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Why Circuit Breakers Trip (and Fuses Blow)

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Short Circuit
Why Circuit Breakers Trip (and Fuses Blow)

Short Circuits Occur with Crossed or Broken Wires

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The Short Circuit is a more serious reason for a breaker tripping. A short is caused when the hot wire (black) touches another hot wire or touches a neutral wire (white). It can also be caused if there is a break in a wire in the circuit. Shorts are a bit more difficult to diagnose because they can be caused by the wiring in your home or in something you have plugged into an outlet.

The Fix:

  • Confirm that power is off at the outlet into which your device is plugged.
  • Inspect your power cords for damage or a melted appearance.
  • Check your outlets and plugs for the smell of burning or brown or black discoloration.
  • Check the insulation on the wires to make sure it is not cracked and touching a black and white wire together.
  • If you do not find the problem, repeat the process for all the outlets in the circuit.
  • Check for a Ground Fault condition (see next section).

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