Blowing a fuse or tripping a circuit breaker is a relatively common issue, especially if you like to vacuum, listen to music and microwave popcorn at the same time. If you overload a circuit, your system will cut off the electrical flow to prevent circuit damage or a fire. Follow these steps to restore power and get those appliances going again.
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Turn off all lights and unplug a few appliances in the room or rooms that have lost power. If you recently added a new appliance to the room, like a vacuum, make sure you unplug it because there’s a good chance the new guy was the culprit. This is important because if you leave everything on and you’ve overloaded the circuit, it’s possible to blow your fuse or breaker all over again once you restore power!
Locate and open your electrical panel. It’s usually found in the basement or in a utility room. For more information about your electrical panel, read: Get to Know Your Electrical Panel.
Always use caution. Electricity can be dangerous, so make sure your hands are dry and you’re standing on a dry surface at all times when working on your electrical panel. If you’re not familiar with your electrical panel, or don’t feel comfortable at any time, contact an experienced professional to help you.
For circuit breakers: Look for a breaker that has moved from the “on” position to the “off” position, or is halfway between the two. First, move the breaker to the full “off” position, and then move it to the full “on” position. This will restore power to that circuit.
For a fuse box: If your electrical panel has fuses, check each fuse to see if the piece of metal inside has melted, or if the glass window at the top of the fuse has become discolored (usually purple or brown). That’s your broken fuse. Unscrew the broken fuse and replace it with a new fuse that is the exact same size, type and amperage of the broken fuse. Tip: The best way to ensure a perfect match is to take your broken fuse with you to the hardware store and compare before you buy.
Plug in one or two electrical appliances and turn them on to test your new fuse or reset breaker. If the outlet loses power again, it’s possible that you are using too many amps for the fuse or breaker, and need to move some appliances around. If this is not the case, it may be a sign of a more serious electrical problem, and you should contact an electrician to take a look.