Circuit Breaker FAQ: What You Need to Know

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circuit breaker in denver

Winter and summer are peak electricity seasons in Colorado. Between heating and cooling your home, plus using ceiling fans, space heaters, and portable fans along with your electronics, you put your electrical system to work. Until it suddenly stops working.

It’s probably the circuit breaker.

Read on to learn more about circuit breakers, including why they trip, what to do when they trip and more! If you have any questions or need help with your circuit breaker, reach out to the expert Denver electricians at Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electrical today!

What is a Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is a built-in safety device that cuts power to your appliances when there’s too much current flowing through them. Without the help of a circuit breaker, wiring issues or other failures can easily cause problems. We’re talking about fire-level problems.

In older homes, you “blow a fuse.” In newer homes, you “trip the breaker.” If the circuit breaker is “tripped” by a fault somewhere in your home, you can flip a switch to reset it, with no replacement required (usually).

Where is My Circuit Breaker Located?

Circuit breakers are generally inconspicuous and located in your garage, basement, or attached to exterior siding. Typically, they’re built into the wall and covered with a metal panel you open to reveal the many switches and levers inside. Breakers on the inside are usually installed close to the electric meters on the outside. Depending on the size and types of appliances in your home, you may have multiple panels.

Why Did My Circuit Breaker Trip?

Circuit breakers “trip” or switch to the OFF position when there’s too much electrical current for your home and appliances to safely handle.

Breakers usually trip for a couple of reasons:

  • It could be an overloaded circuit. Ever plug too many fans in at once when it’s a million degrees outside? That might have been too much for your circuits to handle. Remember to unplug the things you’re not using!
  • It could also be a “short circuit.” Sometimes appliances have bad wiring, or the normal wear-and-tear creates problems for the circuit. In either case, an appliance (or several) is pulling too much current to itself, causing the trip. It may be time to replace appliances if you unplug and inspect your cord and find any damage, or if your power outlets are discolored or smell burned.

If it doesn’t seem to be either of those options, it’s probably a ground fault, which is best handled by a Denver electrician. 

What Do I Do About a Tripped Breaker?

It’s pretty easy and perfectly safe to reset a breaker on your own:

  1. Turn off all the lights and appliances. If you can’t turn it off, unplug it. A sudden surge of power caused by turning the breaker back on could damage your appliances.
  2. Find the breaker panel, and search for breakers in the OFF position. Some are colored red or orange if they’ve been tripped. Push the OFF breakers a little further into the OFF position to make sure they’re truly tripped before the next step.
  3. Give it a go. Flip the OFF breakers to the ON position.

Expert Electricians in Denver are Here to Help!

Is this like the hundredth time you’ve tripped your breaker?

Okay, maybe not the hundredth… but do you seem to be going to the breaker panel a lot? If so, it’s time to have an electrician take a look. While resetting switches is easy, there may be an underlying issue that puts your home and your family at risk.

Don’t wait until the hundredth trip to the breaker box. As your trusted Denver electrician, we’re happy to help. Give us a call today!

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