A breaker is an electrical switch designed to protect the electrical circuits in your home from damage caused by an electrical overload or a short circuit. Breakers typically look like thick black light switches and can be found in the main electrical panel for your home.
A breaker panel is usually gray in colour and may have a door to cover it. Most breaker panels are located in your basement's utility room or inside your home close to your power meter.
- When the breaker is in the ON (Closed) position, electricity is flowing to that section of you home.
- When it's in the OFF (Open) position, the electrical circuit is broken and no power is reaching that section of your home.
Why does a breaker 'flip' or switch to the off position?
When a breaker detects a problem, like having too many appliances plugged into an outlet or a short circuit, it switches to the OFF position and immediately stops the flow of electricity. In order to re-start the flow of electricity, the breaker needs to be manually switched to the ON position. Prior to doing so, all light switches should be turned off and all appliances unplugged in the rooms that have lost power.
Note: Some older homes may have fuses instead of breakers, which must be replaced after they've been overloaded.
How to reset your breaker or breaker panel
If your breaker has switched out of the ON position, turn it to the OFF position and then back ON.
If your power is still not restored, try resetting your breaker panel by following these steps:
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- Switch every breaker to the OFF position, including the main (double switch) breaker usually located at the top of the panel.
- Wait about 10 seconds and turn the main breaker to the ON position. You should hear a click when it goes into place.
- Switch each of the individual breakers to the ON position, one at a time. The breakers can be a little stiff, so ensure that you hear a click when you flip the breaker, indicating that it is ON and the electrical circuit is closed.
- If your power still doesn't come back on, call our Power Emergency line.
Important: When resetting a breaker, use only one hand and stand to the side to avoid electrical arcing if the breaker malfunctions. If a breaker continues to trip, call an electrician.
Note: Electrical systems can be dangerous. If you are unsure of your abilities, call an electrician.
Who to contact if you experience breaker trouble
If you're having trouble with the breaker panel in your home, contact an electrician to do the repairs. If a power outage persists but your panel is in working order, report the problem by calling our 24-hour emergency.