Resetting a Circuit Breaker Made Easy

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Home Improvement

Resetting a circuit breaker is a quick and simple process, provided you adhere to basic safety measures. The circuit breaker is a device that shuts off power to a room or equipment when there is an electric overload or short. It conveniently isolates the problem circuit without turning off power to the entire house.

Here are the steps to reset a circuit breaker safely:

  • Turn off all the lights and unplug all appliances in the affected area or room.
  • Ensure that the breaker box, surrounding area, and floor are completely dry before dealing with the components.
  • Use a flashlight to open the circuit breaker panel and locate the circuit breakers. Each breaker has three positions: on, off, and center.
  • Look for the circuit breaker with the switch in the center position.
  • Flip the switch to the off position, and then to the on position.
  • Wait for a few moments to see if the breaker stays in the on position. If it does, then the circuit breaker is reset, and the power should be restored. If it doesn’t, then there may be a serious wiring problem, and you should contact a qualified electrician.

Now that the power is back on, it’s time to determine the cause of the problem. Typically, the two most common causes are a shorted device or an overload from too many devices running at once.

To identify the issue, follow these steps:

  • Check for a short by turning on each light. If the breaker stays on, then plug in each device one at a time. If the circuit breaker trips when you plug something in, then you have found the source of the problem. Unplug the device and reset the breaker. You can confirm a suspected short by examining the power cord for melted insulation. Also, check the plug and outlet for any signs of a burnt smell or charring.
  • Check for an overload by plugging in all devices and turning them on. If the breaker trips, then turn off some power guzzlers like the air conditioner or heaters or plug them into an outlet on a different circuit.

Now That’s Interesting:

Circuit breakers perform the same function as fuses, but unlike fuses, they do not have to be replaced to be reset. However, if there has been a high-current short circuit or an event such as a lightning strike that may have damaged the circuit breaker, then it will need to be replaced.

Originally Published: Jun 23, 2011

FAQ

1. What is a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker is an electrical safety device that automatically cuts off the power supply when it detects an electrical overload or short circuit. It is designed to protect electrical circuits and appliances from damage caused by excessive current flow.

2. When should I reset a circuit breaker?

You should reset a circuit breaker when it has been tripped due to an electrical overload or short circuit. A tripped circuit breaker can be identified by a switch that has moved to the “off” position, or a switch that is between “on” and “off”. Before resetting the breaker, you should identify and correct the cause of the overload or short circuit to prevent further damage.

3. How do I reset a circuit breaker?

To reset a circuit breaker, first turn off all appliances and devices that are connected to the circuit. Then, locate the tripped breaker and firmly push it to the “off” position and then to the “on” position. If the breaker stays in the “on” position, the circuit has been successfully reset. If it trips again immediately or after turning on an appliance, there may be a larger issue that requires professional attention.

4. Can I reset a circuit breaker without turning off the main power?

Yes, you can reset a circuit breaker without turning off the main power. However, it is recommended to turn off all appliances and devices connected to the circuit to prevent further damage or injury. If you are unsure about resetting a circuit breaker, it is best to contact a licensed electrician for assistance.

5. What should I do if a circuit breaker keeps tripping?

If a circuit breaker keeps tripping, you should identify and correct the cause of the overload or short circuit. This could include unplugging devices, reducing the number of devices connected to the circuit, or upgrading the electrical system in your home. If the issue persists, it is best to contact a licensed electrician for further assistance.

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