Did you know that all circuits designed for home use come with a circuit breaker? The circuit breaker can go on/off to prevent damage to the devices should a current flow through the circuit higher than its limit. Most circuit breakers have a window display showing different colors, including red, green, black, or sometimes orange. But how do you tell what each color shown on the window display at a particular time means?
While black or green colored light tells you that the circuit breaker is on, red light means that your circuit breaker has tripped. Usually, after tripping, you must reset the circuit breaker for it to work effectively again. Orange light also means tripping in some circuit breakers.
Several things may cause tripping in a circuit breaker. Perhaps there’s a fault in your circuit wiring that could damage your devices, or your wiring has gotten wet. Additionally, someone may have modified your home’s wiring but didn’t get it right.
Fixing the Red Light on A Circuit Breaker
Seeing a red light every time you turn your circuit on can be irritating. Other circuit breakers will turn back on after tripping without being reset. However, you have to reset a majority of them before turning them on. Resetting doesn’t require much. You only have to push it hard to the OFF end ultimately, then push the button back on again, located at the center position.
If the breaker trips again immediately after turning it on, then truly something is amiss somewhere. It would help if you first investigated to find out what issue your circuit has before resetting it again. It’s better to be safe than sorry in such situations, so you should call a qualified electrician to investigate and fix whatever issue your circuit has.
But before calling the professional, you can first try to determine what could have caused tripping on your own. What were you doing at the time of tripping? If you were using a voltage tool or appliance at the time of tripping, then there, you have your answer.
That particular appliance overloaded your home’s circuit, resulting in circuit breaker tripping. If you’re lucky enough, a short didn’t happen. Otherwise, you may also need to replace your appliance.
How to Reset a Circuit Breaker with a Red Light?
- There’s a switch you can push back and forth on the circuit breaker. Find it, then push it forward all the way to turn it off. Doing this is pretty easy since circuit breakers have springs inside.
- Afterward, pull the switch back to turn it on again. If you’re lucky, the window will show a green light, meaning that the circuit breaker is in good shape and working again. But in some situations, the circuit breaker will trip and show you the red light again. In this case, you must remove the black wire visible in the breaker. There’s usually a screw holding it in place. Use a screwdriver to remove it completely.
- Once the black wire is out, you can repeat the same process you did in step one. That is, resetting the circuit breaker by turning it off then on again. At this stage, you’ll know whether there’s a problem with your circuit breaker or not. Tripping again without that black wire is enough proof that your circuit breaker needs replacement. It’s not working anymore, leaving all your devices vulnerable to electric shorts. This means that you urgently need another circuit breaker. But you shouldn’t just go buying any make that you find in the market. Compatibility is the key here, so get a different one of the same style, brand, and size as the dead one.
- This step highlights a different scenario where the circuit breaker doesn’t trip after resetting even without the black wire. It shows you that the problem originated from the appliance you connected, and probably a short occurred at that particular outlet. Therefore, you should unplug all the devices initially plugged on the shorted circuit outlet. The device causing tripping is probably still plugged in, and as long as it remains there, the circuit breaker will show a red light.
- Now with everything unplugged, return the black wire holding it in place with the same screw and screwdriver. Later, push the switch button forward to turn the breaker off then forth to turn it on. If it doesn’t turn on as expected, then it’s about time you hire a professional electrician. The professional will help determine where precisely the short occurred, then fix it.
The cause of circuit breaker tripping should be obvious from your appliances and electrical tools. However, if it happens consistently without an obvious cause, then the wiring in your circuit needs a proper assessment. Living with a short in your wiring can be dangerous and deadly. That’s why you should urgently call a professional to salvage the situation before it gets any worse.