Circuit breakers are an essential component of any household’s electrical system, providing protection against electrical overloads and short circuits.
However, circuit breakers can sometimes trip, causing power to shut off. In such cases, resetting the circuit breaker with the test button is a simple way to restore power without risking electrical damage or fire hazards.
Read further for detailed instructions on how to reset circuit breaker with test button. Additionally, you will discover common reasons for a circuit breaker to trip, troubleshooting tips, and maintenance practices to keep your electrical system safe and efficient.
- Resetting a Circuit Breaker With Test Button
- What You Will Need To Do
- Understanding The Process
- Troubleshooting Circuit Breaker Issues
- Tips for Maintaining Circuit Breakers & Electrical Systems
- Frequently Asked Questions
Resetting a Circuit Breaker With Test Button
1. What You Will Need To Have
- An electrical panel with a breaker test button or reset button
2. Identifying Your Breaker Type
Two types of circuit breakers come with a button for resetting: AFCI or AFDD and GFCI breakers.
- GFCI Breaker: Short for ground fault circuit interrupter, this breaker type functions to stop shocks and electric shorts.
- AFCI or AFDD Breaker: Short for arc fault circuit interrupter and arc fault detection device respectively, this breaker type functions when there are hot wires, loose connections, and dangerous arcs.
The process for arc fault breaker reset and ground fault breaker reset are the same. The reset arc fault breaker button is usually yellow while the latter tends to be red.
Here is an example of a Square D breaker with a yellow test button:
3. Importance Of Safety Precautions
Before you start working on a circuit breaker, you should turn off all the appliances and devices that are connected to it. This will keep electrical surges from occurring when you reset the circuit breaker.
What You Will Need To Do
Step 1: Find the circuit breaker panel or breaker box
In most homes, the circuit breaker panel, also known as the breaker box, is located in the basement, garage, or utility room. You can also check your home’s electrical plan to locate it. Once you find it, open the panel door to access the circuit breakers.
A tripped circuit breaker will have its switch in the “Off” position, and you can identify it by looking for the switch that is not aligned with the rest of the switches.
The breaker test button is usually located near the switch handle, and it may be labeled “Test” or “Reset.”
Press the test button firmly with your finger until you hear a clicking sound. This will simulate an electrical overload and trip the circuit breaker.
Step 4: Flip the circuit breaker back on
After pressing the test button, the switch handle will move to the “Off” position. To reset the circuit breaker, flip the switch back to the “On” position. You should feel it snap into place.
Step 5: Turn on appliances and devices one at a time
Finally, turn on the appliances and devices that you turned off in step 1, one at a time, and make sure that the circuit breaker does not trip again. If it does, you may need to call a professional to troubleshoot the issue.
Understanding The Process
The test button on a circuit breaker allows users to check whether their circuit breaker is functioning correctly.
In other words, the button is to push to test breaker/test a push button circuit breaker. It is typically labeled and in a different color. Your system might come with yellow test button or red or white test button on breaker.
When pressed, it trips the breaker and cuts off power to the corresponding outlets or devices within the home.
By doing so, it enables users to verify whether the circuit breaker protects their devices and if any electrical faults are being detected and interrupting potentially dangerous electrical surges before they can cause damage to appliances or homes.
Troubleshooting Circuit Breaker Issues
Sometimes, resetting a circuit breaker may not solve the problem, and you need to troubleshoot further.
1. What to do if the circuit breaker keeps tripping
If the circuit breaker continues to trip, it may be due to an electrical overload, a short circuit, or a ground fault.
You can troubleshoot the issue by turning off all the devices connected to the circuit, checking for loose or damaged wires, and testing the circuit with a multimeter. If you cannot find the problem, call an electrician.
2. When to replace a circuit breaker
Circuit breakers can wear out over time, and they may need to be replaced to ensure your safety.
igns that a circuit breaker needs to be replaced include frequent tripping, a burning smell, or a hot breaker panel. If you notice any of these signs, seek help from an electrician.
Tips for Maintaining Circuit Breakers & Electrical Systems
Prevention is always better than cure, and maintaining your circuit breakers and electrical system can save you money and prevent accidents.
1. Regular inspections and maintenance tasks
Regularly check your circuit breakers for signs of wear or damage, test them periodically, and replace them if necessary. Also, ensure that the wiring and electrical panels are free from dust, dirt, and debris.
2. How to keep your electrical system safe and efficient
Do not overload circuits, use surge protectors, and unplug appliances that are not in use. Also, make sure that your electrical system meets the local codes and regulations, and consider upgrading to energy-efficient devices and LED lighting.
3. When To Call A Professional For Circuit Breaker Resets
While resetting a circuit breaker can be a simple task, sometimes it is better to call a professional, especially if you are not familiar with electrical systems.
A professional electrician has the knowledge, experience, and tools to troubleshoot and repair electrical issues safely and effectively. They can also advise you on upgrading your electrical system to make it more efficient and safer.
You should call an electrician if resetting the circuit breaker does not solve the problem (aka. the test button does not trip breaker), if you notice flickering lights or burning smells, or if you can see visible damage to the wiring or the breaker panel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my test circuit breaker keep tripping?
One possibility is that you have too many electrical devices or appliances connected to the same circuit, causing an overload that trips the breaker. (If your circuit breaker is rated for 15 amps, and the current is 20 amps, then an overload will occur).
Another reason could be a short circuit.
How do I know if my circuit breaker needs to be replaced?
If your breaker switch won’t stay on and trips frequently, then it is best to replace it. Burning smells and physical signs of damage are also good indicators for replacement.
Test button not working, can I reset a circuit breaker without the button?
Yes, you can reset a circuit breaker when the test button on breaker doesn’t work or won’t reset by simply flipping it back on.
However, it is generally recommended that you use the test button first to ensure the circuit breaker is functioning properly and to avoid any potential safety hazards.
What should I do if the circuit breaker keeps tripping?
If the circuit breaker keeps tripping, it is likely due to an underlying electrical issue such as overloaded circuits or faulty wiring.
You can try unplugging some appliances or devices that may be contributing to the overload. If the issue persists, you should contact a licensed electrician to diagnose and resolve the problem.
How often should I inspect my circuit breakers and electrical system?
It is recommended that you inspect your circuit breakers and electrical system by a licensed electrician every 3-5 years, and you should test them with the test or reset button twice each year.
Accidentally pressed test button on outlet, will everything be okay?
Do not worry too much! Accidentally pressing the test button should not have caused any harm or damage to the outlet itself, but it is always a good idea to double-check by plugging in a device to make sure everything’s working normally again.
By following the steps outlined in this guide on how to reset circuit breaker with test button, you can safely and easily reset your circuit breaker.
Remember that tripped circuit breakers can indicate underlying electrical issues that may require professional attention.
If you encounter persistent or complex problems with your electrical system, do not hesitate to contact a licensed electrician for assistance.
Thomas is the Founder of Powercorecard. He is a licensed electrician with more than a decade (15 years to be more specific) of experience in the electrical industry. He has served in multiple capacities, most recently as the Chief Electrical Officer for a respected electric company. His extensive knowledge and experience are the foundation of Powercorecard, particularly his tabs on cutting edge of new technology.