A sudden power outage in your home usually leads to a trip to the basement to identify and hopefully fix the issue. Even if you know what your breaker box is supposed to look like on the inside, you might not know what trips the circuits. Below are a few of the most common reasons for this household electrical problem.

What Causes a Blown Circuit Breaker?

1. Ground & Arc Faults

Ground faults occur when a hot wire touches a grounded one. Ground faults are easy to identify since the breaker will keep tripping until it’s fixed. Arc faults are linked to energy fluctuations within a connection, which can result in sparking. Both are fire hazards, so they need to be addressed immediately. Installing specially designed circuit interrupters will prevent these issues from causing injury or damage, especially if the circuit affects a room with moisture, such as a kitchen or bathroom.

2. Short Circuits

breaker boxShort circuits are similar to ground faults since they occur when a hot wire touches a neutral one. This decreases resistance and allows electricity to flow unabated, which then causes the breaker box to trip the affected circuit. In some cases, faulty wiring, either in the outlet itself or in the device that’s connected to it, will cause shorts. 

3. Overloaded Circuits

While you may know not to overload a single outlet, it’s just as important to avoid overloading entire circuits. Straining a particular part of your home’s electrical system can cause a power outage, either throughout the house or in a specific area. If you frequently experience outages from overloaded circuits, it may be time for an electrical upgrade. Overloading is common when power consumption increases, so brown-outs and outages are more likely to occur after installing a new appliance or when using an air conditioner. 


Breaker box problems call for professional electrical assistance. Steve Hester & Sons has been helping Ward, AR, homeowners address their wiring and power issues for over 20 years. They have extensive knowledge of the effects outdated or overloaded wiring can have on a home and can fix the problems quickly. Call (501) 941-5119 to have them inspect your breaker box for potential problems, and visit them online for additional service information.