Find My Local Expert How To Safely Identify Electrical Faults...Read More
Electricity is a dangerous business and one that’s best left to professionals. Unfortunately, it’s not practical to call an electrician for every little problem you encounter, so it helps if you can do a little investigating yourself. Of course, we are certainly not suggesting you should attempt electrical repairs if you are not qualified to do so, but there are some things you can check without putting yourself at risk.
One common problem that can sometimes be identified without the need for an electrician’s help is a tripping breaker. If it is being caused by one of your appliances, you can identify which appliance and disconnect it, either for replacement or repair.
As long as the problem appliance can be disconnected from its power supply, identifying the culprit is as simple as unplugging your appliances, resetting your breaker, and reconnecting them one by one to see which one is causing the breaker to trip.
That being said, as straightforward as this process is, it can be a little tedious. Most homes and businesses have a lot of appliances, and going through the whole building and disconnecting everything might not be practical. Fortunately, some appliances are more likely to be the cause of your breaker woes than others.
We’ve put together a list of appliances that have a higher chance of being the cause of your tripping breakers, so you can focus on those first. Hopefully, one of these will be the culprit, and you won’t need to go on to check the rest of the property.
So, let’s get to our list. Bear in mind that these are by no means the only appliances that can cause this problem, and you may find that the thing causing your breaker to trip isn’t an appliance at all. But by starting with these most likely culprits, you have a good chance of finding the cause.
#1 Blow Dryer
As a general rule, anything that generates heat through electricity is going to be a big-ticket item in terms of electricity usage.
Blow dryers may be convenient for drying your hair, but they use a relatively large amount of electricity in a short burst, which can be enough to trip some circuits if they already have a significant enough load on them.
While refrigerators aren’t there to produce heat, the processes involved in cooling things down are still quite intensive when it comes to electrical usage. If the refrigerator is overworked from having the door left open, or develops a fault through age or poor manufacture, it can trip your breakers.
Fans are, from an electrical point of view, just a spinning motor. These are not as electrically hungry as something like a blow dryer, but they do require a lot of energy. If there are imbalances in the motor, or if the fan has been hooked up to an already near-capacity circuit, it could cause your breakers to trip.
#4 Extension Cords and Power Strips
If there is damage to an extension cord or power strip, that can certainly cause your breakers to trip. It can also be a significant safety risk if there is any exposed electrical wire. However, your extension cord or power strips could be perfectly fine and yet still be the cause of your problems.
Power strips allow you to increase the number of outlets you have to hook up your appliances, but they don’t increase the capacity of the electrical circuits in your building. If a particular circuit is already near-capacity and you add a power strip into the mix, hooking up multiple appliances to your power strip can be enough to trip the breaker.
Like fans, vacuums can be boiled down to a spinning electric motor. The pressure on vacuums is greater, however, since the entire purpose of the vacuum is to suck against a surface, requiring more torque from the motor.
Fortunately, if the vacuum is the cause, it should be easy to detect as it will only trip the breaker when you attempt to use the vacuum.
As with blow dryers, irons are electricity-hungry appliances because they use electricity to generate heat. And, much like blow dryers, that suddenly increased draw of electricity on your home or business’ electrical network can be enough to trip one of your breakers. This risk is increased if the iron is plugged into a power strip or extension cord.
#7 Old Appliances
Old appliances are at a much higher risk of being the cause of your breaker tripping. Electronic circuits break down over time, which can lead to electrical surges and shorted circuits, both of which can cause your breakers to trip. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to avoid this. Some electrical appliances can be serviced to increase their lifespan, but it is often more practical to just replace these appliances when they break down.
#8 Air fryer
Like blow dryers and irons, air fryers use electricity to generate heat. If there is a near-capacity circuit or a short in the frying itself, it will cause your breaker to trip.
Dehumidifiers have a relatively large electrical draw and run constantly. This can make them difficult to identify, as they will be running for long periods in the background. They can also push an electrical circuit close enough to max capacity that using a relatively low-powered appliance will be enough to trip the breaker.
In many cases, tripping breakers come down to overloaded circuits from trying to run too many appliances at once. Fortunately, this can be fixed for free and without the need for specialist help by just being a little more careful with how you use your electrical appliances, such as not ironing while the dryer is running.
If you can’t do that, however, you will need to increase the capacity of your electrical network, which will most certainly require the attention of a professional electrician.