When was the last time that you thought about the electrical system in your Richland Hills, TX home? You’re constantly reliant upon your wiring, outlets, and service panel, but these and other critical features are probably overlooked. Most homeowners don’t think about their electrical systems until something goes awry. If you have a tripped circuit breaker that won’t reset, this is an excellent opportunity to give everything the attention it deserves. Read on to find out why this problem occurs and how to resolve it.
The Circuit Is Overloaded
The most common cause of a circuit breaker that won’t reset is an overloaded circuit. Every electrical circuit in your home has a specific amperage and voltage rating. However, most of your circuits aren’t operating at full capacity all of the time. Instead, circuits usually operate at a fraction of their capacity. When they near or reach 100%, problems frequently occur.
If you’ve recently connected a new appliance or device and have found yourself needing to frequently reset the circuit breaker, it’s highly probable that overloading the circuit is the primary issue. In addition to frequent trips, several signs of an overloaded circuit include:
- Flickering lights throughout the room
- Strange popping or cracking sounds
- Faint and slightly sweet, burnt odors
- Thin, whitish smoke coming from your outlets
All of these things may be precursors to an in-wall electrical fire. As such, your circuit breaker is tripping to keep you protected. The best way for you to protect your home and all that it contains is by turning everything off and contacting a licensed electrician right away.
Take a Pause
If your lights haven’t been flickering and your outlets aren’t emitting strange smells or smoke, you may need to simply take a minute before attempting to reset the circuit breaker. Although most circuit breakers can be reset immediately after a trip, the appliances that are connected to them usually need time to cool down.
Circuit breakers close off the flow of electricity when a problem is suspected. When air conditioners, hair dryers, computers, and other items run too hot, the breakers that they’re connected to will trip, and they won’t reset until the issue is resolved. Attempting to reset a circuit breaker that has tripped due to high levels of heat too soon won’t have any effect. You can unplug the offending appliance and try again if you’re anxious to diagnose the problem. If the circuit resets immediately, you might need an appliance repair. In the instance of air conditioners and furnaces, sometimes simply changing out their air filters is enough to do the trick.
If waiting for an overheating appliance to cool off, try resetting the breaker after 15 to 20 minutes. If the circuit trips once more, keep the appliance turned off and wait for professional diagnosis and repairs.
You Have Modern Needs and an Outdated Electrical System
If you live in an older property or have recently purchased pre-existing construction, it’s probably time for an electrical system update. The average household’s electrical demand far exceeds that of a household from just 30 years ago. While homeowners of the past had just one television and a few lamps plugged in, yours could have a TV in every room, multiple laptops, tablets, computers, and other electronics all using power at the same time.
In general, homeowners are advised to update their electrical systems every 20 to 25 years. Not only will an electrical system update ensure that your home’s wiring and other electrical features are capable of supporting your current power demands, but it will also allow you to take advantage of the latest innovations in electrical safety and surge protection.
Do You Have Rodents or Another In-Wall Pest?
If you’ve been struggling with a rodent infestation, this could be the underlying cause of your circuit breaker problems. Rats and mice have a tendency to chew through wiring. In fact, when you hear of the massive amounts of damage that these pests are responsible for, the greatest portion of this damage often pertains to electrical systems.
Bent, broken, stripped, and otherwise damaged wires are all good reasons for a circuit to trip. Moreover, as long as these problems exist unseen behind your outlets and drywall, resetting your circuits will prove impossible. In most instances, the solution for this problem is two-fold. You’ll need to work with a licensed pest control company to eliminate your rodent infestation first. Then you’ll want to work with a reputable electrician to reverse wiring damage.
Unfortunately, rodents aren’t the only infestation that can damage your electrical system. Bed bugs are incredibly good hiders. So much so that when homeowners have a hard time treating these infestations, it’s usually because bed bugs are hiding in their outlets. Rather than sequestering themselves under the ribbed edges of mattresses or in bedding, these insects find suitable outlets just near sleeping areas and take up residence. People sleeping near these outlets wake up with fresh rows of bites but cannot find evidence of their attackers.
The damage that insects cause inside of electrical outlets creates the risk of fire. Moreover, bed bugs aren’t the only bugs to target these spaces. Your electrical problems could be due to wasps, termites, or ants. If you don’t have a preventative pest management plan in place and know that there are other homeowners in your area with pervasive infestations, now is definitely the time to get one.
You Have a Slow or Hidden Leak
In addition to appliance troubles and destructive pests, water leaks can also cause circuit breakers to trip as a preventative measure. After all, water and electricity are always a dangerous combination. Sadly, some residential leaks fester behind drywall or at the backs of appliances unnoticed by homeowners for weeks if not months at a time. Depending upon the location of the circuit that keeps tripping, you might have a roof leak, a leaking garbage disposal or dishwasher, or a cracked pipe. If you don’t have an overheating appliance, look for water damage along the baseboards, at the ceiling, and under sinks. Much like pest-related breaker problems, this one will require the help of two professionals: a plumber and an electrician.
Make Sure That You’re Resetting the Circuit the Right Way
If you’re lucky, your breaker problems aren’t really problems at all. Instead, you simply aren’t resetting the circuit the right way. To do so correctly, be sure to toggle the breaker completely to the “OFF” position before toggling it back on. It’s also important to verify that you’re resetting the right breaker. In your haste to resolve the problem, it’s easy to overlook this important detail.
There’s an Open Ground
When plugging in an appliance with a three-pronged cord, your circuit breaker might trip if the three-pronged outlet that you’re using isn’t connected to your home’s grounding system. This is an installation-related issue that you might not notice for some time if you rarely use the outlet in question. In this case, the circuit breaker trips whenever there’s insufficient protection against surges and faults. More importantly, it won’t reset until this protection is applied or restored.
We’re committed to helping residents of Richland Hills, TX stay safe. We offer residential and commercial electrical repairs. We also provide EV charging stations, whole-home rewiring services, electrical panels, generators, and more. If your circuit breaker won’t reset, give HR Phoenix a call now!