How to Reset a Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are designed to trip and stop the flow of current to the problem circuit in case of an electric overload or short-circuiting in order to protect the latter and any devices that may be connected to it from damage. The function pretty much explains why they are considered an essential safety component in any electrical system.

Traditionally, a fuse was used to protect the electrical circuits and devices connected to it in case of an overload or fault. It was designed to perform the task only once, after which it had to be replaced with a new one in order to restore power to the circuit.

Circuit breakers, however, do not need to be replaced after interrupting a flow of current to the problem circuit. All they require is a simple reset to resume normal operation.

Things Required:

– Flashlight


  • 1

    Before resetting the circuit breaker, you must ensure that it is safe to restore power to the circuit. In order to do that, unplug all the devices and switch off all the lights in the affected room. Thoroughly scan the room to make sure that you have not missed any device or light. Allowing dangerous conditions to exist while restoring power to the circuit can lead to costly and dangerous consequences.

  • 2

    Look for the circuit breaker panel, sometimes referred to as the fuse box. The panel may be located inside or outside your house. In some homes, there are more than one circuit breaker panels, with one of them being the main, while the others are sub-panels. Locate the correct panel and open it.

  • 3

    Point a flashlight at the circuit breaker panel to see the circuit breakers clearly. Keep in mind that each breaker can be in one of three positions, i.e. on, off and centre. The breaker that has tripped will be in a centre position and therefore that is what you will be looking for.

  • 4

    Once you have located the tripped breaker, flip it to off position, i.e. down. Then flip it to on position, i.e. all the way up.

  • 5

    Wait for a few seconds to see if it stays in that position. If it does, the circuit breaker has been successfully reset and the flow of current has been restored to the circuit. However, if it trips again, then there may be a problem with the circuit breaker or the wiring. You will need to call a qualified electrician to look into the issue. If the breaker stays in the on position, but trips again once you plug in a device, then there may be an issue with the device itself such as it putting too much load on the circuit.

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