Bob Vila Radio: Resetting a Circuit Breaker

There's a lot of power in your home's electrical panel. Here's how to reset a circuit breaker if the lights go out.

The source of your home’s power is the breaker box, also known as the electrical panel or circuit breaker box. Whatever you call it, there are a few things you need to know about it.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON BREAKER BOX SMARTS or read the text below:

How to Reset Circuit Breaker

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The first is that the breaker box is not for amateurs—a lot of power comes into the box from the utility it’s connected to, and electrical shock can kill you. So for the most part, leave the panel to the pros.

But there are a couple of times when you might need to open the box. The most common is when a circuit breaker trips, causing you to temporarily lose power to a part of your home. A tripped breaker is an inconvenience, but it’s also a warning that one of your zones may be overloaded. You may have too many things plugged in or too many appliances running at once. Correct that situation before you reset the breaker.

When you’re ready to reset, open the door to the box to see which breaker tripped. You can usually spot the one that’s out of alignment with the others, and it will feel loose when you touch it. Flip it completely to the OFF position first, then set it back to ON. If the same breaker trips again, call in a professional electrician to find the cause of the problem.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.