15 March, 2022

How To Test A Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers monitor your home’s electricity flow and shut it down if there’s a risk of overload. So, when a circuit breaker malfunctions, all the safety hazards of electrical overloads will be looming over your head.

Regularly testing your breakers regularly will keep you protected from these electrical hazards. Therefore, we will examine how to test a circuit breaker and what tools you will need to protect yourself and your home.

Why Is Circuit Breaker Testing Necessary?

It’s important to know how to test a circuit breaker for continuity because if the circuit isn’t producing a consistent electric flow, you might lose access to all your home’s electrical appliances.

Regardless of the size or importance of the electric tool you have in your home, it is linked with a circuit breaker. If the breaker isn’t operating, you might experience an electrical overload that shuts these tools down. Even worse, severe overloads might lead to house fires.

Testing your breakers will mitigate these risks, monitoring the following parts and scanning for the following damages:

  • Short circuits in the coil
  • Wear and damage of mechanical connections
  • Insulation material
  • Integration of mechanical components

If you can ensure the reliability of your circuit breakers, you will also be able to protect the expensive equipment inside and avoid costly maintenance tests.

How to Test a Circuit Breaker with a Multimeter

Now, let’s examine how to test a bad circuit breaker before problems emerge. To begin testing, all you need is a multimeter and a screwdriver.

Once your materials are ready, turn off all appliances connected to the circuit breaker you’re about to test. Many electricians also dry the breaker box and the surrounding area to protect against electrical shock. Once the area is safe, open the breaker box with your screwdriver, turn the breaker on, and set your multimeter to ‘read voltage.

Switch the multimeter to the ‘AC Volts’ setting and touch the red multimeter prong to the terminal screw. The screw should be on the right side of the panel, connected with a black wire. Then, touch the black prong to the grounded box and read the results.

The breaker is faulty if there is no voltage output. You can also test for voltage with a non-contact voltage tester. Follow the same procedure with the ‘ohms’ setting turned on for a resistance test.

How to Test a Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping

Why Would a Circuit Breaker Continue to Trip?

A circuit breaker tripping once signals an issue with the electricity, not the breaker. The breaker will trip to prevent damage when a power surge or excess electrical current causes a short circuit or circuit overload.

However, if the breaker trips more often or without a present issue, the breaker might be faulty.

How Do You Test a Tripping Circuit Breaker?

Testing With Digital Multimeter

Test a tripping circuit breaker easily with your digital multimeter. The process should be the same as resistance and voltage testing. If you follow the steps above and the multimeter does not display a voltage number, the breaker has a problem.

Overload Test

If your breaker repeatedly trips, it could be mean a malfunctioning overload tripping component. Test these parts by using your multimeter to input 300% of the breaker rating to each of its poles. If the breaker fails to respond, the overload components are likely malfunctioning.

Short-Circuit Test

Short-circuit tests examine whether your breaker is short-circuiting. These dangerous tests are performed in test laboratories, thus requiring professional assistance.

Why Hire Professionals?

You can easily learn how to test a circuit breaker with a voltage tester or multimeter. However, knowing what to do after finding an issue is challenging.

Circuit breaker repairs are often complex, time-consuming, and even dangerous procedures without proper training or tools. Passing those jobs to a professional electrician can save you time and stress over complex repairs. Plus, it can minimize the risk of harming yourself or your home through an electrical fire.

Professionals know the proper procedures and equipment to safely repair an electrical hazard.

ESD—Leading Market Circuit Breaker Provider

If you know how to test a circuit breaker but don’t know how to tackle your electrical problem, call Electrical Supply Distribution for help today.

Our team has helped Washington homeowners with their circuit breaker woes for years, bringing professional, accurate, affordable service to every client. There is no job too big or small for us to handle.

Schedule an appointment with Electrical Supply Distribution today at (425) 419-4167.