How can I fix a tripped breaker?


If it's an old A/C unit, replace it with new. They are much more efficient (meaning: same BTU, much lower energy draw) and it'll pay for itself in energy savings. I just saw a no-brand cheapie that was 8000 BTU for 5 amps. The lower current draw means fewer or no breaker trips.

Even an old A/C is unlikely to trip the breaker alone. Most likely it is the "last straw" on an already loaded circuit. Next time it trips, thoroughly survey what else is on that breaker. Research how much current or power each of those loads takes. The best way is with a power meter like a $20 Kill-a-Watt. Measure peak loads while the appliance is "on", e.g. A microwave while it's cooking, a laser printer while it's printing.

To be honest, most consumers have no clue how much energy appliances use. This may be an eye opener. The #1 surprise runs Microsoft Windows. A lot of PCs are sold with 850 watt power supplies which can take as much as 1200 watts, though this depends on what the computer...

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2 How to reset a tripped easy, when you know how. If you don't know how to reset a tripped breaker, you might want to watch "joe" as he explains what to do & what you should know. It's easy to reset a tripped breaker....all you have to do is turn the breaker back on.....right? You're trying to turn the breaker back on but it feels like the breaker is broken since the breaker won't reset. "Oh great...just because I "touched" the breaker, now the breaker seems to be I now need a new breaker? How come this always happens to me? I want to save money & I try to do things myself but every time I try to do something, something else happens that makes me feel like I just can't do it. I guess I'll just have to call an electrician.....I knew I couldn't do it. I'm jinxed I tell you. I can't even reset a tripped breaker. How lame." Has this scenario ever popped his ugly head out to get you thinking you're inept? You need to start watching...

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Dead appliances and power outages are a common sign of a tripped breaker. Here’s a quick look at how to reset an overloaded breaker.

What a Breaker Is

Breakers are electrical switches that disconnect circuits in the event of an electrical surge. Circuit breakers help prevent short circuits and wiring overloads. Overstimulated wiring and circuits can cause fires and ruin electrical appliances.

Where Breakers Are Located

Circuit breakers are wired in breaker boxes.

Most breaker boxes are located in basements, utility closets and laundry rooms. Look for a metal door several feet from the floor.

Identifying a Circuit Breaker

Once you’ve located your breaker box, look for plastic switches housed in banks. If your breaker box doesn’t have switches, you could have a fuse box. Fuse boxes operate similarly to breakers but require additional work to replace. It’s best to call a pro to help you replace a fuse.

Resetting a...

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No. Do not replace the existing 15 amp breaker with a 20 unless the wire that the breaker is protecting is number 12. If the wire is 12, then yeah-you could do that. If the trip is immediate when you return the circuit breaker to "on"-then you have; (worst case) a short circuit ("fault") in the circuit, a device with a very high circuit draw-such as a motor starting('fridge) or a capacitor charging that is exceeding the breaker rating, or the circuit breaker is bad. If there is an appreciable time delay until it trips, the circuit is overloaded but probably OK /otherwise sound. Microwaves, 'frigerators, some counter-top appliances can cause trips when the other connected loads are high. Most states now require seperate circuits for the Ref and it is recommended that microwaves are also. So, if you are not an electrician, get one to look at the circuit. However-you (if you are comfortable with doing so) might want to try replacing the 15 amp with a new one just...

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Fixing electrical things around your home sometimes means electrical service panel repair. The electrical service panel is where utility wires deliver electricity for distribution to the many circuits in your home. This Fix-It Guide tells how an electrical service panel works, what often goes wrong, how to identify an electrical service panel problem, and what parts and tools you will need to fix it. It then gives instructions for how to reset a tripped circuit breaker as well as how to perform screw-in fuse replacement, cartridge fuse replacement, and how to test a circuit breaker. If you’ve checked the electrical device and the electrical receptacle, but haven’t found the problem yet, maybe it’s in the service panel, which is sometimes called the main or the fuse box.

How Does an Electrical Service Panel Work?

The electrical service panel receives power from the utility company and distributes it to your home through safety circuit breakers.

The electrical...

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It sounds like the circuit breaker for that outlet tripped when you plugged in the straightener, and there are few possibilities as to why that might have happened.

To turn the outlets back on: Unplug the straightener. Then find the breaker that tripped. Then reset it.

The likely reason why the breaker tripped is because it sensed too much current flowing through it. Some likely reasons for too much current include: Too many things drawing power from that circuit; i.e the straightener was just one additional load too many. Another possibility is that the straightener itself has a short in it, and thus draws too much current for the breaker, all by itself.

If this was an outlet in a bathroom, it might have been a ground-fault breaker. Often those are located in the outlet itself. That kind of breaker trips when it senses current flowing through the protective ground wire. E.g. that kind of breaker is intended to trip if the hair dryer gets dropped in the...

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Find the main circuit breaker box. Some homes may have 1 large main breaker box as well as smaller branch breaker boxes.


Locate the defective breaker.

A tripped breaker is halfway between the on and off position.

Before assuming a circuit breaker needs to be replaced, try resetting the breaker by turning off all lights and unplugging all devices on that circuit. Then turn the back to the on position. Some breakers must be turned all the way off before they can be turned back on. Test the circuit breaker by turning on the breaker, and then add the devices 1 at a time. If the light or device becomes operable, then a voltage tester is not needed.


Use a voltage tester to see if power is going out through the wire attached to the breaker.


Turn off the branch breaker boxes, followed by the main power.This should be the large flip switch located above or below all the other smaller ones. It should also be labeled "main" or...
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Electrical circuit breaker keep tripping. A few of my circuit breakers are turning off daily. I have to constantly flip them back to ON. What would cause this? I just moved into an older house and the breakers are old. The breakers in the electrical breaker box are NOT labelled. I am thinking there is a problem with my homes electrical wiring system. I am worried something will overheat and may cause a fire. I have been unplugging things and using less electricity to try and be safe. Is there something that I should test, check, or troubleshoot? How do I isolate which appliance or wiring issue is causing my electrical problem?

What To Do If A Breaker Keeps Tripping In Your Home

A circuit breaker trips off the electrical power flow to protect the circuit from overheating and causing any damage. Find out what appliance (such as the washer or dryer) that flips the breaker off. Take note as to what you are using when the breaker turns off and that should be your...

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Here are 3 common reasons the breaker in your electrical panel will trip. This is basic information to give you and idea of what could be wrong and how to troubleshoot the loss of power in an outlet or circuit. To reset a tripped breaker, you simply need to turn it off then back on. If the breaker immediately trips when you reset it, you have a short somewhere. Start by unplugging anything in that circuit and see if the breaker holds. If not, you have a problem in the wiring or inside a receptacle box somewhere. Remember to disconnect the power before working with any electrical circuits. It is dangerous. Thanks for Watching and make sure you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more videos. Follow me on Google+ Check out my Appliance Repair Channel Last Weeks Video...

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(Last Updated On: June 29, 2017)

If your appliances suddenly stop working, or you find yourself in the dark unexpectedly, it’s a likely possibility that you have a tripped circuit breaker. Don’t fret — there is an incredibly simple fix to this problem that any homeowner can do themselves.

How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?

Circuit breakers are located within your home’s electrical panel, usually in a utility room or basement. Circuit breakers help to prevent electrical overload and short circuits. This helps to prevent electrical fires and damage to appliances. It does this by disconnecting the circuits when there is a surge detected. By breaking the connection, the power stops running to the affected wires.

Why Do Circuit Breakers Trip?

Electrical panels, and the circuit breakers within them have been designed to provide protection to home occupants. Circuit breakers are designed to trip for one of two reasons:

Electrical overload. Electrical...

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Circuit breakers are made in several different ways. Some breakers are designed so that when they trip there is a red or orange flag that pops into a window to show that it has tripped. Breakers have three positions: on, off and tripped. Tripped position can be either halfway between on and off or even look like it's still on. The "visi-trip" style breakers made for Square D's QO style panels has the red flag window feature and is sold for a little more than their Homeline stye breakers without visi-trip. The two styles of breakers do exactly the same job and are internally similar. However, the visi-trip breakers offer the bonus of seeing that the breaker is tripped by a simple visual...

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A lot of circuit breakers work because they have a bimetallic strip inside (a strip made of two different kids of metal). LNK When the breaker is overloaded, it heats up, the different metals expand at different rates, and the strip changes shape, opening the circuit. (sort of like going from a C shape to an I shape, or vice versa)

Because of that, after they've been popped a lot, they can REALLY lose their rating (the metal inside weakens) and they'll pop if there's a sudden surge of current. (like your computer starting up).

SO that's why I'd say #1 probability is a bad breaker. Assuming, of course, that your home doesn't have wonky wiring. I've seen a lot of older places where the home-owner has added onto the electrical system him/herself and there's a set of lights in an addition that are on the same circuit as the fridge plug, for example. My dad's house has the outside plug on the same circuit as the kitchen. My brother's trailer has kitchen lights on the same circuit...

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Went on my first walk-in cooler call. While I'm quite comfortable with furnaces and am getting that way with a.c. units, this walk-in left me wondering.

The call was for a tripping breaker. Turned off disconnect at compressor, set breaker, Breaker held. Problem must be on top of the cooler where compressor is. Crawl up there and find a number of issues. 1st, find a transformer completely mis wired but owner says unit has been running that way forever. Oh well, moving on. Find obvious problem for tripping breaker, conductors shorted going to condenser fan. Repair shortage, all is good.

Now for the confusion and back to that transformer. Xfmr looking for 120 or 240 volts. Can accept either and will step down to 24 volts. My problem is that someone had tied L1 to H1 and X1? I corrected that but I was unable to locate anything that required 24 volts. Verified xfmr putting out 24 volts but I don't know, nor was there any evidence that it was being sent anywhere.


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2 Answers

Power windows stopped working

If ALL the windows quit working, then it's either a bad circuit breaker or a short circuit. There are two fuse/relay/breaker panels: under the hood and under the back seat cushion. The power window circuit breaker is under the back seat cushion, near the battery. Remove the back seat completely, then remove the fuse panel top and inner cover. The fuse diagram is inside the top cover. Circuit breaker # 57 is the one. Pull it out. Use your voltmeter/multi-tester to check for continuity through the breaker. If there's no continuity, the breaker is bad and needs to be replaced. If it's good, then you have a dead short somewhere that causes the self-resetting breaker to uncouple when you attempt to operate a window. If so, the short will need to be traced down and repaired. Good luck.

Jun 27, 2010 | 2000 Buick...

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First, take hold of the circuit
breaker handle between your thumb and forefinger and firmly push to the “off” position. When it is reset, you will hear or feel it “click”. Next, take hold of the handle, and move it to the “on” position. Now your tripped breaker should be successfully reset!

What happens if it trips again?

The circuit breaker may be doing its job. There may be an unclear fault on the circuit, or the circuit may be overloaded.

Why Do I Have Arc Fault Circuit Breakers?

Electrical Arcing is a serious problem. Every year thousands of fires occur in homes as a result of electrical arcing. An electrical arc is extremely hot, and can cause electrical fires around the affected area. Several years ago, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) determined that the major cause of arcing based fires occurred in bedrooms. Now the NEC (National Electrical Code) requires that all single family homes (dwelling units) have arc fault protection...

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Getting back to basics:

NEETS Modual 5, Introduction to Motors & Generators, defines back (counter-) EMF as described above. "The voltage generated in a coil by a moving magnetic field... in opposition (counter) to the moving field that created it...present in every motor, generator, transformer or other inductance winding whenever an alternating current flows." Since this is a "voltage generated", it is measured in volts. Since it opposes the field (voltage) that created it, it effectively cancels (reduces) some of that voltage.

More definitions,...

Inductance: The property of a circuit that tends to oppose a change in existing current flow.

Reactance: The opposition offered to the flow of an alternating current by the inductance, capacitance, or both, in any circuit.

Inductive Reactance:The opposition to the flow of an alternating current caused by the inductance of a circuit.

A little while ago (in a different topic) someone said, "Any time you...

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If checking the breakers and resetting the GFCIs haven’t restored power to the outlet, the next step, without getting into circuit testing, is to remove the outlet from the box and look for loose connections.

We’ll show you three common types of loose connections: loose terminal screws, loose stab-in connections, and loose wires at wire connectors. You may find one or more of these when you remove your outlet and look in the electrical box.

Loose or broken wires The first problem we show is a loose connection under the outlet’s terminal screw. In Photo 2, you can see the charred outlet and melted wire insulation that are a result of heat generated by the loose connection. These telltale signs aren’t always present, though, which is why you should double-check the connections by gently bending each wire to see if it moves under the screw.

If you do discover a loose connection at an outlet, whether it’s at the screw terminal or a stab-in connection, we recommend...

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Example of a circuit breaker in a common electrical panel.

You are home and suddenly your circuit breaker trips. You immediately go to the electrical panel to reset the circuit breaker only to have it trip again. You may reset it, go back to the appliance you were using, turn it back on and the breaker then trips again. It is clear that there is a problem and now you need to figure out what is causing the breaker to constantly trip. A circuit breaker is designed to trip in order to turn off power when you have an overloaded circuit, a short circuit or a ground fault.

The most common cause of a tripped circuit breaker is an overloaded circuit. This is when a circuit has more electrical load than it is supposed to have. An example of this could be that you have a TV, hair dryer and small heater connected to the same circuit and all are on at the same time. You may even have them plugged into different outlets. The breaker will trip to prevent the circuit from...

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A tripped breaker – is there anything more frustrating? Knowing what causes the situation and how to reset a tripped breaker is an invaluable skill – especially if you find yourself plunged into darkness as a result!

In the following short video, I show you exactly what a standard, 15Amp single-pole breaker looks like when it is in a tripped condition, and how to properly reset it.

What Causes a Tripped Breaker?

A standard breaker will trip in one of two situations. One is an overload condition, which is a condition where the flow of current exceeds the rating of the breaker for short period of time, and second cause is a short circuit condition, where the flow of current spikes rapidly to tens of thousands of amps immediately, and the breaker trips almost instantaneously.

What to Do When a Breaker Trips

If you know what caused the breaker to trip, remedy the situation. Maybe you were vacuuming and someone plugged in another appliance or tool on...

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The Circuit Detective's Diagnostic Tree

If you have reached this page without beginning at the Start of the diagnostic tree, you may do better to start there.

Several electrical items in your home are not working. You have a common troubleshooting problem and the one with the most possibilities. Let's try to narrow things down quickly. See if any of the following sounds like your situation.

Though you don't think a circuit breaker tripped, a recent heavy load (vacuum, hairdryer, rug shampooer, microwave, carpenter's saw) or a recent burning-out light bulb could do so. Or you may have forgotten a separate subpanel with breakers in the other end of the house behind a picture. Or you may not realize that many brands of breakers do not look to be in a Tripped position when they have in fact tripped. And you can't rely on the labeling in the panel to point you to the breaker that really has to do with your outage.

Consider also that an outage in homes built or...

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When an electrical outlet or a circuit doesn’t work, but the breaker is not tripped, the problem is likely with a neutral connection.

I have had many questions regarding this very situation over the years, and here are some examples of questions received recently.


I have a plug that went out. Did not kick breaker off. And now the hot and common leads are both putting out 120 volts? What went wrong?

Here is another question/query.



Could you explain the “Neutral” in a circuit as opposed to the ground ? I often wonder why the neutral has no voltage although a circuit is energised.

And finally, this is the question that prompted me to do a bit of an educational post explaining the role of the neutral conductor in a circuit.


As a sometime-electrical-do-it-yourselfer, you see those white neutral lines in your breaker box or behind your light switch boxes or outlets. They seem fairly,...

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HOME SitemapInfo and Troubleshooting

There are often special looking electrical receptacles in bathrooms or kitchens that have "Test" and "Reset" buttons -- often black and red -- on them. Video. These are ground-fault circuit interrupters -- GFCIs or GFIs. Their purpose is to protect people from electrocution. They do not prevent shock altogether, only deadly shock. And they do not prevent overloads on the circuit. That is the job of a circuit breaker at the main panel. See my GFCI article. (What is the little light on some GFIs?)

Why Can't I Reset? Is GFCI Bad or Is There a Ground-Fault?
GFI Outlet Diagram -- Hooking Up
Is an Unknown GFCI the Cause of an Outage?
Finding a Tripped GFCI Receptacle
Confusing Terms: GFCI, GFI, Load, etc.

Bad GFCI or a Ground-Fault? -- Troubleshooting

Is a GFI tripping for a ground-fault? If you are pretty sure you need to troubleshoot a ground-fault itself, you may want to go to

Tripped GFI -- Why?


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WARNING - This article is written for people needing some help troubleshooting or repairing their hot tub. If you do not have basic knowledge of electricity, do not work on your hot tub. Water and electricity do not mix and carry the risk of electrical shock. If you are not capable of performing a repair yourself, please contact a hot tub professional or licensed electrician. The wiring and equipment described in this article represent a typical spa pack. Your pack may vary significantly from the components described below. Again, if you are in doubt as to how to properly troubleshoot or repair your specific pack, please contact a local spa professional or licensed electrician. Use any of the information contained in this article at your own risk. Hot Tub Essentials will not be held liable for any injuries that may result from the troubleshooting or installation of any electrical components in your spa.

If your GFCI breaker trips instantly when you power up your hot tub,...

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Why is my Circuit Breaker Box Humming?

A loud buzzing or humming sound coming from a circuit breaker should raise a red flag and requires inspection. Some likely causes of loud humming noises in the breaker box are:

A breaker that is carrying a significant load but is failing to “trip” or shut off may make a loud sound and should be repaired or replaced in order to prevent an overheated circuit.

Sparking or a fizzling may be the result of a connection problem. If this is the case then the wire needs to be tightened or the entire circuit breaker could need replaced.

A circuit breaker that makes a humming noise as soon as it is turned on then quickly shuts off is typically the result of a circuit problem. Circuit breaker problems like this stem from the electrical circuit itself, so the circuit breaker may not have to be replaced. The individual circuit might just need to be repaired.

Anything unusual like a loud noise, mysterious humming in...

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