toaster ovens and coffee pots, although micowaves are one of the worst. Could someone be using something like hair dryers or curling irons that might be causing the breaker to overload?
Multiple users might do it, if a bunch of other things were also plugged in as well, such as computers, chargers, etc. No one was using a space heater, were they? Breakers do wear out, and will then overload with very little draw. However, since you have changed the breaker, and the problem still exists, you should likely call an electrician who has the expertise and the tools to figure out what is going on.
I live in New York to start with, if that makes any difference. I live in an apartment and my circuit breakers trip all the time. I'm aware of what it is most of the time, but it seems like most of my apartment is on just a couple of breakers. Just an example, using a space heater and computer speakers in my garage trips a breaker when my roommate turns on an iron in the living room.
Is there anything I can do about this? Is this legal? Also there are regular outlets on either side of my kitchen sink. Shouldn't they be GFCI?
By James from Watertown, NY
January 15, 2015
I don't think there is anything you can do about this except perhaps ask the landlord if there is anyway to have additional circuits put in. I would suspect that the answer would be no, but at least you will have asked. Most older places are not wired with enough different circuits for the amount of electrical devices and appliances that we have today.
Try to figure out which outlets are on the same circuit, and then try to organize your life so that you don't overload those circuits. Appliances that heat - heaters, electric kettles, toasters, coffee makers, irons, etc and the microwave use a lot of power. You will likely not be able to use two of them on the same circuit at the same time. As for now, unplug the heater when your roommate wants to iron.
By James K. 1
The breaker keeps tripping. How can I determine what is making it trip after all the plugs are out of the outlets?
By Jim from NJ
June 2, 2014
There must be something still on the circuit. Some circuits in older homes are severely overloaded. One of mine has 5 outlets on it, and, needless to say, flips when I am not careful about what I have plugged in. Also, breakers wear out, and will then trip when there is hardly any load at all. I had to get the one on this circuit replaced, until I can get an electrician in to add a couple more breakers and rewire this circuit.
It is extremely cold here now and certain areas of the house keep going out. The kitchen stove and refrigerator stay on, but the microwave and other outlets go out. Also the whole living room, my bedroom (with the exception of bathroom and closet), all upstairs bedrooms, bathroom, and garage door with the exception of the garage light and the freezer in the garage (those stay on).
When the main breaker is turned off and back on, everything works for awhile, but then goes out again. Stayed on all night then went out this morning! Could there be a short?
By Sharon S.
By tomnjo 1
Two years in a row, a 20amp circuit has tripped when we on vacation and we lost everything. This is a dedicated circuit just for the freezer. I have a 12 cf freezer which I think draws 7 amps and a small fridge for drinks that pulls 6.6 amps. It appears we may have had a power outage during our absence also. I thought maybe the freezer and fridge starting up at the same time might contribute to the breaker tripping, but it seems like a 20 amp should have been OK. Is there a way for me to track down the problem? Oh, I replaced the breaker the first time it occurred.
December 19, 2013
Your too close to your 20A max for that breaker. When the compressors of the fridge and freezer turn on, they spike the line and if they both do it relatively close to eachother, the breaker will tip from overload. You need to upgrade the breaker to a 30A and make sure that the wiring is able to handle that much of a load. Make sure your using some 3C-12Gauge wire for those outlets since its only spike load, but 3C-10Gauge would be best.
If this is too much, you should just move the fridge to another outlet and you'll stop having this problem.
By Kevin H. 1
I unplugged a frayed cord and it sparked and turned off the breaker and now it won't stop flipping off. What could the problem be?
I just bought a new home in California and I have a 15 amp breaker dedicated to each of the bedrooms. Earlier today one of those breakers tripped. I have already tried disconnecting everything and the power just won't turn back on. The only thing this room has running to that amp is the bedroom lights, TV, DVD player, air purifier, computer, and a Cox cable box. All these are connected to different wall outlets. Is there anything I can do to help me figure this out without having to call the electrician out here?
My husband and I are renting a townhome that was built in the 1980s. The electrical though-out the entire home has issues, some outlets don't work at all, others have burn marks. The master bedroom fan makes a strange mechanical noise and the lights on the fan will randomly go out and come back on. We've found that the entire kitchen and parts of the living room are on the same breaker. As a result, we cannot use our space heater in the living room and the microwave without blowing the circuit.
We're both from Connecticut, where this does not meet code. Does anyone know the Maryland code? Our management company can be impossible to work with, but I'd like them to do something before we burn this place down. Thanks!
By A Moriarty
November 2, 2013
I am sure that this sort of wiring wouldn't satisfy code anywhere, and likely didn't back in the 80's, which was not the dark ages. If it had been wired back in 1935, it might have been okay at the time! You must contact the people who you rent from and get them to deal with this issues. Perhaps if they are not prompt, you can find a rentalsman's office or something from the city that can get on their case. It doesn't sound like a safe home.
I have a pool heater that keeps tripping. There are two breakers on the same circuit, a 60 Amp outside and a 20 Amp inside, with 20 Amp ready wires. After calling the electrician back who installed the heater, he says there is nothing wrong with this practice. Another one says this is against code and not done. Any insight into this, or code/article I can use as proof of wrong-doings, or to show that this is OK? (p.s. the heater is still tripping)
By Chris W.
We bought an 18 cubic foot refrigerator to replace a 10 cubic foot one about two weeks ago. Tonight while running the dishwasher (which we have done daily with this new refrigerator, with no problems before), the refrigerator, dishwasher, ceiling lights in the kitchen, and 2 lamps in the living room all shut off. One other LR lamp in a different outlet stayed on, as did the TV.
We flicked the circuit breaker off/on and all came back on. About 5 minutes later, the same thing happened. We turned off the 2 lamps, flicked the circuit breaker, and all came back on, except we kept the lamps off. Why would this happen now when there's been no problem in the past, including the past 2 weeks with the slightly bigger (Energy Star) refrigerator? Do we need to check this out further with an electrician, or only if it happens again?
By Barbara R
July 3, 2013
This happens in my house because there are too many things on one circuit. I have the fridge, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, TV & all its assorted accessories, and my Roomba all connected to 4 different outlets, but only one breaker. It is obviously not a good wiring configuration, but I suppose there were not quite so many electrical things when the house was wired back in the seventies.
In the morning, when the coffeemaker is working, I cannot microwave anything and make toast at the same time. Later, when the coffee is just keeping warm, I can. If the TV is on, I can only run one of the three in the kitchen. The other day, I had unexpected circuit breaking, and realized that the Roomba was charging when I was trying to do two things in the kitchen, and that was enough to throw the breaker.
I expect that your new dishwasher has more of a draw than the old one did, and so you will just have adjust. There is no harm in the breaker flipping - you would have to worry if you had overloaded circuits and the breaker didn't flip. Leave the lights off when the dishwasher is running; problem solved.
I have a 5 bedroom house. I wanted to put a treadmill in one of the rooms, but everytime I plug it into one of the outlets in that room I lose power in that room plus a couple other rooms and have to pay a visit to the fuse box.
This happens with the treadmill and also a steamer that I purchased to steam my clothing. I have a TV and a cable box plugged into an outlet in that room, but those don't cause the outage.
By Blake B
January 28, 2013
You're overloading the circuit to that outlet. Check the wattage and amps of the item you're trying to use against the rating for that circuit (should be listed in your circuit box). Overloading circuits can cause a fire, placing you and yours in extreme danger, and possibly huge replacement costs out of your pocket-if the insurance company decides you overloaded your circuits they won't pay out in case of fire.
You may need to 'map' your circuits, it's not hard to do and helps you understand how much of a load your box can take. Learn how from this link, then read on that site for more home electrical information:
Please update this after you've sorted your problem.
By sunnydawn 1
I just shorted out my circuit breaker twice in five minutes. It may have been my rice cooker and laptop both being plugged into the same circuit. This is a rented apartment and the box looks like it's never had anything inside changed. Could someone tell me if this looks as unsafe as I think it does, or whether I'm just being paranoid. It looks dodgy.
This has never happened before. The garage circuit is off again 10 or 15 minutes after I reset the breaker that was tripped. I did the same thing a couples times. The garage is not attached to the house and the wiring is under yard ground. What could be the problem?
By Shelly L. 1
I live in a 3 bedroom house. The only thing running is my TV, a DVD player, and a space heater. Should it trip my main breaker for my house?
In my livingroom I try to plug in my 60 inch TV, cable box, and a system and Xbox, but when I plug all that in my breaker flips. This happens every time. Why is that?
I purchased the home I'm now in three years ago. One bedroom is tripping a circuit breaker (Arc Fault) in a deteriorating fashion where within a 24 hour period it is now unable to maintain service. Anything plugged in and turned on causes a fault; including fans, lights or a clock-radio. So far the only thing that does not cause a fault is the small LED circuit tester. I changed circuit breakers, but no joy. If a screw on an outlet were to become magnetized, could this be a source of the problem? Any ideas? No nails have been used on the walls recently.
Bill from San Antonio, TX
Don't worry about magnetic screws. It makes no difference at all whether screws are magnetic or not.
I would replace the outlet. If that does not instantly and permanently fix the problem, then you will have to replace the wiring between the breaker and the outlet. Either the outlet or the wiring seems to be leaking through a weak connection, through wet insulation, or to the siding.
If you have metal siding, don't touch it! It could be a shocking experience! Expect your electricity bill to be noticeably higher until the problem is fixed. (03/06/2006)
Another thing I'd do is check to see if I needed a larger circuit breaker/more amperage for all the appliances you plug into that outlet, or on that circuit. (03/06/2006)
First thing is to make sure your not overloading the breaker. Do not put more than 12Amps on a 15Amp breaker or 80%. They are only rated for continuous duty at 80% unless you have 100% rated commercial breakers.
Next you need to remove the receptacle and inspect the wiring. The receptacle screws could be shorting against the box, or the insulation could be damaged from a poor installation and it's shorting. Make sure the wires are properly tucked in the box without the ground wire coming up and hitting the receptacle screws causing a short. Also make sure the strap holding the cable isn't too tight. This also would cause nuisance tripping. It's only meant to hold the wire from being ripped out during construction. Do not clamp down on the wire. The receptacle and ground wire in the box will hold the wire in place. Most beginners assume you need to clamp it down good so it doesn't move. This is false, just enough to hold it in place so it's not all loose, nothing more.
If it still trips, replace the breaker. Some arc faults, GFCIs, or regular breakers can be faulty and always trip regardless of the circuit being good or bad. If after replacing the breaker it still trips assume that your wiring is damaged and shorting. Use a multimeter and ohm or continuity tester to check if your cables are shorted in the wall. If so it's time for some destruction and replacing of the wires. You could check the wires for a short before replacing the breaker to avoid the trouble and cost of the breaker.
This is guaranteed to solve your problem. It cannot be anything else. If it still trips then your plugging something faulty in that keeps tripping the breaker. (01/09/2008)
For all of you that have both asked questions or replied to them your answer is easy. Call a qualified electrician to come find and fix your problem. It could be any number of things but the qualified person can solve it, and you will not burn down your house, or shock yourself.
I have a 15 amp Federal Pacific Stab-Lok circuit breaker that keeps tripping. In the house the lights flicker every once in a while. On the circuit I have mainly lights and an old GE upright freezer. When it does trip and when I switch it back sometimes I hear a spark like noise which eventually goes away.
I suspect the obvious which is probably the load my freezer requires and maybe the circuit breaker. Any ideas? Also, on this circuit the breaker is a 15 Amp and the wiring is at least 10/2 or 12/2. Would it be acceptable to replace the 15 Amp circuity breaker with a 20 Amp circuit breaker? Without even looking I'm assuming that the outlets are probably 15 Amp. The house I live in was built in 1969.
Gregory from Seattle, WA
The circuit breaker was faulty. Replacing it with an identical model solved my problems. (02/24/2009)
If the circuit breaker is tripping, you have too much load. Get an electrician to run a separate circuit with its own circuit breaker. It has nothing to do with magnetized screws, replacing wiring between the breaker and the outlet.
To prove you have too much load on that circuit, turn every thing off that is wired to that breaker. Then turn on each receptacle with the freezer being the last item to be turned on. (02/24/2009)
Your local building department may not approve of a 20 amp breaker, but that is what I would do. Keep an eye and ear on it for a while, the amp change is not enough to get excited about. Or you may just have a breaker about to go. Good luck. Leo (02/25/2009)
By Leo the repair guy
For someone who is very handy with house electrical work, it would be possible to replace the breaker. Don't replace it with anything but the same size and brand, and watch out while working inside the main panel, especially if not all breakers are in it. It is easy to touch something that will fry you (e.g. if a screwdriver slips). If I had the slightest doubt about what I was doing, I'd do what Joe suggested and let a professional electrician take the risk. If he quotes you a lot of pricey repairs, get a second opinion. (03/19/2009)
By Red Neck
Whatever you do, don't count on an AFCI from Home Depot or one of the other big box stores. I am an electrician and once went through about 4 or 5 of them. I spent a lot of time testing and tracing only to eventually go to my wholesaler and the breaker purchased there worked just fine. If it comes in a bubble pack, it's got to go back. Beyond that, looks like there's some rewiring in your future. (04/30/2009)
My circuit breaker keeps tripping without a load on it. I have a pool cover, a light, and sprinkler timer on the circuit. None of them run at the same time. Even if they do they still will not trip the circuit breaker.