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Why Electrical Outlets Trip The Circuit Breaker

My 20 amp breaker which serves 7 wall outlets continues to trip without any reason…


Why Electrical Outlets Trip The Circuit Breaker
Background: Roger, a Homeowner from Gouldsboro PA

Question: My 20 amp breaker which serves 7 wall outlets continues to trip without any reason. It can be reset and it may trip immediately, 10 minutes later or several days or even a month later. 4 outlets are used on regular basis. None are heating or cooling units A TV, clock radio and two lamps used periodically.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Roger. I would check every device that is plugged into these outlets. I suspect an intermittent short or failing electronic component. Aside from that a complete circuit analysis would be advised.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

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Circuit Breakers
House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers

Electrical Outlets

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Circuit Breaker

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2 Responses to “Why Electrical Outlets Trip The Circuit Breaker”
  1. Stephen says:

    We have a circuit breaker for outlets and lights that trips overnight when nothing is turned on!
    In the morning when we wake up the breaker is tripped. Sometimes during the day the circuit problem mysteriously is resolved which allows us to reset the breaker. After resetting the breaker we can use the living room lights and TV, and the garage which is also on this circuit.
    What can cause the breaker to trip when little or no power is being used? What can change during the day that allows the breaker to be reset?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Stephen,
      There are a few things that may cause a circuit breaker to trip at night:
      Moisture or water that may create a direct short to earth ground, or to other conductors of the circuit.
      Nocturnal critters that may chew on electrical wiring and cause an electrical short.
      An uninvited guest who is tapping onto your electrical circuits or outlet and using your electricity.

      Because you mention that this problem corrects itself in the daytime, I would suspect there may be an area of the circuit that may be getting wet during the nighttime, and then it drys out during the daytime. If this is found to be the problem then the circuit should be made water tight using approved electric wiring methods that ensure a dry condition.
      I hope this helps,
      Dave

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