5 Appliances Most likely to Trip the Circuit

If you find the power often goes out at home when you start ironing a shirt or using a hair dryer, then the cause is most likely because of the appliance you just plugged in.

The power in your home will have gone off due to tripping the circuit breaker. This is a safety mechanism that prevents your home being at risk from fires and other problems, which may or may not be covered by your homeowners insurance. The circuit breaker keeps you safe by turning off the electricity when the current is overly high. If you ignore a constant tripping circuit, then you are ignoring a larger problem.

Even though anything that is powered by electricity can create a power surge and trip the circuit breaker, some specific appliances are more likely to cause the problem than others. Professionals agree that there are five that are especially prone to tripping the circuit in a home. Find out if you have those appliances and what you can do to stop it.

Hair Appliances

Some of the biggest culprits of circuit-tripping are hair dryers, straighteners and curling irons. This is because they generate a significant amount of heat within a short period, meaning they draw a lot of power from circuits. Because so much electricity is being used, the circuit can easily trip.

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This is especially true if multiple hair dryers and similar hair appliances are used at the same time. The circuit is also likely to trip if you are using a bathroom outlet that is not on its own circuit. Many bathrooms are installed with ground fault circuit interrupters (GFI). These break the circuit at the specific outlet, which means they can easily be reset manually by depressing the blue button.

Clothes Irons

As with hair appliances, clothes irons produce heat extremely fast. This can cause problems for your house’s circuit breaker. In addition, irons are usually used in living rooms and bedrooms, which have outlets that are not rated for the same sort of power use as kitchen outlets. If you use an iron on a high setting for a long time, then it is likely a circuit breaker will trip. You can avoid this by turning off other plugged-in appliances in your home before you use the iron.

Refrigerators

Old refrigerators are prone to tripping circuit breakers. Those that are more than 20 years old are energy-hungry, so they can drain too much power when your home’s temperature rises dramatically. This can occur during a heatwave or when an air conditioner stops working.

Note: Buying second-hand appliances can save you money short-term. However, some appliances may cost more in utility costs and require replacement sooner rather than later.

When a refrigerator uses too much power, the circuit can trip. If your circuit breaker continues to have problems, then it is best to replace your refrigerator. If you still experience circuit trips after that, then there could be a ground fault or a short circuit that needs to be addressed by a professional electrician or you may need to upgrade your panel box.

New fridges can cause problems too. If a new refrigerator causes your house’s circuitry to trip, then it usually means all appliances in your home will suddenly switch off. You must then identify the refrigerator as the cause. Do this by plugging in each of your appliances one by one to see which appliance causes the trip again.

If you identify the problem as being the refrigerator, then it could mean you have to leave it turned off when you want to use other appliances. Since that is highly inconvenient, not to mention the risk of food spoilage, it is best to an electrician to solve the problem.

There are several reasons why your new refrigerator could be causing the circuit breaker to trip regularly. It could be an issue with the refrigerator’s circuitry or a short circuit in your circuit breaker could be to blame. To identify the problem, a professional electrician has to take your fridge apart to assess every circuit contained within it. If nothing is found to be wrong with the refrigerator’s circuitry, then you know there is another cause for the problem, such as the quality of your home’s circuit breaker.

Air Conditioners

Air conditioners can draw too much energy when they have to work extra hard to pull air through a dirty air filter. This additional use of energy can trip the circuit. There are also three other problems with air conditioners that cause circuit breakers to trip:

  • Not enough refrigerant in the air conditioner – The main component inside an air conditioner is refrigerant. The air conditioner heats up if there is not enough. This means more electricity is pulled, which can result in the circuit breaker tripping. If there is not enough refrigerant in your air conditioning unit, then there is a leak. Call a professional contractor to repair the leak.
  • Dirty condenser coils – Condenser coils are in the air conditioner’s outside condensing unit. When they become dirty, the refrigerant that runs through them cannot cool down. This means the air conditioner heats up, works harder to pull more electricity and ends up tripping the circuit. You can clean dirty coils with a weak stream of water. Alternatively, get a professional contractor to give your air conditioner a tune-up.
  • The fan does not work. The compressor and refrigerant cannot cool down if your air conditioner’s fan fails. This leads to the air conditioner pulling more energy, which trips the circuit. You will have to call out a professional if this happens. He or she will either repair or replace the fan.

Extension Cords

One extension cord will not trip your circuit breaker. However, if you use multiple extension cords and power strips in your home, then the chances of tripping the circuit breaker are increased. The more extension cords you have and the more you plug into a power strip, the more likely a trip becomes. Even if you only use a small number of extension cords, the breaker can trip if you overload them with too many appliances.

The simple way of solving this problem is to use fewer extension cords and strips and fewer appliances plugged into them. If you do this and you are still experiencing regular circuit trips, then there is probably another cause to blame. A trained electrician will be able to identify the problem and fix it.

Related Article: DIY Air Conditioner Repair

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