Why Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping: The Moment You’re In Class Learning About Electrical Circuits and You Come to A Realization

I enjoy teaching Home Improvement Classes all around Long Island from my online virtual classes to in-person classes at libraries and universities. The best feeling of all, is when the topics that are being taught all of sudden begin to sink-in for some students. Students get their “Ah ha!” moment. Some students take what they learn and apply it and others learn how to seek the proper professionals to get the job done right. Not to long ago, I was teaching “Your Home’s Electrical System” class and at the end of the class a student came to a realization why her Microwave stops working when her Washing Machine turns on.

At the end of my classes I give out an Exit Card, which helps me get feedback from the students about what they have learned in the class. A student wrote the following, “Microwave needs higher amp circuit…” Now although that is true, you can’t just go replacing the circuit breaker with a higher amperage, without considering the gauge of the wire. But I liked that she was thinking things through and was taking all the topics that we spoke about and imagining how her home’s electrical system worked.

Electrical Wiring

Electrical wires travels from the circuit breaker or fuse panel through the walls of the house to the outlets where the current is used. This is known as a branch circuit which goes to the switches and outlets within the house.

Circuit Breaker

Fuses and circuit breakers protect the electrical systems from overload and shorts in the circuit by stopping the flow of electrical current.  Each fuse and circuit breaker identifies its amperage rating, that is the amount of amperage it can carry (what the wire can carry).

Breaker Keeps Tripping

When the amount of electrical current running through the wire exceed the rated breaker, the breaker will immediately trip to prevent a fire. Let’s say your new hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker. What’s going on?  Can you just install a bigger circuit breaker? The answer here depends on the gauge of the wire that is paired to the circuit breaker.

Well, I hope this helps people understand the importance of wire size matching the amperage size of the breaker. If you want to learn more about your house works, maybe you too can have an “Ah ha” moment. If you can’t make it to our classes and just want to know the overall condition of your home, consider a periodic home inspection.