When people say they have a “malfunctioning circuit breaker,” it’s usually because it trips all the time.
But is that the real reason it is tripping?
Or are there just circuit issues that are causing the frequent trips?
Miniature circuit breaker (MCB) failure have causes that are as diverse as they are distinct. It’s well worth your time to note how each one affects or, worse, causes a breaker to fail. This allows you to quickly and accurately diagnose the problem and make an informed decision.
After all, MCBs play a pivotal role in keeping your electrical system safe. They trip to prevent the potential damage from short circuits and overloads. If it has gone bad, what will give you that much-needed circuit protection?
In this post, we outline the common issues in relation to miniature circuit breakers.
1. Isolated power surges cause breakdowns
These are voltage spikes caused by lightning or the presence of static electricity nearby. You may even encounter them if you overuse your extension cords or use devices that draw far more current than your circuit can handle. They happen in a nanosecond and have a negative impact on breakers.
Unfortunately, most miniature circuit breakers are incapable of handling this surge. To protect your electrical appliances from these surges, you’ll need to use a dedicated surge protector, which requires its own breaker. However, this security is not always guaranteed. Lightning, for example, can still cause damage to your breaker and appliances.
2. Wiring discrepancies are present
If you have a wiring issue within your electrical system, this could cause your breaker to trip when it shouldn’t.
Electrical wiring issues can also cause electricity to flow through the circuit even when it is turned off. Faulty wiring frequently causes electric shock and fire hazards. If you haven’t had an electrical safety inspection in a long time, you owe it to your home and family to schedule one right away.
Your licensed electrician will be able to tell you whether your wiring is safe or unsafe and what you should do about it.
Devices and outlets that do not work properly or do not turn on at all are signs of miswiring. Shocks may also be felt near light switches and receptacles.
Furthermore, if you notice a strange odour or discoloration near your electrical outlets, turn off power to the circuit at the breaker box and do not turn it back on until a qualified electrician has had a chance to inspect it. Burning plastic and electrical components can produce a sulfuric, rotten egg-like odour.
3. Short circuits have occurred
If electricity deviates from its intended path, a short circuit occurs. Currents running on a hot wire, for example, may suddenly enter a neutral one.
What makes this so dangerous? The overall resistance drops almost instantly. When resistance decreases, a large amount of current flows through the unintended wire.
Anything in its path will be toasted, so the breaker will trip once it is activated. Expect it to continue tripping even after you restart it. This is why, when a short circuit occurs and there is no breaker to protect your circuits, you will frequently see smoke and even fire.
4. You’re dealing with ground faults
Grounded wires are as common in homes as they are in industrial and commercial building conduit systems. They occur when wires come into contact with materials they should not, such as metal or another ground wire. They are especially dangerous in moist environments, such as kitchens and bathrooms.
In general, these faults resemble short circuits. They’re also known as hard shorts because of the sudden increase in the flow of electricity caused by the resistance dramatically dipping.
5. The circuits are overloaded with appliances
Have you ever had a MCB trip because you turned on too many devices and appliances? That is how a circuit overload usually occurs. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve experienced this at least once in your life, as it’s the most common cause of circuit failure.
The main reason breakers do this is because of the heat. When it reaches that point, the flow of electricity is immediately stopped. The good news is that this problem rarely causes permanent damage to the MCB.
For more information on miniature circuit breakers, you can read through our blog here. You can also contact consultants with several years of experience in the field, who would be happy to help. Precision Electricals, an MCB manufacturer, has several people who can recommend and offer your company good deals on buying MCBs in bulk.