What To Do If An Electrical Breaker Keeps Tripping In Your Home?

Electrical circuit breaker keep tripping. A few of my circuit breakers are turning off daily. I have to constantly flip them back to ON. What would cause this? I just moved into an older house and the breakers are old. The breakers in the electrical breaker box are NOT labelled. I am thinking there is a problem with my homes electrical wiring system. I am worried something will overheat and may cause a fire. I have been unplugging things and using less electricity to try and be safe. Is there something that I should test, check, or troubleshoot? How do I isolate which appliance or wiring issue is causing my electrical problem?

What To Do If A Breaker Keeps Tripping In Your HomeWhat To Do If A Breaker Keeps Tripping In Your Home

A circuit breaker trips off the electrical power flow to protect the circuit from overheating and causing any damage. Find out what appliance (such as the washer or dryer) that flips the breaker off. Take note as to what you are using when the breaker turns off and that should be your indicator. The appliance you are using when the breaker turns off is most likely the one causing your problem. You may be using too many electrical items at once. If you are in the kitchen and using the coffee maker, the microwave, and toaster all at once, it will probably flip the 110V breaker off. There are double pole and single pole breakers. Single are usually for 110V and double are for 220V.

breakers and labelling in breaker boxBreakers and labeling in breaker box

It could also be a fault in an appliance or wiring in the wall. It may be a faulty cord, plug, outlet or even the breaker itself. Begin labeling the breaker box once you know what each breaker controls by turning the breakers off and then taking note what part of the house has lost power. Put a sticker next to the breaker and write down what part of the house that breaker controls. Then fix or replace that cord, plug, outlet box, or breaker.

typical home breaker boxTypical home breaker box

A normal breaker should be labelled with the circuits it supplies something like ‘downstairs lights’ or ‘kitchen outlets’. If you can identify the electrical items being powered then you can turn them all off. Power them back on until the problem comes back. If this does not work, or if the breaker is labelled ‘RCD’, ‘RCBO’, ‘GFI’, ‘GFCI’ or has a ‘test’ button, you should call an electrician to at least diagnose the fault.

faulty appliance outlets can trip the breakerFaulty Appliance outlets can trip the breaker

You may have an overload on a circuit that has devices that cycle on and off such as a refrigerator or A/C system. If that is not the case then the breaker may be defective. You should not replace a lower amp breaker with a higher amp breaker because the wires can melt.

Auto Ranging Digital Multimeter (DMM) Multi Tester Voltmeter Ammeter OhmmeterA multimeter can help you to determine if electrical components are working properly or not
Good tool to have on hand for hundreds of uses!

You may have a bad connection to one of the wall plug outlets. It could be loose or the wires may be frayed or brittle. You could take the outlet covers off the ones that are on the breaker that keeps flipping off and see if you have a loose wire. Be sure not to touch a wire to see if it is loose. If a wire is loose, flip off the breaker circuit switch to kill power to the outlet. Then use a screwdriver and tighten the screw holding the wire to secure it.

turn off breaker and check behind outlet for loose wiresTurn off breaker and check behind outlet for loose wires

Why does my panel breaker keep kicking off?

Checking for a Bad Breaker

Microwave Tripping The Circuit Breaker?

If the problem is in the breaker box itself, have a professional electrician replace the breaker and check to be sure everything is safe electrically and no hazards are present.

Always be sure that the electrical power is turned off before attempting any electrical repairs yourself.

If you have more info about what can cause a circuit breaker to keep tripping, please leave a comment below.

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 30 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of machinery. Contact here

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Jon Louviere December 22, 2018 at 2:42 pm

I have a single pole breaker, the lug on top is constant hot, the lug in the bottom goes to a photo sensor. When I cover the photo sensor the breaker pops. This is a 20 amp breaker. does that mean that I need to check all the lights this photo sensor controls? Everything in the panel is hooked up right and it’s a brand new breaker. Thank you for your time.


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