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Why Does My Breaker Keep Tripping With Nothing Plugged In?

A breaker that keeps tripping with nothing plugged in is caused by an earth fault, overheating appliance, short circuit, or overloaded circuit. Knowing about this problem is essential in maintaining the safety and efficiency of an electrical system.

In case the problem remains, it’s best to talk to professional electricians, as they have the knowledge and expertise to resolve these issues effectively.

This post will discuss the most common causes of a tripping circuit breaker and the steps to fix it.

4 of the Most Common Causes of Circuit Breaker Tripping

The 4 most common causes of circuit breaker tripping are an earth fault, an overheating appliance, a short circuit, and an overloaded circuit. Let’s check out each one below.

Earth Fault

An earth fault is a significant cause of breaker tripping, characterised by electrical current straying outside its intended path. Occurring frequently in damp areas, it poses a substantial risk of electric shock.

Overheating Appliance

Trips can also happen when an appliance overheats. This issue generally arises from internal damage or defects within the appliance, leading to abnormal power consumption.

Short Circuit

Short circuits are another prevalent cause. They occur when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire, creating a surge in electrical flow.

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Overloaded Circuit

Lastly, an overloaded circuit is a common culprit. This happens when too many devices draw power from the same circuit, exceeding its capacity. This will prompt the breaker to trip to avoid potential damage or a power outage.

5 Important Steps to Fix a Breaker That Keeps Tripping

The 5 important steps to fix a breaker that keeps tripping are to unplug appliances, reset the circuit breaker, reconnect appliances gradually, identify the problematic appliance, and call a licenced electrician.

Step 1: Unplug Appliances

Begin by unplugging all devices from the affected circuit. This step helps isolate the issue and prepares the circuit for a safe reset. It’s crucial to ensure everything is disconnected to accurately diagnose the problem.

Step 2: Reset the Circuit Breaker

Once all appliances are unplugged, locate your breaker panel. Find the tripped breaker—it usually sits in a position between ON and OFF. Switch it fully to OFF, then back to ON. This resets the breaker and can often resolve temporary overloads.

Step 3: Reconnect Appliances Gradually

After resetting, reconnect your appliances one at a time. Turn on each device and observe the breaker’s response. If it trips again when a particular appliance is plugged in, this indicates the source of the overload.

Step 4: Identify the Problematic Appliance

If the breaker trips again, identify which appliance caused it. This device could be faulty or consuming too much power for the circuit’s capacity. Avoid using it until it can be checked or repaired.

Step 5: Call a Licenced Electrician

If the breaker continues to trip or you’re unable to pinpoint the issue, it’s time to call a licensed electrician. Persistent problems might signal deeper electrical issues that require professional attention for safe resolution.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Circuit Breaker?

It costs $200 to $300 to replace a circuit breaker. The amount to replace a breaker varies depending on several factors, such as the installation complexity, amp size, and type of breaker.