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Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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


Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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)

By Webby

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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)

By gator10tx

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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)

By Donnie

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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.


By Joe

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