Circuit Breakers

What is it?

Circuit breakers are an essential part of your home as they control the amount of electricity that is being distributed through the house. They are specifically designed to stop excess current (electricity) to prevent any electrical or fire injuries. At predetermined current loads, a circuit breaker is designed to shut off (or “trip”) when it is overloaded, consequently cutting off electrical flow to a specific line.

Reasons for a circuit trip:

  1. Short Circuit: usually occurs via faulty wiring causing too much current to be pulled
  2. Overloaded Circuit: when too much current passes though the electric wires. This may cause over heating and melting of the wires, causing a potential fire hazard. Often occurs when too many appliances are in use at the same time.
  3. Ground Fault: this occurs when the electricity travels though the ground, rather than through the wires. Very common around areas of worn insulation and where dust and moisture are present.

Location of Circuit Breakers:

Circuit Breakers are usually found in a breaker box. These are usually found in basements, storage rooms or in a garage (though some may be hidden in other areas of the home). If you are having trouble locating the box, the electrical meter outside your home is a good place to start the search.  The breaker box is usually somewhere close to there for safety and optimum distribution of electrical power.


If there is a loss of power somewhere in your home, a circuit breaker could have been tripped. To reset the breaker, locate the breaker box and inside you will find a set of toggles. Most toggles should be pointing toward the center of the box, indicating they are in the ON position. If they are pointing away, the breaker is in the OFF position. Toggles that have been tripped will be pointing in an “in between” position. To reset properly, you must turn OFF the toggles first and then switch them to the ON position.

Sometimes, the toggle may trip immediately after resetting. If this happens, turn OFF the toggle and contact a TDR electrician to help determine what may be causing the trip.

Repeated Trips

If a circuit breaker trips regularly, it is important to examine further as to the cause of the trip. This is important because a repeated trip may be a potential injury or electrical fire.

If you notice any charred breakers, smell fire or something just isn’t right; turn off the breaker and contact a TDR electrician to investigate the cause and eliminate the repeated trips.


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