Connecting with your home circuit breaker panel

Posted on May 08 2024 in Energy
Breaker Panel

By Matt Strahl

An unexpected power outage likely makes you fly to a far-flung region in your home — your circuit breaker box.

Many home circuit breaker boxes can be found in areas such as garages and basements. They are the electrical nerve center of your home; they control the flow of electricity throughout your home to the various rooms and devices that power your day. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, homes with service panels installed before 1965 likely use fuses to protect each individual circuit. Newer homes feature circuit breakers that maintain the safe flow of electricity.

When circuits are overloaded or encounter a disturbance, they may “trip” or open to interrupt the flow of electricity. The Electrical Safety Foundation reports that blown fuses in older homes require replacement when an issue arises, while circuit breakers can be reset once the potential problem is resolved. The organization adds that a tripped breaker is typically the result of too many appliances overloading the circuit, which should be fixed immediately.

When a short circuit occurs, an electrified wire directly contacts a neutral wire or the ground, causing a surge of electricity. Circuit breakers are designed to trip almost instantaneously in this situation to prevent significant damage or possibly even a fire.

Ground fault circuit interrupter breakers and outlets are used for circuits where there is water or high moisture, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or garage. Some homes have GFCI breakers in the breaker panel or GFCI outlets designed to shut off power within a fraction of a second for safety. The outlets have a push button to reset in case they ever trip.

There are steps you can take to investigate and resolve a tripped circuit breaker. Sometimes, the situation can be resolved quickly. However, if the issue cannot be found or the breaker continues to trip, contact a qualified electrician to investigate and fix the problem. — Source: Electrical Safety Foundation


  • Unplug or turn off appliances in the room.
  • Find your main breaker panel and open the cover.
  • Locate the tripped breaker or blown fuse. A tripped circuit breaker will be in the off position or in a middle position between on and off.
  • To reset the breaker, switch it to the off position and then back to on. This may restore power to the room. If the problem continues, there may be more severe issues. Contact an electrician to diagnose the problem.

MATT STRAHL is the energy advisor at NineStar Connect in Greenfield, Indiana.