Circuit breakers are found in an electrical service panel usually located inside your home. A circuit breaker “trips” or stops the flow of electricity through an electrical circuit when it senses an overload of current or a fault. If you have fuses instead of circuit breakers, your fuse would “blow” or break when overloaded. By tripping, the circuit breaker is usually either sensing a faulty electrical device, protecting the electrical wiring from overheating which could be a fire hazard or it is protecting you from a fatal shock. Unlike fuses, the circuit breaker is not damaged when it trips, however before electricity can be restored, the circuit breaker must be reset.

Circuit breakers look like a horizontal switch and “fuses” look like a glass disc. If you open your circuit breaker box and see FUSES, close the circuit breaker box and Submit a Maintenance Request.  DO NOT change fuses.


FIRST you must take steps to ensure that it is safe to reset the breaker.  Turn off or unplug all of the devices that are plugged into the circuit especially computers. If you are not sure, unplug all appliances & devices. Make certain no dangerous condition exists before restoring power. 

Open the circuit breaker box and find the tripped circuit breaker. The circuit breaker that is not lined up with all the other breaker switches will usually be the one that has “tripped”.  It will either be in the “off” position or somewhere in the middle between ON & OFF.

To reset the breaker, push the switch all the way to the “OFF” position and then back fully to the “ON” position. You will hear it click as it snaps into the ON position. Often when you cannot reset the circuit breaker, it is because it was not turned all the way to the “OFF” position first. 

Electricity should now be restored to the circuit.  If you have reset the breaker but the circuit is still dead, you may need to check your GFCI outlet –  “Checking & Resetting GFCI Outlets” 

If the circuit breaker trips again, you need to determine the reason for the overcurrent or faulty condition by troubleshooting.


  • Usually a breaker trips because you simply have too much plugged into one outlet or multiple outlets all on the same circuit.
  • Turn off all lights & unplug everything again.
  • Reset breaker again. If the breaker trips again before you have turned anything on or plugged anything in, the problem is either with the breaker or some internal wiring – Submit a Maintenance Request.
  • If the breaker does not trip again, go back and turn on the fixed lights in the house.
  • If the breaker still does not trip again, the problem lies with something you are plugging in. Systematically plug each item into the outlet, one at a time, until you trip the breaker and identify the overload or faulty electrical device.
  • If you suspect a faulty electrical device, keep it unplugged and don’t use it until it has been either replaced or repaired and deemed electrically safe to use.
  • If you suspect an overload condition: move lamps, heaters, irons, hair dryers etc. to different outlets or a different circuit.
  • Turn off some of the devices on the circuit to reduce the load at any one time.
  • Check for loose connections, cracked or damaged electrical cords & replace if needed.
  • Check outlets & plugs: if there is a burning smell or sooty discoloration – Submit a Maintenance Request.