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Why does my electric keep tripping?

A fuse switch that keeps tripping is usually caused by a faulty electrical item or an overloaded circuit. Locating the root of the problem is largely a process of elimination and something you can do yourself. Here we’ll talk you through how to work out why your electric keeps tripping and how to reset a tripped fuse.

How does a fuse work?

Fuses are incredibly important safety components, used in all electrical circuits. The purpose of a fuse is to blow and break a circuit (preventing the flow of electric) if a current is too high and deemed unsafe. Fuses protect electrical appliances from being damaged beyond repair and can even prevent electrical fires in your home.

There are several different types of fuses and you’ll likely use most of them somewhere in your home. Some fuses are found inside electrical appliances or their plugs. Others are found in your fuse box, in the form of an electric breaker (i.e. fuse switch) or RCD (RCD meaning residual current device – an important safety switch that prevents electrocution and electrical fires).

Tripped fuse? let’s find the problem

Sockets not working? You’ve likely tripped a fuse switch. The easiest way to tell is by locating your fuse box and seeing if any of the electric breaker switches have flipped downwards. If they have, you have either overloaded a circuit with too many electrical appliances or one of those electrical appliances is faulty. Before you flip the switch and turn your power back on, you need to work out what’s causing the problem. The easiest way to do this is to turn off and unplug all the appliances on that circuit, flip the fuse back on and then slowly turn each appliance back on one by one. If the fuse trips again, it’s a good indication that the last appliance to be turned back on is faulty.

If the above method doesn’t work for you and your fuse still keeps tripping, it is important to call a trained profession to diagnose the fault for you.

Overloading a circuit

Electrical circuits are only designed to handle a certain amount of electricity and every light you switch on or appliance you use will add to its load. If you overload them with too many devices, they will draw more electricity than they can manage and a fuse switch will trip.

Extension leads

Most people have extension leads in their homes, using 4-way bar adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket.

However, although there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so.

You can avoid overloading sockets and risk of fire by following this simple advice:

  • Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Most are rated at 13 A, but some are rated at only 10 A or less – the rating should be clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension lead. If not, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.
  • Only use one extension lead per socket and never plug an extension lead into another extension lead
  • Use a multi-way bar extension lead rather than a block adaptor, as this will put less strain on the wall socket. Some block adaptors do not have a fuse, which increases the risk of overloading and fire.