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Breaker Keeps Tripping with Nothing Plugged In? (7 Reasons)

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Last updated on August 14th, 2022 at 01:28 pm

Does your circuit breaker make you confused and pissed whenever it trips without any load responsible for that action?

A circuit breaker that continuously trips off with any particular load is often seen as a rare case of electrical malfunction.

What usually comes to mind when there’s a general power interference in the house is an electricity failure from the principal supply.

Nonetheless, since it’s a rare phenomenon, you may pretty much be baffled when this happens and wonder what causes it.

Before reaching out to your electrician, trying out a little troubleshooting won’t harm you, and it might help you save the money you would have paid for the service.

The reasons could be a short circuit, ground fault, over current, or defective circuit breaker. A few of these factors or a combination may be the reasons for the continuous tripping of your breaker.

Reasons Breaker Keeps Tripping when Nothing is Plugged in.

I have mentioned the reasons that can cause a circuit breaker to trip without being plugged in. It’s time to elaborate on all of them for deeper understanding.

#1. Short Circuit

Short circuits can lead to tripping breakers due to the enormous amounts of current flowing through the cables, which overload the outlet.

This malfunction has its occurrence in the action of neutral wires with hot or active ones.

The culprit here is usually a wiring issue in the house.

The wiring problem could be damaged wires or wires bit by animals, improper connections, or faulty electrical controls and home machines.

Short circuits can also lead to fire outbreak situations if it is not given attention as soon as possible.

 Besides the excessive hotness it brings to the wiring, tripping breakers could eventually emit electric sparks when one of its fuses is blown.

It would already be noticeable to you from the outside when you see the distribution box emitting smoke.

#2. Overcurrent

Whenever current exceeds the disparate load in a seemingly short time, overcurrent happens.

A situation of this nature is usually prominent when electrical devices such as home appliances connect through the circuits.

The worth of an electric flow in the typical state surpasses multiple times much noteworthy, so the thermal bridge rises as expected.

When this happens, the clad metal in the breaker makes it extremely hot, causing it to trip.

Other reasons such as faulty wirings, ground faults, and arc faults can also lead to surges.

#3. Ground Fault

Ground faults typically occur whenever an interconnection involves an active wire inserted in solid ground.

A large amount of electrical discharge in the grounded segment encompassing an electrical gadget returns to the electrical switch with more than enough current than the breaker can handle, which causes tripping.

Consequently, the National Electric Code (NEC) advises using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) to avert electrical and fire outbreaks.

Contrarily, if ground faults occur, it means that an electrical gadget or the circuit interrupter is faulty or damaged.

#4. A Load Could be Present on the Circuit

If you haven’t yet discovered the particular area where the tripping circuit breaker covers, there is every chance that there is a connection that is being the constant tripping that you might have missed.

You need to search the house thoroughly, leaving no space to see where there is a particular load plugged in that is causing the circuit breaker to trip.

#5. The Input Wire is Damaged

If you have made sure that you have checked the main box, the next step to take is to check for a damaged input wire which could be the suspect behind the current leakage.

If not treated as soon as possible, this fault could result in dangerous problems. One of the reasons you’re still safe is because your circuit breaker constantly tripping prevents the current leakage from escalating.

You would need to employ the services of a professional electrician to come and trace the source of the leakage and fix it for good.

It is best not to attempt to carry out this exercise by yourself. It isn’t the kind of weekend chores that most people are prepared for regarding the expertise and tools needed to carry out the operation.

#6. Immoderate Appliance Use

Each circuit breaker is designed to give out a certain amount of electrical current, measured by amps.

The breaker would most likely trip when the number of amps designated to the circuit breaker is exceeded.

This scenario often happens when you get a new home appliance like a large plasma TV that uses a large portion of electricity if you plug it into a closed circuit or at maximum current capacity.

#7. Defective Circuit Breaker

Suppose you’ve checked the possible problems mentioned above, and your tripper breaker’s issue isn’t from any of them.

In that case, there is every possibility that you might be having a fault coming from the electric switch itself.

You could confirm that your circuit breaker is faulty if the trips frequently occur, you experience burning smells, and if you see sear checks in or around the distribution box.

Once you notice that the parts of a breaker become old and hardly conduct electricity properly anymore, you should be sure that it’s no longer useful.

Furthermore, there’s a high possibility of it being damaged if the panel hasn’t been maintained by a professional for a while.

How to Rectify Your Circuit Breaker’s Problems?

After you’ve found out the problem, the following procedure is to find a solution. The circuit breaker issue would require objective and systematic solutions to solve the problem. Checking the input wires and electrical devices are a few ways of troubleshooting your circuit breaker.

#1. Check Connected Electrical Devices Properly.

You might be compelled to say that an overload does not result in such, but more times than not, there’s a forgotten electrical stove lying around somewhere in your kitchen.

It’s advisable to frequently examine the appliances often used in your home to know the number of watts they use.

There are scenarios where you would forget that you plugged specific equipment in the same socket as the tripped circuit breaker.

Thus, always ensure that you unplug your electrical devices immediately after using them.

#2. Examine Input Cables

Deteriorating input cables are also guilty of causing a breaker to trip. In addition, these wires are guilty of leaking current when they become busted, leading to the breaker’s short-circuiting.

Rectifying the origin of the voltage loss should be handled by a professional because they have the experience and every tool needed to carry it out.

#3. Switch The Breaker Back On

If there’s no load on the circuit and you overlook an issue with the input cables, it’s best to reset the circuit board containing the faulty breaker.

After this, observe for a while, and if the circuit breaker trips again, there’s a chance there’s a problem with it or that it is already faulty.

#4. Replace the Circuit Breaker

If you’ve tried to troubleshoot with these strategies and they have all failed, the only thing left for you to do is to replace the circuit breaker.

Once you decide to change the faulty breaker, you ought to consider the specifications of the new breaker you’re about to purchase.

Its size may not match the electrical panel if you don’t. However, the product is good enough to buy when it comes to quality if it passes the National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements.

You can purchase a quality Siemens Q115 15-amp Circuit Breaker and Siemens Q230 30-amp available in single and double pole types.

Notwithstanding, I recommend using a circuit breaker produced by the same company that made your distribution box.

Even though some new circuit breakers share a similar look to those at home, their differences might result in critical electrical complications if you still choose to purchase them.

Is It Possible To Change A Circuit Breaker Yourself?

Replacements can often be tedious and stressful, especially if more than one circuit breaker has issues or the main panel box has a fault. Since there are a lot of downsides in trying to change the circuit breaker yourself, you should reach out to an electrician.

Electricians have the best understanding of cases of this sort. Several, if not all, rental homes would ban you from trying to change a circuit breaker by yourself on the grounds of ensuring the safety of your neighbors.

# Safety First

Since we’re dealing with electricity, you should prioritize safety for everyone.

So, while you’re inspecting or troubleshooting your input wires, circuit breakers, or any of your appliances, it’s best to ensure you put on your safety gear for protection.

As you examine the circuit breaker, remember not to stand directly in front of it. The breaker can spark and inflict electrical burns on your body, or it could lead to more severe complications like electrocution.

Also, if you’re inspecting a place with little or no light, you need to use a torch so you’ll be able to see what you’re about to hold or touch.

In addition, if your circuit breaker problem is beyond you, do not attempt to go further by trying things you’re not sure of.

You should call a professional electrician to take over from there. Trust me, and it is better and cheaper to pay for workmanship and clinic bills.


Your breaker can keep tripping even if there aren’t any appliances in use, and it could be because there are other problems.

It’s best to troubleshoot these issues, such as damaged input wires, too much load on the circuit, and other problems.

Nonetheless, as the steps have been outlined for you, carrying out further tests on it isn’t advisable or practical.


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