Why Are My Circuit Breakers Tripping Out?

You plug in your crock pot and the kitchen goes dark. Your coffee pot turns off. The lights won't work. Your stove and microwave clocks need resetting. You run to the breaker box, find the switch to the kitchen and flip it. You've fixed the problem, right? The coffee's dripping, the lights work, and you reset the clocks to the minute.

So you confidently plug in the crock pot. Once again, the circuit trips. You did everything right the first time, so why did it happen again?

To Mitigate Danger

Your circuit breaker shuts down power when there's danger of fire due to a faulty ground, overheated wires or there's too many amps loaded on one circuit at one time. But how does it know to trip the circuit?

Because It's Safety First

Circuits are basically "on" and "off" switches. When a circuit is in the "on" position it allows your electrical lights and appliances to operate normally. However, when the circuit senses abnormal heat, it snaps, or trips, to the "off" position.

Have you ever snapped an old-fashioned clothespin? Maybe you've worked on a spring-lock mechanism for a door lock on a small parts assembly line in a factory. Your circuit breaker also has a spring operating mechanism, coiled and ready to strike the circuit off at the first sign of trouble.

Stored Energy Springs Into Action

The clothespin spring, the factory spring, and the spring within your circuit breaker have stored energy when in use. If you press the clothespin ends together, the spring widens. The factory spring moves the car locking mechanism up and down. The circuit breaker spring releases its stored energy to snap the circuit into its "off" position. Stored energy is being used purposefully--springs have sprung

Do You Need An Electrician?

Unless there's an issue where you need an entire circuit rewired or replaced, there should be no need to call an electrician. If you're fearful of fire, get out and call 911.

Otherwise, simply open your breaker box. Most rooms are indicated next to the corresponding circuit. You will see that your circuit is in the "off" position. Make sure that you pull the switch down all the way before flipping it back completely to the "on" position. If you casually flip it part way, it may simply revert back to its tripped state. Hence your multiple trips to the breaker box every time you plug in your crock pot.