My Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping (Why and What to Do)
Trying to solve the mystery of why your Cincinnati home’s circuit breaker keeps tripping? Have you upgraded to new appliances in your home recently? Built out or added rooms? Have you noticed your circuit breaker keeps tripping since you’ve made all those great upgrades?
You probably need to upgrade your electrical panel to handle all extra electricity your home is absorbing. Most breaker boxes in older homes have a maximum amperage rated for the electrical demand of the time period in which the house was built.
If your home’s circuit breaker hasn’t been updated recently, your breaker box is most likely having trouble keeping up with the electrical amperage you need. Below are signs and recommendations to take when you’re frustrated your circuit breaker keeps tripping.
The Tellings Signs of an Outdated Breaker Box
Upgrading the breaker box doesn’t mean you have to rewire the entire house. Breaker boxes are a separate component. They are installed and readily replaced without the expense of changing existing wiring. But, how do you know if the breaker box in your home is out of date? Here are some scenarios to help you decide:
Circuit breaker keeps tripping without a known cause
In addition to an inconvenience, it could be a safety issue. This should be brought to the attention of a qualified electrician immediately.
Circuit breaker needs constant resets
If you’re constantly in the garage for resets but there are no shorts or other malfunctions on the circuit, the panel itself may be defective and require an upgrade.
Must unplug or turn off other appliances to avoid a breaker trip
A properly-sized breaker box should be able to hold enough power for all your electrical demands in the house at all times, plus offer some reserve for future demands. Newer houses are installed with 200-amp panels to fit all modern electronics and usage.
Smell hot wiring coming from the breaker box? If you smell a burnt odor from the panel or notice circuit breakers are hot to touch, call an electrician immediately. Home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires a year.
Recent appliance upgrades
Your kitchen appliances may plug into a standard electrical outlet, but they should have their own dedicated circuit switch. Even if they don’t run continuously, when appliances share a circuit breaker, they easily overload.
If your existing box doesn’t have room, the less expensive and safer option is to replace the box with a larger one rather than add a subpanel.
A burned bus bar
A bus bar is a copper or copper-aluminum alloy strip inside the circuit box damaged when the power load exceeds capacity from a power surge or lightning strike. In order for the circuit to function again, you must replace it with a new box.
While it’s not required you upgrade to a larger box, it’s usually a good idea to increase the size so you’ll have room for expansion and more power in the future.
National Electrical Code Recommendations
The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a regionally adoptable standard for the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment in the United States. Around the world, the NEC sets the foundation for electrical safety in residential, commercial and industrial occupancies.
The NEC recommends all residential breaker boxes be rated for a minimum of 100 amps. However, boxes in older homes are often rated for as few as 60 amps. Luckily, upgrading the breaker box does not mean you have to rewire the entire house. A qualified electrician makes these upgrades for you.
Rooms, where water is present, such as kitchens, bathrooms, or laundry rooms, must connect to circuits with GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection. This safety measure is easily added to the circuit with a box upgrade to incorporate GFCI-rated breakers.
In addition to these safety measures, the NEC requires breaker boxes to be in an easily-accessible room and not a bathroom. The box must have a minimum of three feet of open space in front of it.
This means it cannot be tucked away in a closet or obstructed by large furniture. If the panel is near routed plumbing pipes, the box must be waterproof.
Trust Apollo Home When Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
In conclusion, if you feel like you’re constantly Googling, “circuit breaker keeps tripping,” call Apollo Home. Our team of licensed and insured electricians assess your current electrical panel and recommend the perfect solution based on the power your home uses.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Accidents happen every day and while tripping breakers or unplugging one thing to use the other may be annoying, it’s best to avoid risks of electrical fires or worse.
Know an electrician looking to join a successful company? We’re always looking for great people as well as those interested in getting paid to learn a trade through our Apollo Apprenticeship program.
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