Tip & How-To about Hammering
Your circuit breaker keeps tripping and you are wondering why it would do that. There actually can be many things that can cause a circuit breaker to trip, or shut off. I will give you some reasons why circuit breakers trip and also some circuit breaker troubleshooting tips.
The first thing to remember about a circuit breaker is that they are first and foremost a safety device. The protection provided by the circuit breaker is also two fold. The circuit breaker will protect against overcurrent, or in other words, it will keep you from melting down the wires by placing too high of a load on any circuit. This would cause the wires to overheat and start a fire.
The other way a circuit breaker protects you is that the circuit breaker senses very quickly if there is current flowing to the ground with out it going through a load. This means that there is a shock hazard or a fire hazard. The circuit breaker will interrupt the current and shut off to prevent damage from happening.
If your circuit breaker is tripping off then you need to find out why this is happening. By eliminating the load on the circuit you can start to narrow down the possibilities. If there are a number of things plugged into the circuit then unplug something till it will stay on.If you can get the load low enough so that the circuit breaker stays on then you are okay and just need to spread the load out over a couple of circuits to prevent the overloading.
If you cannot stop the circuit breaker from tripping, unplug loads until you narrow the problem down to one thing. Once you narrow it down to one thing that is tripping the circuit breaker then you can find out why the load is tripping the circuit breaker.
Now if the load that is still plugged in is an appliance like a washing machine, then you need to find out if the cause of the tripping is the motor or if it is something like a wire that is rubbed through and is shorting out. If it is the motor the circuit breaker will often trip right when the motor goes to start up.
If the circuit breaker trips immediately when power is applied then you probably have a bad wire or connection. Poor connections are common in appliances such as an oven or a dryer where high amounts of current can be pulled at one time and the heat will make the connection get hot and eventually fail.
There are so many different possibilities for circuit breakers tripping that it is impossible to cover them all. There is one tool that will make the detective work of finding a short or problem much easier.This tool is called an "OHM" meter. One of these can be purchased at most any hardware or electrical store. Many big box stores and even a Wal-Mart also have them. There are many very inexpensive models available.
By using an OHM meter you can check the resistance of a circuit. The idea is that if a circuit has NO resistance to ground then it is bad and the electric can flow to the ground unhindered. This is a dangerous situation and must be corrected. In motors the flow of current between phases with no resistance, is also a reason why a circuit breaker will trip.
Above all remember that you need to verify and make sure that all electric is shut off to any piece of equipment that you are working on. Isolating and finding electrical problems can be very time consuming and frustrating. It will take time and patience to methodically eliminate the possible causes of a circuit breaker that keeps on tripping or a circuit breaker that will not reset. Through careful checking you can one by one eliminate the possibilities and find the cause of your circuit breaker not staying on.
Posted by D. Floyd... on
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