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Why Circuit Breakers Trip (and Fuses Blow)

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Is the Short in the Wiring or Something You Turn On?

As mentioned before, short circuits are tougher to diagnose since the short may be in the house wiring or in something you've turned on or plugged in, whether an appliance or light fixture. Here's how to check where the problem lies:
  • Turn off all light fixtures on the circuit.
  • Unplug everything from the outlets.
  • Go the the electrical service panel and reset the breaker.
  • If it trips again immediately,the short lies in the house wiring (outlets or switches).
  • If the breaker does not trip, proceed back to the area and turn on each light fixture not plugged into the wall (i.e., fixed lighting).
  • If the breaker still has not tripped, the short circuit lies in something you are plugging into the outlet.
  • Systematically plug each item into the outlet until you find the faulty appliance or lamp and then have it repaired.

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