My Breaker Keeps Tripping! Should I Use a Larger Size Without Risking a Fire?

You are having a quiet evening at home watching television, cruising the internet, or perhaps simply reading a book. Suddenly, the power goes out and you think to yourself “not again!” as you fumble in the darkness for the flashlight. Your breaker keeps tripping, you are wondering if you should hire an electrician to install a larger size and if you are at risk of starting a fire either way.

First, the reason circuit breakers trip should be addressed. The most likely reason you are having this problem is because you have an overloaded circuit. This simply means you have too many things drawing too much power through that one circuit at the same time. A more serious, though less likely possibility is that you have a short circuit. This is caused by a broken wire or by two exposed wires (which means the insulation is missing) touching. The least likely (yet still possible) option is a ground fault. A ground fault is similar to a short circuit, except that in this instance the exposed wire is in contact with the side of the metal box or the ground wire its self.

A professional electrician should be consulted to determine the exact reason your circuit breaker keeps tripping. In any city it should be relatively easy to contact an electrical contractor (Atlanta seems to be particularly good for this.)

If it turns out that you have an overloaded circuit and it is a common occurrence, you are regularly running too much electricity through your circuit breaker on a regular basis. This is extremely dangerous and you risk starting an electrical fire in your home or business each and every time you flick on the light switch or turn on the television through that too-small circuit. It is highly recommended that you install a larger breaker and should seek immediate help from an electrical contractor. Atlanta is host to dozens of such fires each year from people who did not take this risk seriously.

If it turns out that the problem is a short circuit or a ground fault, the larger circuit size will not assist the situation. You are not, however, out of the woods. In the case of the short circuit, you have live electricity running through exposed wires, which is a serious fire hazard that gets more dangerous the longer you wait to hire an electrician to fix it. In the case of a ground fault a fire is a less likely possibility, but unless you enjoy the way your breaker keeps tripping you should call a professional to remedy the situation immediately.

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