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Why do circuit breakers commonly trip?
Why do circuit breakers commonly trip? Andover
Why do circuit breakers commonly trip? London

What is a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker is a safety device that interrupts the flow of electricity in an electrical circuit.  The purpose of a circuit breaker is to prevent damage from overload or short circuit.  There are two main types of circuit breakers: thermal-magnetic circuit breakers and solid-state circuit breakers. Thermal-magnetic circuit breakers use a combination of heat and magnetic force to trip the breaker, while solid-state circuit breakers use semiconductor devices to detect an overload or short circuit and then interrupt the flow of electricity. Lastly, circuit breakers are typically installed in household and commercial buildings, as well as in industrial and utility applications.


Overcurrent is a condition of an electrical circuit when it exceeds the maximum current allowed. As a result, too much current is flowing through the circuit. This can lead to fires, damage to the conductor insulation, and equipment damage. Overcurrent can be caused by a number of things, such as short circuit, overload, ground fault or arc. Due to the potential damage caused by an overcurrent its important to shut off the power to the affected circuit as soon as possible.


An overload happens when equipment is operating in excess of its normal full-load rating. When this is sustained over a long period of time it causes overheating and damage. An overload can be caused by a number of things, for example an overloaded circuit or faulty appliances. Overloads can cause damage to electrical components and pose a fire hazard, so it's important to shut off the power to the affected circuit as soon as possible.

Short Circuit

A short circuit is caused when an overcurrent extremely exceeds the recommended full load current of the circuit. As the name suggests, a short circuit is when the current travels along an unintended path, taking a short-cut around the load and then back to the power source. As a result, this leads to an excessive current flowing through the circuit. A short circuit can be caused by a loose wire, damaged appliances, or an overloaded circuit.

Why do circuit breakers commonly trip?

There are a few reasons why circuit breakers commonly trip, such as:

  1. Overloaded circuits: Too many devices drawing power from the same circuit can cause it to overload and trip.
  2. Short circuits: A direct connection between the hot and neutral wires of an electrical circuit can cause it to overheat and trip.
  3. Ground faults: When the hot wire of an electrical circuit comes into contact with the ground, it can cause the circuit to trip.
  4. Appliance failures: A faulty appliance can cause a circuit to trip.

If your Circuit Breaker trips frequently, it's important to have an electrician check your wiring to ensure everything is up to code and to identify any potential problems.

How do circuit breakers work?

Circuit breakers work by detecting when an electrical circuit is overloaded or has a short circuit. When this occurs, the circuit breaker trips and interrupts the flow of electricity. This prevents damage to the electrical circuit by preventing further current from flowing.

What are the benefits of using a circuit breaker?

Circuit breakers offer a number of benefits over other types of electrical safety devices, such as fuses. Circuit breakers can be reset after they trip, while fuses must be replaced. Furthermore,  circuit breakers also provide protection against both overloads and short circuits, while fuses only provide protection against overloads. Additionally, circuit breakers can be used in a variety of applications, such as household, commercial, industrial, and utility applications.

Circuit Breakers Vs Fuses

Fuses and circuit breakers are both designed to protect electrical circuits from overloads, but they work in different ways. Fuses work by blowing or interrupting the flow of electricity when they sense an overload, while circuit breakers simply shut off the current when they sense an overload. Circuit breakers can be reset after they trip, while fuses must be replaced.

For additional articles on Electrical Safety follow the links below.

Electrical Safety In The Office 

Electrical Equipment Safety 

What I A Pat Test?

What is a EICR Test?


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