Resetting Circuit Breakers
Even if a circuit breaker looks as if it is in the on position, it could still have tripped off. This sometimes happen when a circuit breaker flips off internally, and the “on/off” handle does not move to the off position.
If you think that your power loss is a result of a flipped circuit breaker, follow these steps:
- Turn off all computers and electronics that could be affected by power loss.
- At your electrical panel, move the first breaker to the off position, and then back to the on position.
- Do this with each breaker until you have flipped every single breaker off and then back on.
- Return to your device to see if it once again has power.
- Your job is done if you have power again! If not, you will have to call your local electrician.
Tip: Nearly 25% of all electrical issues are solved with this one technique. We wish you luck!
There are two types of power protection used within the majority of all circuit breakers: magnetic and thermal. In those using thermal protection, a thermal strip will measure the amount of heat that has built up. When the strip reaches a specific temperature, it will trip the breaker. In those using magnetic protection, there is a magnetic coil that can measure sudden current increases (shorts, for example). When this rises above a certain limit, it will shut the breaker off. In many old breaker boxes, only one of these types of protection is employed. In newer breakers, both types of protection are used in order to ensure the maximum amount of protection.
On the outside of every breaker, there are three spots that exhibit wear. If the on and off switch on a breaker is loose or broker, you should replace that breaker. The next place that will wear is the load lug. If this is very loose, or appears burnt, you should replace the breaker. The most common type of wear is at the stab. The breaker stab is the place where the breaker connects with the bussing on your electrical panel (the bussing is the component that allows the electricity to flow throughout your panel). Because the stab is connected to the bussing by spring tension and friction alone, it is very common that the tension will break down. This will often cause arcing and/or burning. If you notice that the stab is burnt, loose or discolored, you should always replace the breaker and have the bussing in your electrical panel looked at.
NOTE: Just because a breaker appears to be fine on the outside, it is entirely possible for it to be of questionable integrity. It is also true that poor looking breakers may be structurally sound. Because of this, you should not make all decisions regarding breaker replacement on appearance, age or continuity alone. If you suspect that a breaker should be replaced, consult with a licensed electrician. They will direct you in the right direction based off of their professional experience and knowledge.