What Causes A Breaker To Constantly Trip?

Let’s say the breaker that controls the basement family room outlets seems to constantly be tripping when you go to use one of the outlets.

Here’s what a professional electrician does step-by-step to troubleshoot and repair the problem.

  1. Ask if there is a specific piece of equipment that gets plugged in every time the breaker is tripped. If the answer is yes, he examines that equipment for faults.
  2. Finding no obvious faults, he will open the breaker panel so his current draw meter can measure the current draw when the equipment is plugged in. If the breaker trips immediately the equipment has a not-so-obvious fault and becomes the main suspect.
  3. If the answer is no he will then identify exactly what wiring devices (outlets, switches and light fixtures) are controlled by the tripping breaker.
  4. He will then return to the panel and reset the breaker.
  5. Next he will return to the devices, turn on all the lights and inserting his plug-in polarity tester he will wiggle the outlets one by one in hopes of causing the breaker to trip.
  6. If the breaker trips he will remove all the devices from the device boxes and tighten all the connections, replacing any devices that are suspect and return all to the device boxes.
  7. The breaker will be reset and if it holds he will reconnect the main suspect equipment.
  8. If the breaker holds the problem has been solved as it was a loose connection.
  9. If the breaker trips an alternative piece of equipment with the same current draw will be plugged into the circuit.
  10. If the breaker holds the suspect piece of equipment was faulty.
  11. If the breaker trips the breaker is weak and should be replaced.
  12. He will clean up and provide his guarantee on the repair.

Accept no substitutes.