How to Fix Common Home Circuit Repair Problems

If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, finding and repairing the issue immediately is important. Frequent breaker trips can indicate a dangerous problem that should be fixed immediately.

Start by turning off the power at your main electrical service panel, the breaker box, or the load center. Then, identify the circuit you want to work on.


A tripped circuit breaker means too much electricity is trying to move through the circuit simultaneously. This can overheat wiring in your home or electrical devices and cause a fire or electrocution. , the breaker automatically shuts off to stop the flow of electricity. Once the breaker is reset, it’s important to understand what caused it to trip to fix the problem.

Breaker panels are usually located in the garage or basement of your home, though they may also be in other places. Remove the cover once you find your panel and discover each breaker switch. Each switch has an ON/OFF switch that controls a different circuit in your home. To check if a breaker is tripped, flip the switch to OFF and back to ON. If the switch stays ON, then there is no problem with that particular circuit. If it trips again, the problem is elsewhere in the house or its wiring, and you’ll need to call a professional.

If you still need to do so, turn off all lights and appliances in the room or area of your home where the breaker keeps tripping. This will help you eliminate possible problems. Next, go to the breaker box and unplug all switches and outlets controlled by the affected circuit. Once you’ve finished, reset the breaker and then begin plugging in or turning on appliances and lights one at a time, waiting a few minutes between each. This will allow you to identify the device or outlet drawing too much electricity and causing the overload.

If the breaker is tripping while you are operating certain appliances, it’s likely due to a ground fault or short circuit. This occurs when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire or a live metal part of the appliance’s wiring. This is dangerous and should be fixed by a professional. If you suspect this is the issue, examine the fuses for telltale signs of damage. Screw-in fuses typically have a window to view the metal strip inside. If the fuse is completely blackened out, it’s time to replace it with a new one.

Electricity follows a specific circuit through the wires in your home, and if something causes this circuit to stray off its intended path, then a short circuit could occur. This can lead to sparks, fire, and tripped breakers. Thankfully, short circuits are relatively easy to repair. Here are a few ways to fix them:

Typically, a short circuit occurs when two bare conductors or broken insulation contact each other. If this happens, the electrical current jumps from hot to neutral and can cause a fire. To prevent this, ensure a minimum of six inches between the wiring and any metal objects, including light switches or wall outlets.

Another way that a short circuit can happen is when an appliance or light switch is plugged in with a damaged plug or power cord. This can result in the plug or cord becoming shorted out, leading to a faulty connection that can produce an overflow of electricity and cause a fire. This is why it’s important to use only trusted brands of appliances and to inspect plugs regularly for signs of wear and tear.

It’s also a good idea to remember that many electrical faults result from wires being exposed or damaged by water or other liquids. That’s why it’s important to keep your wiring dry and install surge protectors on valuable electronics in your home.

If your home experiences frequent breaker trips, it might be time to hire an electrician. This is because the tripped breaker indicates that too much electricity flowed through that particular circuit and posed a danger of overheating.

To fix this, it’s a good idea to turn off the main breaker for that circuit and unplug everything in that room. You should also remove the cover plates of suspect switches and outlets to inspect for bare wires or broken insulation. Once you’ve found the source of the problem, you can replace the fuse or reset the breaker. After that, it’s a good idea to use a circuit tracer to determine where the problem lies in your wiring, which can help you avoid costly mistakes in the future.

Some of the most common electrical problems involve damaged wires. Faulty wiring is the root cause of many home fires, and it’s a problem that can result in costly repairs or even complete loss of your household’s electronics. If you notice any of the following warning signs, turn off the power to the affected area and call a professional immediately:

Faulty connections can occur in switches, outlets, or circuit breakers. It’s especially important to take care when making connections to a circuit breaker panel because improper connection of hot wires can result in arcing.

If you see the copper core of a wire exposed, that’s another indication that the wiring is faulty. This is a sign that the insulation has been damaged, and unless it’s repaired immediately, it can lead to an expensive repair or even a dangerous house fire.

Incorrect connections can also happen when people tinker with electrical systems or use tools too powerful for the job, such as a drill. Wires in walls are often damaged when people screw fixtures into the wall without turning off the power first. In addition, the sound of cracking or popping is a clear indication that there’s an issue with your wiring.

Most of the time, this results from bad soldering and is fairly easy to fix. It would be best to shut off the power, disconnect the two wires, and clip off the excess cable insulation. Next, cut a 6-inch pigtail wire the same color as the offending wires (green if you join two bare copper grounding wires). Strip 3/4 inch of insulation from each end of the pigtail wire, then enter one end to the offending wire using a screw terminal or a wire nut. Tug lightly to make sure the connection is secure. Finally, slide a piece of heat shrink tubing over the splice and apply a bit of flux to the solder joint to help it flow evenly.

In severe cases, such as when the insulated covering has been completely stripped away, replacing the entire section of the buried cable may be necessary. If you do, be sure to use the correct gauge for underground feeder cables and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Once the replacement cable is installed, marking the splice point with a bright-colored surveyor’s tape is a good idea. This will make it easier to locate the splice in the future.

Water damage is bad news for homes, especially regarding electrical wiring. It is easier to salvage water-damaged wires if they are cleaned and dried immediately.

A major flood, such as the recent flooding in Louisiana, can wreak havoc on a house’s structure, furnishings, and electrical wiring. Sometimes, the wiring must be completely replaced after a storm or flood.

Before touching any electrical equipment in a wet area, ensure the electricity is completely shut off at the main service panel (breaker box) or load center. This is where the incoming power from the utility company is turned on and off to provide electricity to each of the circuits that supply lights, outlets, appliances, and other devices throughout the home.

Turning off the power to a wet area will reduce the chances of an electric shock and help prevent fire hazards. Using rubber gloves when handling any compromised electrical equipment is also important. This non-conductive material will mitigate the amount of electricity conducted through your body in case you get shocked. You will make cleaning off corrosion from any breaker boxes or other equipment easier.

If you need clarification on whether a circuit breaker or other electrical equipment is safe to handle, contact an electrician for inspection and repair. When working in an area with water damage, it’s important to communicate with a helper using a walkie-talkie or two cell phones so you can both identify which circuits have been shut off and where the power is not running. It is also a good idea to wear protective clothing and rubber gloves when removing and replacing fuses.

The best chance of repairing water-damaged electronics is to have the equipment professionally cleaned and dried as quickly as possible. Water damage to circuit boards begins within seconds – and the longer it is exposed, the more catastrophic the damages will be. A professional electronic repair technician will remove the board from its unit, soak it in industrial sweep frequency ultrasonic cleaners, and then use isopropyl alcohol to clean and dry the board.