My Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset- What Should I do?

What do you do if your circuit breaker keeps tripping and won’t reset?



“My breaker tripped and won't reset” is a common call that we get at Point Loma Electric. When you experience a tripped breaker or power outage in part or all of your home follow these instructions:

  • The first thing to do is to check the circuit breakers in your electrical panel.
  • Sometime it can be hard to tell that a breaker has tripped. The tripped breaker may be in the center or tripped position and but appear to be on.
  • To reset a circuit breaker, first flip it hard to the off position, then flip it hard back to the on position.


A tripping circuit breaker is doing it's job to protect your home. There is a reason it tripped and you should find out why.

  • The function of a circuit breaker is to limit the amount of current flowing on a circuit so that it does not exceed the rated level (measured in amps) of the wire and circuit breaker.
  • Most lighting circuits are only rated for 15 amps and many appliances require a 30-40 amp circuit. Kitchens and bathrooms should be on their own 20 amp circuit.
  • Breakers are supposed to trip if too much current flows through a circuit or if there is a short circuit.
  • The size of the wire run from your electrical panel to the circuit breaker determines the rating of the breaker.
  • The wiring in most older homes is not sufficient to support the electrical requirements of modern appliances.


Here are some common reasons why a circuit breaker won’t reset:

  • Overload on a circuit.
    • If there are too many lights or appliances on one circuit it can overload and cause the breaker to trip. Another cause could be that there is a faulty appliance plugged into that circuit.
  • A short circuit. If you cannot get a circuit breaker to reset, you may have a short somewhere in the circuit.
  • You may have a faulty breaker that needs to be replaced.
  • You may not be resetting it properly.
    • There are actually 3 breaker positions, “off” to the left, “on” to the right and tripped which is actually in the center. Many times people just push the switch to the “on” position and it won’t stay on. You need to push it OFF first.


If your circuit breaker won’t reset or trips repeatedly, that is symptom of an electrical problem that needs attention from a licensed electrician. If you have circuit breaker that won’t stay reset, never replace the breaker with one of a higher rating. This is dangerous and can cause your wires to overheat and could even possibly lead to a fire.



Point Loma Electric is San Diego’s Older Home Electrical Specialists. All of our licensed electricians are experienced, highly trained, background checked, screened and drug tested. You can feel confident that our electricians will quickly resolve your electrical problems. Of course we are licensed, bonded and fully insured for your protection. We have a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

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