Common Reasons behind Circuit Breaker Issues

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If the lighting or equipment suddenly shuts off in one area of your home, check the breaker box first. You have tricked your breaker if you see one breaker pointing in a different direction. Now, what? Your circuit breakers are safety devices that avoid overheating and potentially causing fires in the electrical system in your home. Whenever a circuit breaker is used, it's essential to investigate the cause–mainly if it occurs on the same circuit more than once.

You need to understand why the breaker has flipped to prevent it from happening again. The breaker may be damaged and needs to be replaced in some cases. However, the breaker still works in most cases, when it trips. Circuit breakers are designed to flip over and fuses are designed to blow and shut off when hazardous situations arise. Call your electrician in OKC in this situation, rather than just keep turning it back on.

Overloaded Circuit

The most common reason for a breaker trip is an overloaded circuit. It happens when a circuit tries to draw a larger electrical charge than is meant to be carried. If the internal mechanism in the circuit breaker is heated up by current flow the breakers "trip", usually through an inside spring loaded element when too many appliances or light fixtures are operating simultaneously. This breaks the breaker's continuous path and inactivates the circuit. The circuit will remain dead until the breaker lever is reset to the ON position and the internal spring mechanism is also rearmed.

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Fault in the Ground

If the hot wire comes into contact with a ground wire or a metal wall box or touches the wood framing members, a particular type of short circuits, a "ground-fault," occur. Ground faults in areas with high levels of humidity, such as kitchens or bathrooms, can be especially dangerous. You can take steps to identify and correct a ground fault, but you should also take essential measures to prevent one from first occurring.

A ground fault causes instantaneously circuit resistance to be reduced with hard shorts and electric flow to be immediately increased. This causes the circuit breaker's internal mechanism to heat up and trip. Like hard shorts, the circuit breaker can trip instantly after reset if there is a ground fault.

Short Circuit

Another serious reason for a breaker trip is a short circuit. If the hot wire in a circuit reaches a neutral wire the result is are hard short. For the physics involved, a short circuit allows sudden unimpeded electricity flow due to reduced resistance and the sudden increase in electric current within the breaker activates the mechanism. However, sometimes a short circuit does not occur through the circuit wiring at all, but through an apparatus or device connected to a circuit outlet.

Fault in Arc

The National Electrical Code (NEC), the model code that serves as the basis for most local electric codes, has gradually increased the demand for a special type of circuit breaker called an arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) in recent years. AFCI breakers not only senses the power fluctuations occurring when arcing between contact points in a wiring connection but also due to overloads, short circuits and ground failures.

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Upgrade Your Circuit

Electrical panels and circuit breakers and older models might not be updated according to today's demands. You could also have problems in heavy usage circuits depending on how your circuits are connected, even if you have a modern system. A licensed electrician in OKC can replace old panels and add new specific circuits where necessary, stopping the annoying and possibly dangerous problems of circuits overload. Talk to Prolectric Contractors today if you need an assessment of your system.