The photo in this article is from an inspection we did in Fort Worth a few weeks back, on an existing home. It shows a circuit breaker in the “tripped” position. As you can see, the switch is neither on, or off, and there should be no power on this circuit.
At House Exam Inspection, our policy when we find a circuit breaker that is “tripped” is to take a photo of it, include it in the report it as a deficiency, and recommend that a licensed electrician evaluate the problem and repair it as needed.
The reason? Simple: we don’t know what caused the breaker to “trip,” turning the power off to that particular circuit. A tripped circuit breaker is a clue that there is a problem in the wiring, or in the devices attached or plugged into the wiring. The safest thing to do is to pay attention to the clue we’ve been given.
If you live in a house where a breaker continues to trip, especially if you have reset it more than once, the best advice we can give you is to leave it tripped, and call a licensed electrician and have the circuit checked out and repaired as needed. It could be something simple, like a faulty breaker. Or it could be something serious that could cause an electrical fire.
Don’t risk the safety and health of your family! Stop ignoring tripped circuit breakers!
Want to know more? Post a question or comment below. Other topics you want to learn about home ownership and maintenance? Leave us a note.