Resetting a Tripped Circuit Breaker

One of the most common problems and questions an electrician is asked is how to reset a tripped circuit breaker. Circuit breakers trip for two reasons.

  1. A short circuit is an instantaneous event (a grand fault in the circuit) or an appliance or fixture on the circuit that caused the breaker to trip.
  2. An overload is a long-term event that occurs when the amperage of the circuit exceeds the rating of the breaker. For example, 18 amps exceed the rating of a breaker on a 14-amp breaker.

So what do you do when your power is cut in your room? Grab a flashlight and follow these steps to reset your circuit breaker after it trips:

  1. Unplug some recently plugged in items and turn off the lights in the room to make sure that it doesn’t happen again once reset.
  2. Find your electrical service panel.
  3. Find the tripped circuit breaker. A tripped circuit breaker will be in the center of the off and on position. Some breakers will show a bit of red on the switch if they’re tripped.
  4. Flip the tripped circuit breaker to the off position. Then reset the tripping mechanism.
  5. Flip the tripped circuit breaker to the on position. Make sure that it is flipped completely to the on position. Normally you will hear a snap when it is fully flipped, and your electricity should be turned back on.

While this may be pretty simple, it is important to remember your safety in the process. Always use caution when dealing with electricity. It is important to ensure that you have completely dry hands and are standing on a dry surface. If the breaker shuts off again after you reset it, you have a short or some other serious problem that needs to be addressed by an electrician and is probably not safe to work on yourself. If there is ever a question of safety or something more wrong, we are always just a call away for all electricity problems!