How to Reset Tripped Circuit Breakers

With the weather turning warmer, many people start plugging their fans and cooling units into outlets around their houses without thinking about the potential for their circuits to become overloaded and their circuit breakers to trip. Each circuit is rated to accommodate a certain size load. When this load is exceeded, the circuit breaker literally breaks the circuit to stop the flow of electricity.

If the problem hasn’t created a short circuit, it’s easy to reset a tripped breaker and resume power flow. If you’ve never reset a tripped breaker, here’s a simple guide:

  • Unplug all of the devices that are plugged into the outlet for safety.
  • Locate the electrical service panel.
  • Find the breaker that has tripped. This breaker will be in or near the “off” position rather than in the “on” position.
  • Push the lever into the “off” position. Then push it all the way back into the “on” position.
  • Resume using electrical devices, but reduce the power load to avoid tripping the breaker a second time.

Should the breaker continue to trip, you may need to replace it. Be sure to replace old breakers with new ones with the same amperage and from the same brand. GE breakers, for example, should be replaced by GE breakers only. Replacing GE breakers with another brand such as Siemens breakers exposes the electrical service panel to performance and safety risks.