Have you ever experienced one side of your house losing electricity? Suddenly the lights or plug points don’t work… And when you check the main distribution board (DB) you see that a circuit breaker has tripped. Although not always serious, this is not something you should take lightly, as circuit breakers are designed to protect homes from electrical fires. And if they’re working and tripping your circuits, it could show that something is wrong. So let’s take a closer look at circuit breakers and the type of problems they could indicate.
But before we do – please remember to always use extreme caution when dealing with electricity.
The purpose of circuit breakers is to prevent electrical overload that could potentially harm your electrical grid. When it detects any abnormality in the flow of electricity, it deactivates or breaks the circuits. This is often accompanied by a loud popping sound or burnt smell, and the switch on your main distribution board dropping from the ‘up’ to the ‘down’ position.
WHAT CAUSES A CIRCUIT BREAKER TO TRIP AND WHAT SHOULD YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Your home’s wiring has three different types of wires: a hot (or live or active) wire, a neutral wire and a ground (or earth) wire. If, for example, the live and neutral wires touch, it could cause a fire. This is typically when the circuit breaker jumps in to trip and disrupt the electricity flow.
There are various reasons why circuit breakers trip. Let’s have a look at some of the most common ones:
One of the most common reasons for tripping circuit breakers is when a circuit becomes overloaded with too many appliances, or by loose or corroded wires or connections.
To help determine the cause of the problem, unplug all the appliances before resetting the breaker. Add the appliances back one at a time, until the problem occurs again. If your distribution board is properly marked, you’ll soon see where the fault lies, either as a result of overload or because of a faulty plug point.
Short circuits occur when a live (or hot) wire comes into contact with a neutral wire, causing a high current and resulting in a circuit overload. This could be caused by loose connections, damaged wires, faulty electricity points or faulty appliances.
A short circuit should always cause a breaker to trip, and could even lead to sparks and smoke.
The high temperatures associated with short circuits are a real fire hazard. So if you notice sparks, a burning smell or smoke, be careful. Rather get the professionals in to help you solve the problem before it gets serious.
In this case, the hot or active wire comes into contact with the earth (or ground) wire instead of the neutral wire. When this happens, large amounts of current go through the circuit breaker, causing it to trip.
Ground faults are potentially more dangerous because while the potential danger in a short circuit is a fire, the danger of a ground fault is the very real possibility of giving someone a deadly shock.
Personally, we wouldn’t recommend any untrained electrician to solve this problem. This is one instance where you want only the best-trained electricians to sort out your problem. Circuit breakers trip
If you’ve ever heard a light switch buzz, you’ve heard an arc fault. Eventually, an arch fault will cause sparks or heat that could eventually lead to wires being damaged, and your circuit breaker tripping.
The normal means to guard against arc faults is an arc-fault circuit interrupter, best installed by a professional.
In older homes, outdated circuit breakers are more sensitive to the electricity current and could trip more often. The only solve for this is to have an Electro Surgeon technician remove the old one, and install a new circuit breaker.
When electrical connections are loose or corroded, extra heat is generated. Due to this, breakers are triggered, which results in a tripped line. So how do you know if your electrical connections are loose or corroded? Look for these signs below:
ELECTRO SURGEON IS ON CALL 24/7
We know you have choices. You can get electrical services from numerous electrical companies. However, we’re convinced that when it comes to providing the best service, we’re your only real choice.
Providing a superior level of customer service is our all-consuming passion, and an achievement we take immense pride in. We provide top of the range, security-verified, professional electricians who are totally committed to serving you better than anyone else. That’s what The Electro Surgeon is all about!
Some of our services include:
• Emergency 24 Hour Electrical Services
• COC’s – Certificates of Compliance
• Security Lighting
• Electric Fencing
• Garage Door & Gate Automation
• Lightning Arrester (to protect against lightning)
• Surge Arrester (to protect against voltage spikes)
• Earth Leakage and Tripping Detection
• Power Outages & Failures
• Swimming Pool Motors
• Solar Power
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