How to Fix Blown Circuit Breakers

Although circuit breakers are incredibly versatile pieces of equipment, they are not immune to problems. Sometimes there will be a short circuit or overload that leads to a blown circuit breaker. When this happens, you are going to have to fix the circuit breaker and restore it to normal working conditions.

Before we get into the steps that will help you fix your circuit breaker, it is important that you stay calm in doing this. Being in a state of high stress and worry will be counter-productive toward getting the problem solved. If you are uncomfortable with performing the steps listed in this article, consult a professional electrician to fix your circuit breaker for you.

Technician working at electrical cabinet (using a screwdriver).

Turn EVERYTHING off that has lost power.

This is the most important safety precaution that you can take. If you do not do this, you are putting yourself in harm’s way by potentially exposing yourself to a live current.

 

Locate the tripped breaker.

There is likely a location where the box for the circuit breaker will be kept. Once you have identified this location, you need to find the right switch. If you look carefully, it will be in-between the “off” and “on” position. Each circuit breaker switch comes with some type of visual indication that it has tripped, so you may need to consult the instruction manual that comes with the circuit breaker.

 

Turn it “off” and then “on.”

Take the tripped circuit breaker switch and switch it to the off position completely. Following this, you want to put the switch back to the on position. If everything was done correctly, and no underlying problems exist, the power should be restored to the circuit that was tripped.

 

Test your electrical equipment.

With the power restored, you will want to plug your equipment into the outlet that corresponds to the reset breaker and see if power is flowing properly.

Man inspecting a damaged fusebox

All of the above steps can be considered as introductory steps toward fixing blown circuit breakers. There are other problems that may arise and are usually unsafe to handle without the supervision of a professional electrician:

 

Short Circuiting

This is what happens when hot wires come in contact, and it is indicative of a serious problem within the internal wiring. This is a problem that needs to be fixed immediately and is easy to detect due to the visual indicators. It is not uncommon to examine the wiring and find that there is black discoloration, damage, or any emission of a burned smell.

 

Overloading the Circuit

Usually, there are too many things plugged into a single outlet, and this can lead to overloading the circuit. In response, the circuit breaker will switch off to stop the circuit from becoming overloaded. Of course, this problem can be easily solved by ensuring that the outlet is plugged to two devices max. If you take this precaution and there are still problems with the circuit breaker, it is time to call an electrician for extra assistance.

 

Humming

There are rare cases in which your circuit breaker will create a loud humming sound. This is something that must be taken care of right away by an electrician. DO NOT attempt to fix this by yourself. There is either a connection problem with the wiring, a problem with an individual circuit that needs repair, or a failure of the circuit breaker to shut off in the presence of circuit overload.

 

Fixing a blown circuit breaker is fairly straightforward if there are no fundamental problems that exist with the breaker itself. If not, that’s when it is time to call someone who is experienced to handle the problem. This is not the time to behave as a DIY electrician who thinks they can solve the problem.

technician design and installing circuit breakers at Electricity distribution board

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