There are some people who actually don’t remember – or have never dealt with – a breaker – or breakers – that keep tripping. The reason is simple: it’s not much of a problem in new construction nowadays. But if you do have a problem with tripping breakers, there’s one thing to know for sure – you live in an older home.
Up until the late 1960’s homes were built without grounded outlets, and were generally wired to handle about 60 amps of electrical power. Today’s homes are wired at around 200 amps. In 1960 there was nothing like the electrical activity you see in homes today. Think about how many pieces of digital equipment you have going in your home right now. Mindboggling, isn’t it? Consider this, the standard equipment that came with most homes in 1960 was a TV, a radio, a record player, a toaster, a clothes washer, and an electric mixer. This is why older homes only have one outlet per room, and why you will trip the breaker if you run your blow-dryer and your coffee-pot at the same time, never mind the rest of the electrical gadgets every home has today.
If you go can’t yet afford to go through the process of rewiring the whole house and changing all the outlets so you can have the security of knowing that you can turn everything on in your home at once, here are some things that you can do to both diagnose, and help the problem of the tripping breaker:
- Make a note of what’s plugged in when the breaker trips; it’s being overloaded and you need to know what the worst culprits are and make sure they’re not plugged in and being used at the same time.
- Large appliances like the air conditioning unit, washing machine and dryer should not have anything else plugged in with them.
- Carefully check each appliance that is plugged in when the breaker trips. There may be an issue with the appliance or the wiring. Don’t use it anymore.
- Do not resort to using several power strips that are completely loaded. This is another major draw and can overburden a breaker.
- Unplug things when you’re not using them; there is always electricity being used by things that aren’t unplugged, especially:
- Desktop computers
- Laptop computers
- DVD players and VCRs
- Cable TV boxes
- Cordless phones
- Stereos and radios
If your breaker is tripping for no apparent reason, then you should definitely have an electrician in to look at it. This is the kind of thing that is probably an indication that something else is going on, or something is very wrong. Finally, know that installing additional outlets or another breaker is not a huge expense, but it’s not something you can do on your own, so give your friendly electrician a call, because we all need our toys!