There are a number of reasons why you could have the circuit breaker on but no power. This article will help you understand the problem better and what best steps to take before you call an electrician.
In total you could have a circuit breaker on but no power is the circuit breaker sometimes looks tripped but it really isn’t. The breaker can be in the on position and fool you. We recommend firmly using your index finger on the end of the breaker to hold it in place while you set it back to the off and then on position.
Read on as we take you through different examples.
Top 5 Reasons Why You Could Have Circuit Breaker On But No Power
- Faulty Circuit Breaker
- Broken Wire Causing No Power
- GFCI Needs To Be Reset
- Wire Has Melted Off
- Hidden Switch You Don’t Know About
1. Faulty Circuit Breaker On But No Power
There good be a very likely possibility that is the top method doesn’t work then it could be a faulty circuit breaker. We have seen this from time to time but its not the end of the world. Try flipping it back and forth a few times before calling an electrician.
If the breaker feels “spongy” and not firm then it is most likely not reset. Be sure to firmly shut it off and then back on.
More on circuit breakers here.
2. Broken Wire Causing Circuit Breaker On But No Power
The next issue could be a broken wire with in the circuit. If a neutral or hot wire comes loose over time it will cause this issue. If you have recently done renovations yourself and changed any light fixtures chances are you did not get the wire nut tight. Unfortunately if this does not fix the issue then you are probably in need of a service call.
3. GFCI Needs To Be Reset Circuit Breaker On But No Power
We see this one a lot and it can drive even the best electrician batty if you can’t find the gfci outlet that is tripped. Even though the power is back on to the breaker if the gfci has faulted then there would be no power coming out the other side of it feeding the rest of the circuit.
Gfci outlets are designed for anything “downwind” of it to be ground fault protected. Electricians often use these inline with a circuit to protect potential electrical devices that could come in contact with water. These are also used to act like a false ground in the event that you have older wiring somewhere in the house.
You can find more on gfcis here.
4.Wire Has Melted Off
In all electrical wiring over time it can become loose or have a loose connection. This causes what we call arcing. Arcing causes heat which may not necessarily cause the breaker to trip. In fact it might just melt the wire connection to the plug, light of device right off from the circuit.
If the circuit can not complete then you will have not power to it . A lot of newer devices and appliances can be power hogs especially kitchen appliances so if you already have a loose wire and it is put under load then chances are it will melt the wire off.
5. Hidden Switch You Don’t Know About
We do get a lot of service calls especially around Christmas from customers saying that they can’t get any power to their outside plugs to plug in their Christmas lights. When we go on the service call we often find that there is a hidden switch behind a door that you missed to turn on.
You know that switch everyone has one in their home. The mysterious switch that you’re not quite sure what it does. Always check it first. It may save you a service call.
6.Loss Of Power From The Utility
The loss of power from the utility can be frustrating at the best of times. It can be even more frustrating when you only loose partial power or what we call “dropping a phase”. This happens when you have loose connections on the utility line coming into the house or property.
You can usually tell by only half the stuff working in you house. A safe way to be sure is to try your 240 volt appliances like your stove. You can also try your electrical heaters.
Power from the utility comes in from the transformer as 120/ 240 volt. So if you loose one size of that then all of your 240 volt power consumers will not work as they need both lines to get 240 volt. You can place a regular outage call you your utility provider to double check it is on their end. It does not cost anything.
7.No Power To Lights
No power to lights can be a common issue as well. Sometimes it can be the switch or the light itself. If you reset the breaker and still have no power you might want to look for a faceless gfci. A faceless gfci looks the same as a regular gfci but has no place to plug anything into.
These are designed specifically to act as a false ground to the circuit it protects. Often un grounded or know and tube lighting. If it detects any difference between the hot an neutral wire it will instantly pop leaving you with not lights. These faceless gfci’s are often set in a separate box next to your panel and have a little green light. They have a reset and test button just like a regular gfci. Try this because most times this is the problem.
8. No Power to Outlets
Last week we had a service call to a customer that was having an issue with no power to plugs. Once we arrived at the home and did some investigation. We found out that he was using a large pump to clean his hot tub plugged into the outside plug.
That outside plug was connected to a gfci in his bathroom. It took us a while to find it but it goes to show when you come across stuff like this you should make notes so that you don’t forget the next time.
More on devices we recommend here.
9.Can a breaker go bad and not trip?
It’s common for people to think the breaker tripped when it really hasn’t. Breakers can be in the on position and not trip. They’re designed to resist a heavy overload of power and then, if that overload exceeds their capacity, they will trip or turn off.
The problem is that a breaker can also take a lot of wear and tear from flipping it on and off, so after some time it might not flip all the way over to the off position so you know it’s shut off. But don’t worry—it won’t do any harm to your home if you leave it like this for a while.
If you’re worried about your breaker staying on when it should be off, we recommend sliding your index finger over the end of the breaker to hold it in place while you set it back to the off and then on position. This will ensure that both ends are securely fastened and cannot move while you’re turning them on and off.
There are other signs that indicate an electrical issue with your house such as lights flickering or blowing out bulbs too quickly, but these problems could also result from faulty wiring or overloaded circuits. If you notice these symptoms happening repeatedly, we recommend calling an electrician to get things
10.What are signs of a bad breaker?
There are many signs that your breaker is bad. The first sign is that the breaker can be in the on position, but there is no power going to the circuit. A tripped breaker will have a visible gap between the two switches, and a broken one will have a completely detached switch on each side.
The breaker might also make a humming noise or spark when you switch it back on. You may also see a burnt smell from it if it’s been on for some time.
In order to tell if your breaker is bad, follow our steps below:
1) Check all of your breakers with an electrical tester
2) If they’re good but still aren’t turning on, then check the electric outlet with an outlet tester
3) If they still don’t work after testing these things, then have an electrician come out
11.Why do I have power to my outlet but nothing works?
The last thing you want is to have power in your outlet but nothing working. This can be caused by a tripped breaker or faulty wiring.
Let’s say your breaker looks like it is in the on position but the light is off. Check for any physical damage to the breaker and replace if needed. If there is no physical damage, use your index finger on the end of the breaker to hold it in place while you set it back to the off and then on position. So this doesn’t solve the problem, check for any loose wires or other types of damages in your circuit box before calling an electrician.
If everything appears to be in order, call an electrician to assess whether or not your wiring needs repaired.
12.What would cause a breaker not to reset?
Breakers are designed to be reset easily. However, there are a few things that could cause a breaker not to reset.
1) The breaker is already off and the switch is in the on position
2) The breaker is tripped
3) There isn’t any power to the breaker
4) The grounding wire isn’t connected
5) A fuse may have blown
6) The wires are touching
13.What does a blown breaker look like?
A blown breaker is a serious problem. When this happens, the breaker’s tripped and there’s no power going to the outlet. The main reason for a blown breaker is because of something wrong with the wiring or an issue with your house’s fuse box.
A lot of times, if you flip the breaker back on and off a few times, it’ll work again. If you don’t believe us and want to try that, go ahead and give it a go!
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14.How do you check a circuit breaker?
Most circuit breakers have a simple design. They will have a toggle switch on one side and a button on the other. This makes it easy to identify the two positions of the breaker.
If you’re not sure what to do, look for the breaker’s label or markings for which position is “off” and which is “on.” If you can’t find those, it might be helpful to look at your electric panel by flipping each breaker off and on to identify the correct position.
Once you know which lever is “off,” flip it over and push it with your index finger until it clicks into place. The breaker should lock in the off position.
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