What Exactly Does A Circuit Breaker Do?

Circuit breakers are essential for preventing fires and injuries. What does a circuit breaker do? Well, in short, these electrically-powered geniuses detect and stop excess current. They typically trip (turn off) when there is an overloaded or short circuit, cutting off current to the problem line until the issue can be safely addressed.

How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?

Your home’s electrical service panel contains a series of lever-operated circuit breakers that control protect the circuits. Each circuit breaker is designed to ‘trip,’ at already determined amp loads, which is why there are  different size breakers in the box. In order to protect your home and family against fire and electrical injury, if this limit is reached, when the breaker trips it opens the circuit and prevents the flow of current to that particular electrical line or circuit.

Most Common Reasons Circuit Breakers Trip:

  • An overloaded circuit, such as a battle between the vacuum and space heater, or your one of a kind Christmas light show.
  • short circuit, such as a wiring issue within an appliance that results in excess current being pulled.
  • ground fault, which typically occurs in high moisture. You will find these in your kitchen or bath, and is the reason GFCIs are required by current electrical code for your protection.

Where Can I Find Circuit Breakers in My Home?

Circuit breakers are found in your home’s breaker box. Breaker boxes are typically found in the garage, basement, hall, utility or storage rooms. If you’re having difficulty locating your breaker box, look for the electric meter outside your home. This is usually close to your breaker box for safety/distribution.

How to Reset A Circuit Breaker

If you lose power to an outlet or area of your home, a circuit breaker may have been tripped. Once you find your breaker box, resetting the circuit breaker is easy. Open the door to the breaker box and look for the toggles. (They look like light switches only sideways.) Most should be pointing toward the panel center, indicating the ON position. Toggles pointing away from the panel center are OFF. Toggles in an in-between position are the one(s) which have tripped. You must turn the breaker OFF before turning it ON again, or it will not reset. If it trips again right away, turn it off without resetting it, close the panel door, and call us for a free estimate.

Repeat Offender?

If your home has a circuit breaker that repeatedly trips, it is important to understand the reason why and to prevent it from happening again. Call York Electrical Services today to ensure the safety of your home and family. We look forward to becoming your trustworthy electrical choice.


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