Tripping electrics can be extremely frustrating whenever it happens and can cause loss of heating and hot water, disruption to work and even the defrosting of your freezer if left unnoticed.
All homes should have a consumer unit which contains RCDs, circuit breakers or fuses, normally located near the electricity meter. In the event of an electrical fault, an RCD or circuit breaker trips and power is lost. Common reasons for this to happen are:
- The circuit is overloaded with too many electrical items in use at one time
- An electrical appliance has developed a fault
- The circuit wiring has been damaged or developed a fault
Next Steps To Take To Diagnose The Fault
Try the following steps to identify the problem:
- Reduce the number of items in use: If your system has been installed correctly this should only apply if the circuit that is tripping supplies socket outlets. Try running heavy electrical loads separately. Kettles, water heaters, electric radiators, dish washers and washing machines are examples of large electrical loads. If running items at different times prevents the tripping you may need additional circuits to be installed by an electrician.
- Check for faulty appliances: To test if the switch has tripped due to a fault in one of the electrical appliances, unplug all of your electrical appliances, re-plug each appliance one by one. If the electrics trip on plugging in a particular appliance, you have identified the faulty appliance. Call an appliance engineer to rectify the fault or replace the item.
- Check for faulty wiring: If the trip switch has a reset or ‘push to test’ button (RCD) and will not reset. Switch off all the other circuit breakers in the consumer unit, then try resetting the RCD switch. If it stays on; switch on the circuits slowly one by one, it will trip when the faulty circuit is switched on. You can leave the faulty circuit switched off and switch the other circuits on. Call an electrician to investigate the circuit fault.
It is possible that one of the circuits in your house has developed a wiring fault. Wiring faults have many causes, common reasons are: water ingress from rain or a leak, rodents chewing cables, damage caused by other trades, in older installations the cables may be deteriorating. It is difficult for the average homeowner to identify these problems. An electrician will isolate each circuit and run tests to detect the fault, and will advise the best course of action.
Important: Working with electricity is dangerous. Please do no attempt to carry out repairs on your own.