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Why did my breaker break?

Thermal-magnetic circuit breakers “trip” when there is a problem on the circuit that the breaker is protecting. That problem could be a simple overload that the homeowner could fix by shedding load (unplugging items from an overloaded circuit) or it could be a more complicated problem requiring a qualified electrician to investigate. However, either way, the breaker should not be reset until the problem has been diagnosed and fixed.

When the problem is fixed and your breaker still does not function correctly it is possible that your breaker has sacrificed itself to protect your circuit. That is part of the design criteria for the circuit breaker. Other factors such as loose connections (the number one cause of breaker failures) or environmental factors, like water, oxidation or corrosion can also help destroy a breaker.

Posted in: Frequently Asked Questions

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