Re-Setting Circuit Breakers

Re-Setting a Tripped Circuit Breaker
Re-Setting a Tripped Circuit Breaker

Push to Off 1st

Re-Set a Circuit Breaker is not something we do very often, And you could make a mistake and do it wrong. You must make a HARD PUSH to the OFF Position, I suggest holding the Breaker with your Fingers because you could Push Hard enough to Pop the Breaker from its Mount. A Hard Push to the Off Position should result in a Slight Click. Once you hear the Click Push the Lever to the On Position and the Breaker will be Re-Set.

I still get calls after all the Years I was in the Business about Breakers. It seems like it's always the same thing. I always ask did you PUSH HARD to the Off Position? When these calls End the Breaker is always Re-Set, No need for a call to the Electrician.

About Circuit Breakers

The Breaker Box replaced the Fuse Box in the 1960's. I remember the Fuse Box in the Cellar when I was Growing up.

The Breaker Box of Today can be Mounted Inside or Outside the Home. Most of us just see the (on/off) Tabs that are used to Re-Set a Breaker when Tripped, they also indicate the Amperage Size of the Breaker.

The Breaker is a "Breakable Connection" of Power from the Meter to Individual Circuits or Appliances in the Home.

Breaker Design

Each Breaker is Designed to provide a certain Amount of Electricity to flow through, measured in Amps (Current), to a Circuit. The Amount will only be up to 80% of the stated Breaker Value, at that Point the Breaker will Detect a Fault and the Circuit will Shut off or Trip.

The Breaker can be Re-Set but if the Same Fault is Detected, that same Trip Action will occur.

Thermo Magnetic Type

Home Circuit Breakers are mostly Thermo Magnetic. Inside the Breaker are 2 Mechanisms that will Shut off the Power.

The Electromagnetic Trip Mechanism will trip the Breaker in a few Nanoseconds if there is a Direct short in the Circuit.

The Thermo Bimetal Switch is Slower, when the Bimetal Heats To a Overload point that Mechanism will Shut off the Power.

This Thermo Bimetal Mechanism allows High Current Draw to pass During a the Start of Large Motors like the AC Compressor without Tripping the Breaker. This Start up is sometimes referred to as "Locked Rotor".

Circuit Sizes

Lighting Circuits are mostly Single 15 amp Breakers, Wall Outlets are mostly Single 20 amp Breakers.

Range Breaker would be 40 amp Double (220 volt), Electric Dryer would be 30 amp Double (220 volt), Main Air Conditioning Breaker could be a Double (50 amp 220 volt), the Air Handler for the AC could be 20 amp along with the Disposal, Microwave, Refrigerator, Dishwasher and Gas Dryer.

For more on the GFCI Breakers and Arc Fault Breakers see Our Article Electrical GFCI AFCI Outlets.

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Credit for the Circuit Breaker used today is a combination of Patents from Edison in 1879 and Hugo Stotz an Engineer credited with the Early Thermal-Magnetic Breaker in 1924

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