The Generator Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping – How to Fix This

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Indeed, it’s frustrating and annoying to keep on switching a tripped circuit breaker back on all the time. However, you can fix it by:

1. Unplugging the appliances and turning off all lights affected by the power outage 

2. Look for your circuit box and check the breakers in the OFF position

3. Flip the breaker from OFF to ON position

Normally, tripping is caused by various issues such as overload, which you need to understand before fixing it. When this happens, the breaker’s safety is to switch the circuit to the OFF position immediately. The steps below can help to fix it:

Generator Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Steps Of Fixing A Generator Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping

Step 1: Unplug The Appliances And Turn Off All Lights Affected By The Power Outage

Switch off everything you can, and for those that don’t have a manual switch off, unplug them. A circuit breaker can trip if they get overloaded, especially when you use two or more appliances at once. A quick solution for such a case is to unplug some appliances and switch off lights to prevent a tripping circuit. Furthermore, it’s not good to have any appliances drawing power when the circuit breaker is reset as it can cause more damage. Typically, a sudden trip can affect your home appliances like computers, TV, fan, and so on.

Step 2: Look For Your Circuit Box And Check The Breakers In The OFF Position

Usually, many circuit breakers have a red or orange color when they are switched OFF.

Step 3: Flip The Breaker From OFF To ON Position

After flipping the breaker to ON position, remove all the unplug appliances and the lights you turned off in step 1. Check if all is fine and everything is working again normally. But if your circuit breaker keeps on regularly tripping, then it’s time to call your professional technician to handle the issue.

Always keep this in mind, a circuit breaker is an important safety mechanism designed to shut off the power when something goes wrong. Thus, protecting your home from various risks such as fire, etc. 

Why Does The Circuit Breaker On My Generator Keeps Tripping?

When a circuit breaker has too high current flows through it or cannot handle the excess current load, they trip easily. This prevents overheating on the circuit and other major risks.  Yes, it’s a very significant safety measure that comes in handy in times of need, and it is important to understand why it trips to fix it well. Here are some of the reasons your circuit breaker on the generator keeps tripping: 

Circuit Overloads

This is one of the major reasons why the circuit breaker keeps on tripping constantly. When your circuit cannot handle the amps coming through it, it will flip the breaker, which can damage the appliances or, even worse, start a fire. For example, if your electronic device is connected to the circuit that needs 15 amps, but using 20 amps, the circuit will overheat and get ruined. The circuit will trip immediately to avoid further damages. 

Try to redistribute your electronic devices and separate them from the same circuit to solve this issue. You can unplug or turn off some devices to reduce the electrical load on your circuit breaker.

Short Circuit

A short circuit is another common reason, but it’s more dangerous than an overloaded circuit. A short circuit happens when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire in your electrical outlets. Whenever there is a large amount of current flow through the circuit, it creates more heat because it cannot handle the current. The circuit breaker shuts down automatically in cases like this to prevent danger from happening.

Faulty wiring or loose connection can also cause a short circuit. So, you need to be aware of such. You can easily identify a short circuit by a burning smell usually left around the breaker. A black or a brown discoloration around the breaker is another indication.

 Ground Fault Surges

This is similar to a short circuit case, although it occurs if a hot wire touches the ground wire made of bare copper. When the part of a metal end box is connected to the ground wire, more electricity passes via it that the circuit can’t handle. As a result, the breaker trips to protect the circuit and electronic devices from overheating or possible fires.

You can identify this by discoloration around your outlet. Don’t overlook these problems, and if you cannot DIY, consider calling a professional for assistance.

Moisture In The Receptacle Box

In outdoor installation, moisture accumulation is the major cause of the ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Since it is more vulnerable to rain or high humidity in some areas, it traps water in the receptacle box to evaporate. Turn off the breaker before inspecting the box simply because moisture can expose you to risks like an accidental electric shock.

Ensure the box is dry by either speeding the process using a blow dryer or whichever way to give the best results.

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Older household appliances such as freezers and refrigerators etc. can be prone to electric leakage, which causes the GFCI to trip easily. If this is the main reason, contact the manufactures and get more information regarding this situation.

Remember you should never operate your generator indoors or in a garage; it doesn’t matter if the door is open or not. It would be best to avoid an air intake in your home because carbon monoxide poisoning is dangerous. Never operate it in the rain too. This can damage your generator and cause unnecessary electrical hazards, which might hit you hard unexpectedly.

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Breaker?

Sometimes a circuit breaker can go bad suddenly due to severe heat. When this happens, the circuit breaker might never trip even though there is too much current flowing through it.  Some signs of a bad breaker include; burning smell coming from the electrical system, circuit breaker becomes too hot even to touch, ragged wires burned parts and clear signs of wear and tear, etc.; if this is the case, replace your circuit breaker as soon as you can.

All this might not seem serious but guess what! Even to electricians, the signs are scary, and a nightmare thought. This is because it is a serious problem that can lead to a fire in your home, not to mention ruining your appliances. 

Before making any conclusion, you should rule out common electrical problems such as short circuits and overloaded circuits. You might be thinking your breaker has gone bad because of constant tripping though the case might not be so but rather a short and overload circuit. 

To finalize your findings, identify the breaker and the devices it’s protecting. Unplug those devices on that breaker and reset it. If the breaker trips after plugging back the devices, then the problem is caused by a short or overload circuit.  But if not, call out your technician to install a new breaker for you.

What Is The Lifespan Of Circuit Breakers?

It’s estimated that a circuit breaker’s lifespan expectancy is between 30-40 years, a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  A similar case to standard breakers, AFCI and GFCI. But since breakers are mechanical devices, their lifespan is shortened by things like corrosive atmospheres and humid conditions, plus many more. Whereas dry, indoor location with modest temperatures prolongs its lifespan.

Another way to extended circuit breaker lifespan is maintenances and paying close attention while ensuring the breaker box runs smoothly. Having peace of mind is vital, and with this, you can rest assured that your electronic appliances are protected together with your house.

How Much Does It Cost For An Electrician To Replace A Circuit Breaker?

1. Replacing a circuit breaker may cost you $150 to $250 on average though it varies based on the location and other factors. The circuit breakers are a vital part of your electronic system that fosters your home’s safety. They are normally designed to trip and break the connection if there is a short circuit, circuit overload, or other power issues to prevent damage to appliances and fire hazards. 

2. As time goes by, circuit breakers tend to wear out, especially if they keep on tripping. This can eventually lead to fire hazards plus other safety concerns if the issues are not sorted out. Certainly, it will cost you but look at it on the positive side! Would you rather start repurchasing new appliances, or it’s better to part with few coins and save a lot? Prevention is better than cure, so don’t try to outsmart yourself; other things don’t have options but solutions.

What Are Some Of The Warning Signs Of An Overloaded Electrical Circuit?

Statics done by National Fire Protection Association U.S shows that overload electric circuits are the common cause of the residential fire. Identifying the overload circuit signs will help lower the risk of electrical fires. Some of the overload warning signs are;

1. Blinking, flickering, or dimming lights

2. Repeatedly tripped circuit breaker.

3. Discolored or warm wall plates

4. Sizzling, cracking or buzzing from receptacles.

5. Burning smell coming from the wall switches or receptacles.

6. The mild shock from electronic devices, receptacles, or switches.

Should I Switch Off The Circuit Breaker When The Generator Is Running?

One of the generator’s safety measures operations is to turn off the circuit breaker before switching it on. Doing so ensures the loads don’t draw current until the generator runs efficiently. Before stopping the generator, you should also turn off the breaker. Remember to test the ground circuit interrupter on the generator each time before starting the engine. Finally, make sure the generator is on an isolated circuit when connected to your home wiring. Failure to which the generator might back-feed and bring more life-threatening situations for electricians working on the power lines.

Conclusion

You should never ignore any generator circuit breaker tripping, even if it’s a one-time thing or frequent cases. Never take chances when it comes to circuit breakers; instead, call a licensed electrician to check out the issue. Be warned, one amp can cause severe pain in your body, and more than that will properly kill you. We don’t want to imagine what an electric box that handles 100 to 200 amps can do to you. In short, we discourage anyone from fixing their circuit breaker not unless they are professional electricians.

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