Tips to Avoid Circuit Breaker Tripping

Most times circuit breakers trip because of a minor problem that is easily addressed, but if tripping persists a homeowner should take steps to insure the home is safe and secure

DENVER, CO – A customer in Denver called us here at Allstar Electrical Services saying he wanted “a few more electrical outlets” installed in a couple of places in his home because some circuits were overloaded and he was experiencing too many circuit breaker trips.

This is a common problem in many homes, particularly older homes like that of the customer who called because the aging electrical system wasn’t designed to handle the burgeoning demand for electrical devices that have become the staples of modern life. Where once the den had a television set and perhaps a VCR plugged into that single outlet in the corner, now there’s a television, a cable box, a DVD/DVR, an Xbox or Wii, perhaps even CD/radio – and, of course, they often share that single outlet. This same thing has happened in the now-popular home office with a myriad of computer-related devices, in the kitchen with its microwave, food processor, blender, toaster waffle iron, et al, and in the bathroom where plug-in appliances of all sorts have modernized personal hygiene.

Circuit breakers tripping have become a norm in modern living, and avoiding them is not only a time- and hassle-saver, but it could be a safety issue as well. Any homeowner experiencing an inordinate amount of circuit breaker trips should have the electrical system inspected – a relatively inexpensive precaution – or at the very least should pay attention to electrical usage in the home.

In the old days home electrical systems were safeguarded by fuse boxes and, as such, “blowing a fuse” has become a part of the American idiom for anyone who is overloaded and is used by people who never saw a fuse box in their life. These fuses boxes are almost all gone now in most homes, replaced over the last several decades by the safer and more convenient breaker boxes where the electrical service enters the home and containing the circuit breakers. Generally, when a breaker trips it is a simple matter of “flipping the switch” back to the “on” position to re-establish electrical service to that circuit.

There are many factors that can potentially lead to a circuit trip, but in most case it is simply that the current demand exceeds the amps that circuit can handle. One of the most common circuit-tripping occurrences we see is when someone is using the microwave oven and then plugs another appliance, like a toaster, into the same circuit; microwave ovens use a ton of power and alone can easily use up the “juice” capacity in a circuit. Hair dryers are another frequent culprit.

Just like fuses, circuits in circuit breakers come in varying capacities based on the demand load anticipated by the electrician when the service was first installed, which in some cases could have been decades ago. But even in systems of 10 to 15 years of age the assumptions made by the installer could easily be invalid at the present time.

Beyond having a home’s electrical system inspected and service updates made by a qualified electrician to meet the demand in the home as it stands today, here are a Few Tips To Avoid Circuit Breaker Trips: