What to Do if Your Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset

One of the most common problems within a home’s electrical system is that of a tripped circuit breaker. You’ve probably experienced it a number of times yourself. Usually, the fix is a simple flip of a switch, and the lights are back on. But occasionally, the circuit breaker won’t reset or keeps tripping. So, what can you do if your circuit breaker trips and won’t reset? In this article, we’ll briefly explain why circuit breakers trip and outline five common reasons why a circuit breaker might not reset.

Why Circuit Breakers Trip

It’s important to understand why you’re experiencing a circuit breaker trip in the first place. There are three common reasons: 1) the circuit is overloaded, 2) a short circuit has occurred, or 3) you have a faulty appliance. If you have too many appliances that require a lot of energy on the same circuit, you’re likely to experience a circuit trip. Older kitchens and bathrooms tend to be prone to these issues when too many appliances are running at once. Short circuits occur when a hot wire touches a neutral wire. This can be a safety hazard, so the circuit trips as a precaution. Finally, appliances that are not in proper working order can cause a circuit trip when they are plugged in.

Common Reasons Why Circuit Breakers Won’t Reset

1. Be sure you are resetting the breaker properly.

First of all, be sure that you are taking the proper steps to reset the breaker. It sounds silly, but make sure you’re flipping the right switch. Also, be sure that you’re pushing the breaker handle firmly and fully to the off position, and then back to the on position.

Familiarize yourself with your circuit breaker when you’re not facing a power problem so that troubleshooting goes smoothly when a problem does occur.

2. Check for evidence of an overloaded circuit.

Signs of an overloaded circuit can look something like this: a circuit breaker trips, won’t reset immediately, resets after a cool-down period, and then trips again after a few minutes. The cause of an overloaded circuit is usually just that there are too many heavy loads plugged into receptacles or outlets on the same circuit, or that there is a faulty appliance plugged into the circuit that is causing the problem. Overloaded circuits are common in older kitchens and bathrooms where there are often several appliances plugged into the same circuit.

To troubleshoot the cause, unplug everything and reset the breaker. If it stays reset, plug in everything one by one, until a problem becomes evident.

3. Check for a short circuit.

If the circuit breaker won’t reset and trips again immediately, the problem might be a short circuit. A short circuit occurs when a hot wire carrying a current touches a neutral wire. In this case, the flipped breaker is a safety mechanism and is evidence of your circuit breaker working properly. A short circuit can cause broken appliances, overheating, and can even be a fire hazard. If you suspect a short circuit is the reason your circuit breaker keeps tripping, leave the breaker off and call a licensed electrician.

4. Check for a faulty breaker.

Although it is much less likely, it is possible that the breaker itself is faulty. If this is the case, you definitely need to call a licensed electrician for help.

5. Call an electrician for help.

Whether you are inexperienced, uninterested, or just too busy to find the underlying cause of why your circuit breaker won’t reset, it never hurst to enlist the help of a licensed, bonded, certified, and insured electrician to investigate the issue. At Grounded Solutions, we have the experience, knowledge, and tools to find and fix the problem – for good.

Troubleshooting Circuit Breaker Trips

In the moment, a circuit breaker trip might seem overwhelming, but troubleshooting shouldn’t be too challenging. By following the steps outlined above, you can get the electricity flowing again on your own or get the peace of mind that comes from enlisting professional help to solve more serious problems.

If you know you are resetting the breaker properly, not overloading the circuit, don’t have a short circuit, and don’t have a faulty breaker, and you’re still having trouble, it’s time to call in the pros. When DIY troubleshooting leaves you high and dry, contact the Grounded Solutions team!

For over 20 years, we’ve provided Central Indiana home and business owners with shockingly good service that sparks smiles and keeps the lights on.

Connect with us on Facebook, request your FREE quote with this online contact form, or give us a call today at (317)834-1922.

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