(773) 378-9690 Request Service

3 Reasons Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

May 15, 2020 | Blog

We’ve seen a tripped breaker or two at Arnold Electric over the 13 years we have been in business servicing old homes throughout Chicago’s vibrant neighborhoods. Old home or new home, there are really only 3 underlying reasons that your circuit breaker keeps tripping. Even though we have seen some creative ideas from DIYers and non-licensed electricians and handymen on how electricity can be used, it still comes down to the big three: Overloaded circuits, short circuits, and a ground fault.

1. Overloaded Circuits

Tripping breakers are a huge nuisance. Not only is it a hassle to run to reset your breaker when you want to use your toaster and coffee pot at the same time, but a tripping breaker also means there is something not quite right with the wiring in your homes electrical system. If you are experiencing a tripping breaker and you DO notice it when you try to use one or more small appliance, you have an “overloaded circuit”.

Kitchens in old homes are a good example of where we see this a lot! A basic, standard, modern kitchen that is wired in 2020 would take seven individual 20-amp circuit breakers to distribute all the power needed to run our kitchen appliances appropriately. A Chicago bungalow, for example, that has not had any recent modernization with the electrical system, might have one 15-amp circuit to control the countertop outlets and maybe two more 15-amp circuits for the fridge, dishwasher, microwave, stove, hood, disposal, etc.

As you can guess, two or three 15amp circuits will not suffice for a kitchen these days when you consider the average kitchen appliance uses 8 or more amps of power. Any good residential electrical service provider can evaluate your needs for you if you are experiencing these same issues, and they can advise you on the proper course of action to get your home’s electrical system to function properly and prevent unnecessary trips to the basement to reset the breaker.

2. Short Circuit

“Johnny 5 Is Alive”. That is a quote from the 1988 movie “Short Circuit”. A short circuit is another cause of tripping breakers. And when there is a short circuit it may seem like your electrical system is alive with a constantly tripping breaker that will trip the instant you attempt to reset the breaker. When a hot wire is crossed with or touching a neutral wire you will experience a short circuit and your breaker will trip. This can happen when a DIYer attempts to wire in a switch or outlet themselves and gets the wrong wires crossed.

A short circuit can also happen from lack of maintenance or because of the age of your home’s electrical system. Breakers, switches, outlets and wiring all deteriorate over time and can cause a short circuit. This repair, even when done by a licensed electrical service provider, is oftentimes like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together. There is a process of elimination and it takes some focus to efficiently identify and rectify the short circuit. It may also mean some form or rewiring that particular circuit or other portions of the home.

3. Ground Fault

Similar to a short circuit is a “ground fault” and is another common culprit of tripping breakers. A ground fault is when a hot wire touches a grounded metal portion of your electrical system. For example, in Chicago, most homes are wired with tubing/conduit or flexible metal conduit. The metal conduit is grounded. When a hot wire is deteriorated, nicked, frayed, or damaged and touches the exposed copper part to the metal conduit, switch or outlet box, you will experience a ground fault and thus a tripping breaker. Again, this situation is either a maintenance or age or the system issue. Sometimes it can also be a pinched wire which would mean the wire was installed improperly.

Seek A Professional

As you are able to see, a tripping breaker is more than a nuisance. If you are experiencing any of these issues and need help sorting through the matter, contact Arnold Electric Services, Inc. We’ll get a licensed technician out to your home to consult with you and get a plan in place to get the situation fixed so you can enjoy your home. We can be reached Monday – Friday from 7:00am – 5:00pm, and 24 Hours at (773) 647-1120 for all your emergency needs.

– Jack Arnold

Why Choose Arnold Electrical?

reliable-icon
Reliable Service
We believe in providing premium electrical services, all backed by our 5 year parts and labor warranty
customer-focused-icon
Upfront Flat Rate Pricing
Emergency calls and regular service calls are performed on a flat rate. No surprises!
quality-materials-icon
Quality Products
Safety is our mission. We only purchase the highest quality materials from trusted suppliers.

What Our Clients Say

Quick To Respond

Jeff M. and Derek H. were amazing! If ever you need any type of electrical work done in your home this is the company you can trust. Their knowledge and work shows how dedicated they are to getting the job done the right way. They really know their stuff and it shows! Not only are they quick to respond but they will get the job done the right way and it is backed by their guarantee. I am amazed! Thank you Arnold Electrical! 🙂

Lizette F.

Realtor Approved

The staff at Arnold Electric Service were on time for our appointment to assess the electrical needs of my client’s condominium and were very professional and thorough in doing so. Most appreciated was the fact that their staff electrician was absolutely honest with me about his ability to provide further services. I will most definitely refer this wonderful company to those needing their services going forward

Jane C.

Simply the Best

They are the best.

Tunya K.

Would Definitely Recommend This Company

First time using Arnold. Derek arrived early (after confirming it was ok) and was very professional. He fixed the problem and offered some recommendations. I appreciated that he wore a mask. Would definitely recommend this company.

Colleen M.

Easy To Work With

The staff is fantastic they have an attitude of “we can do that” “we can get it done”. The coordinator Mary is superb she is knowledgeable, a great listener, she is a winner, easy to work with. AES is one Chicago’s best businesses. A loyal customer

Cal W.

Courteous and Knowledgeable

The techs were on time, courteous and knowledgeable. They explained the issues they saw and recommended several pricing options. We plan on using this company again.

Stephen B.

Reliable & Professional

This company was great to work with. They arrived on time and worked tirelessly to get the job done ahead of schedule. We would highly recommend their service to anyone in need of electrical work.

Kristen N.