Troubleshooting Tips: What to Do When Your Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset

circuit breaker won't reset

If you’ve just had a light fixture suddenly shut off, it could likely result from your circuit breaker tripping. This can happen due to an overload on that particular circuit or a short circuit unraveling somewhere in its wiring network. Whatever the case, it’s important to identify why it has happened and fix the issue to reset and restore power. In this post, we will provide insightful tips and advice from experienced electricians on troubleshooting when your circuit breaker won’t reset so you can get things back up and running within no time.

Step 1: Determine the Cause of the Trip

When a circuit breaker won’t reset, it is important to determine the cause of the trip. Before attempting to reset the circuit breaker, you must first identify the cause of the trip. Electrical overloads, short circuits, and ground faults are the most common reasons for a circuit breaker to trip.

An overload occurs when too many electrical devices are connected to a single circuit, causing the circuit to draw more current than it can handle. A short circuit, on the other hand, occurs when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire or ground wire, creating a sudden surge in current. Finally, a ground fault occurs when a hot wire comes into contact with a ground wire or a grounded surface, causing current to flow through the ground instead of the intended circuit.

You can determine the cause of the trip by examining the electrical devices used when the circuit breaker tripped. If the trip occurred while using a specific device, such as a hairdryer or vacuum cleaner, that device might cause the trip. However, if the trip occurred while multiple devices were in use, an overload may be the cause.

Step 2: Disconnect the Electrical Devices

Before you go through the hassle of calling an electrician, one of the first things to try when a circuit breaker won’t reset is disconnecting the electrical devices in your home. Unplug every device and appliance connected to that particular circuit, and then hit reset again – it could be something as simple as an overcharged wireless phone charger or a hair dryer with a broken thermostat. If it still won’t reset, you may have more serious wiring issues requiring professional help. Nevertheless, disconnecting the electrical devices is an important step and should not be missed whenever troubleshooting circuits.

Step 3: Reset the Circuit Breaker

Once you have disconnected the electrical devices, it’s time to reset the circuit breaker. To do this, locate the tripped circuit breaker and switch it to the “off” position. Then, switch it back to the “on” position. You should hear a clicking sound as the circuit breaker resets.

If the circuit breaker does not reset, do not attempt to force it. It could cause further damage or even result in an electrical shock. Instead, move on to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 4: Check for a Tripped Gfci Outlet

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are specialized for protection against electrical shocks. They are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where water is present.

If your circuit breaker still doesn’t reset, check if any GFCI outlets in the affected circuit have tripped. To do this, press the “reset” button on each GFCI outlet in the circuit. If the outlet clicks and power is restored, you have found the problem. However, if the GFCI outlet trips again immediately or the circuit breaker still won’t reset, move on to the next troubleshooting step.

Step 5: Call an Electrician

If you have followed the above troubleshooting steps and your circuit breaker still won’t reset, it’s time to call a professional electrician. An underlying electrical issue may require specialized tools and knowledge to diagnose and repair.

Additionally, attempting to fix an electrical problem yourself can be dangerous and may result in injury or further damage to your home’s electrical system. It’s always best to leave electrical repairs to the professionals.


When experiencing an electrical trip at your home, taking the few simple steps listed in this article is important. We laid out the causes, what to do next to check the situation, and ultimately the importance of calling a professional electrician if nothing seems to work. With all electrical trips being different, we understand there could be more severe issues, so it’s extremely important to call an experienced electrician immediately rather than trying to troubleshoot yourself. Electrical problems can cause serious damage and risk electrocution if left unchecked. Here at Our Company, we’re always here for you if you find yourself dealing with any electrical trips or difficulties – call us anytime.