How to Reset a Circuit Breaker

The circuit breaker is one of the most important safety mechanisms in your home. It is an absolute essential device in the modern world. Its basic function is to interrupt current flow after a fault is detected. It protects the electrical circuit from damage caused by excess current.

Resetting the circuit breaker is an easy and straightforward job. Here’s how to do it.

Locate your breaker box

You probably already know where your breaker box is. If not, try looking for it in the laundry room, utility closet, garage or in the basement. These are the most common areas where most breaker boxes are located. Look for a gray metal box.  

Check the box

Inside the box, you’ll find the main breaker for the entire house, along with two rows of breakers. Don’t be afraid to check on the panel box. All the dangerous stuff is behind another steel door.

Find the tripped circuit breaker

The breaker trips when the current level gets too high. Oftentimes, this happens when you run one or more high amperage appliances such as space heaters, toasters or hair dryers.  When this happens, the circuit breaker flips the switch toward the off position.

If you examine the circuit breaker, you will notice that the switches have three positions – on, off, and a middle point. Locate the circuit breaker that is near the off position or not on the fully on position.

A flashlight may also come in handy, especially if the breaker is in the basement. This will make it easier for you to locate the tripped circuit breaker.

Reset the breaker

Now that you have identified the tripped circuit breaker, it’s time to reset the breaker. Turn the switch to off and wait for a few seconds. Then, flip it to on. Wait for about a minute or two. If it stays on the on position, you can plug the appliances and switch everything on. But if it doesn’t stay in the on position, we suggest that you contact an electrician. This may indicate a serious wiring problem.

Make sure that you turn off the lights and the appliances that may have caused the problem before resetting the breaker. For your safety, make sure that your hands are dry and you’re standing on a dry surface when resetting the breaker.