Imagine: your family and friends will be over soon, you're running the vacuum, your holiday music is playing in the background, you have maybe one too many sets of lights decorating your home and dinner is in the oven. Suddenly, the house goes dark, and everything shuts off! The power is out, and your guests could arrive at any moment. You discover you've tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse. Do you know how to fix it?
It's always a good idea to know what to do in case this happens to you, especially since this is a common issue. Know how to check and reset a tripped breaker so that you and your guests won't be left in the dark.
When your breaker gets overloaded, it shuts off to prevent the circuit from receiving any additional electrical flow that could cause damage or fire. It may seem like a hassle to have to check the panel, but this switch off can prevent a lot of potential damage from happening. Follow these simple steps to restore power and get your electronics up and running again.
1. Turn off anything you had plugged in and running. Especially the last thing you plugged in because that was likely the culprit of your outage.
2. Locate your electrical panel. Depending on your home it could be in a few different places, like the basement, utility closet or kitchen. It could be somewhere dark, so grab a flashlight or use your cell phone.
3. Don't be worried to open the panel. A second layer of steel covers any of the dangerous stuff. But don't start flipping switches willy-nilly. Some breakers could be mislabeled, and flipping switches haphazardly could damage delicate electronics. If you don't feel comfortable, contact a professional to help.
4. Look at your panel for a breaker that is now in the "off" position or between "on" and "off." Some breakers even have a light that will show up if your breaker has been tripped. If it's placed in between, move the breaker to the "off" position before returning it to the "on" position. If it's already over to the "off" side, switch it on, off, then back on to fully reset it. This will restore power. If it doesn't, you may want to flip your breaker an additional time.
5. Plug one or two devices into your outlet and turn one on to test the reset breaker. If your outlet loses power again, you may be overloading the switch. Move a plug or two over to another outlet to redistribute power. Read more about the benefits of using whole home surge protectors for added safety.
If the breaker shuts off again, you might have a short in the panel. Still unable to restore power? A backup generator can be a cost-effective, temporary solution until you can contact an electrician.
The best way to maintain the safety of your home is to have a periodical electrical audit performed by a professional. A licensed electrician will be able to fully inspect your panel and outlets to identify any potential energy waste, risks or other costly electrical issues.
If you have any further questions about locating, checking and resetting your electrical panel, contact a Hiller specialist today.