Most people do not check on their circuit breakers on a regular basis, only flipping the switch back on after their electricity tripped. In this sense, you may not know whether the circuit breaker is still functioning till it is too late. Of special concern is when repeated tripping occurs within a short period of time. Given that the circuit breaker’s purpose is to stop an electrical fire from breaking out, you could be figuratively playing with fire if you do not test the condition of the breaker after each trip.
In this article, we are going to provide simple steps for testing and checking your home circuit breaker after an emergency power failure.
- Conduct an initial check.
The first step is often an automatic response to a tripped circuit breaker, we intuitively get out a flashlight and check which switch has been flipped to an ‘off’ position. Normally, simply pushing the switch upwards will get electricity back onto the grid. This is also an indication that the circuit breaker is still in good condition.
- Determine if there is a short circuit
One of the possible reasons why the circuit breaker was turned off is the occurrence of a short circuit. Take note that when it happens, the voltage will go down to zero. At this point, you will need to trace the source of the short circuit. Necessary tools for this includes: lineman’s pliers, soldering iron, utility knife, short circuit detector and fuse socket connector kit. Some guess work is involved here, if you are unable to rectify the short circuit, you should engage the assistance of a professional electrician.
- Test the panel
Testing the panel requires some skills and expertise in electronics. If you believe that you do not possess these, then make sure to keep yourself away from the circuit breaker. Do not touch the wiring as there are high risks involved. Instead, call an electrician who can help you with it. These are the options available for testing the panel:
- Voltmeter – This is used to measure the voltage. If it shows voltage, it means that the breaker is fine and only the board is destroyed. However, if no voltage is displayed, the breaker is completely damaged. In such case, you may need to replace circuit breaker.
- Change wiring – This simply refers to the method of moving the wire and connecting it to another breaker. The purpose of doing so is to see if the wire still works. Keep in mind that in moving wires, the circuit breakers which they are attached to must be turned off.
- Ohm Meter – The final test available for you is the Ohm Meter, which measures the amount of electrical resistance. This device may be difficult to use accurately, as such be sure to ask the electrician to perform the test for you.
Always remember that the circuit breaker is one of the most important items in your house that you have to check on a regular basis. Make sure to find time to check its condition to avoid fire hazards.