Troubleshooting Electrical Problems

After we moved into a house that seemed to have a lot of electrical problems, I had to learn how to troubleshoot things and fast. I learned how to flip the switch on my circuit breaker, deal with tripped GFCI outlets, and even how to rewire an outlet with the power off. It was a lot of work, but I was able to save a lot of money on professional services. However, after trying in vain to fix my circuit breaker on my own, I realized that I needed some help from an expert. A professional came out, took apart my panel and fixed everything. This blog is all about troubleshooting electrical issues and when to call a pro.

Residential Electricity 101: Why Is A Breaker Tripping And How To Stop It From Happening


If you were sitting quietly reading a book and heard a circuit breaker trip in your home's power panel, then you need to be concerned. Circuit breakers trip as a safety precaution when there is some sort of power irregularity detected within its circuit. Since electricity-gone-wrong can cause a house fire or death by electrocution, it is vital that you locate the cause of the electrical problem and take the necessary steps to fix the issue immediately. While you may be tempted to call in a licensed electrician, you may be able to avoid this by following the procedure below to locate and fix the cause of the power problem yourself:

Step 1: Locate the Room of Your Home that is Having a Power Problem

Each breaker services a different electric circuit in your home, and generally. the circuit will be located in a single room. Hopefully, the electrician who originally wired the home took the time to label the circuit breakers with their corresponding circuit locations within the house.

If the breakers are labeled, locate the area of the problem by the label and check the electrical outlets and appliances in that room as outlined below. If the breakers were not labeled, then you can use a small electrical light or radio to test each outlet to determine which areas are serviced by which breakers.

Step 2: Visually Inspect Each Outlet and Appliance

Once you have located the area with the electrical problem, look at each outlet and power cord in the room for signs of burning, rodent chewing, or other visible damage. Sometimes a mouse will chew through a lamp cord and this can cause a breaker to trip. Simply unplugging the lamp will solve this problem. Occasionally, an outlet will fail and the breaker will trip to prevent a fire from a loose wire and you will be able to see a black discoloration on the outlet. If this is the case, then you can change the outlet yourself. 

If the breaker services a large appliance such as a clothes dryer or water heater, then the appliance has a mechanical problem and needs to be professionally serviced or replaced.

Call in a Licensed Electrician for Assistance

If you are fortunate, the breaker issue is something simple like rodent damage or a faulty hot water heater element. If you are not able to locate any visible reason for the breaker tripping, then you need to have an electrician, like Pearson Electric, Inc., come out to your house and test the power circuits in your house to trace down the cause of the problem. You should never assume that a breaker is defective because they are very rarely ever the cause of this type of problem and ignoring the real issue can have deadly consequences.


5 May 2016