Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips

Circuit breakers are designed to safeguard your electrical system by shutting off power automatically when an overload or short circuit is detected. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it is a huge sign that your system is probably experiencing electrical surges . Surges can originate from various sources like lightning strikes, power outages, or big appliances kicking on, but regardless of their origin, they are harmful to both your electrical system and the devices connected to it. This is a result of a study showing that the average household experiences about 20 a day, more than half of these being internal . Usually, internal surges are not severe, but they can cause damage over time, especially to sensitive electronic equipment.

Identifying the Source of Surges

Therefore, it is essential to identify the sources of these surges and take precautions. Large appliances like HVAC systems or refrigerators will ultimately kick on and start using a lot of energy. Knowing this, it is useful to have these systems or devices on dedicated circuits, ensuring they will not trip the breaker. For example, assume your home’s air conditioning unit goes on. The amperes of the draw multiply in a fraction of a millisecond, resulting in a surge that trips the circuit breaker if the system is not up to code or if other high-draw appliances are on the same circuit.

Implementing Surge Protectors

Surge protectors are an excellent strategy to guard your home against the harmful effects of a surge. The devices operate by controlling the voltage transferred to an appliance by blocking or grounding any higher voltages . An outstanding surge protector can protect you from losing thousands of dollars daily because they will reduce the voltage it transfers to your equipment. For example, an external surge like a lightning from a nearby strike that might potentially damage your home entertainment system can have its excess voltage cut by up to 90%.

Regular Maintenance Check

The importance of regular maintenance to avoid frequent tripping of the breaker cannot be understated. This includes checking the wiring and making sure all the connections are tight. It is also very important to have a professional evaluate your system every few years. This will not only alleviate trips from taking place but also prolong the life of your system. A case study in a residential neighborhood found that homes with a strict maintenance schedule had 30% fewer circuit breaker trips due to surge fires.

Flickering Lights

The main reason why you could notice the flickering of lights in your home is because your electrical system might be exposed to surges. This should be considered as a warning sign because your appliances or devices may be in great danger. 

Causes of Flickering

In most household cases, the primary cause of the flickering of lights is usually the fluctuation of an electric current in your home. This happens when large appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators are trying to cycle on and off and use a great amount of current taking away the voltage other devices are available at the moment. As stated, when any high-power appliance is switched on, it can require a significant current and decreases the available voltage delivered to other circuits, such as lighting. According to research, the fluctuation of voltage in most homes can vary within 5%, making the flickering very noticeable .

External Surges

Moreover, even external sources can cause the surges that later can start flickering lights. As stated, the most common examples are the strikes of lightning and the changes of voltage by your utility. These surges travel through the lines, and if not controlled, can lead to fire and leave you with significant damages.

If we are to talk about the home, the study reveals that in heavily industrialized areas or nearby high-voltage transmission lines, there can be twice the number of external surges than it is usually. To decrease the risks of causing the outer surges, special utilities or circuits should be installed in homes.

Solutions to Flickering

Generally, in order to avoid flickering due to fluctuations of voltage, surge protectors can be installed. They can absorb those differences and only then deliver the current to your devices. Especially during the renovation, you can call a licensed electrician to check and upgrade your wiring to prevent the flickering. Practical advice, given by Electrical Safety Boards, is that flickering lights can be caused by particular appliances, and the energy audit should be performed to check on power drops and address possible issues .

Unexplained Device Failure

The invisible culprit often causing failure of your electronic device is electrical surges. Such surges can entirely destroy or degrade the life of your electric appliance and cause no obvious symptoms except the failure of the device.

Common Symptoms of Surge Failures

One of the most common symptoms of surge failures is the damage of electronic components most vulnerable to high voltage levels, such as capacitors and power supplies. For example, after a thunderstorm, a multimedia device in your room may suddenly fail, never turning on again. According to statistics, more than 30% of unexplained device failures were caused by incidences of surges days or even weeks before the problem . Another example is a computer that is used permanently plugged in will often simply fail without any expression of the symptoms of the failure.

In such a case, your partner will not show the same vulnerability, remaining functioning and appearing as updated. If the effect of this thunderstorm on tubing and pouring devices is catastrophic in some cases and at least harmless in other cases, such asymmetric vulnerability is unlikely to exist.

Discussion on the Vulnerability of the Electronic Device

Thus, I would say that devices with a microprocessor or microprocess can be affected by surges, cases, and will be damaged by spikes. Although the process of degradation of the device is gradual and silent in some respects, smaller almost insignificant hits and surges will likely not deactivate the device right away, but it can reduce its lifespan significantly. For example, a study of the vulnerability of laptops to surges shows that even a laptop without obvious consequences for equipment and the operator decreases the life of its components by 15% per year if it experiences minor surges. If you want to prevent it from occurring, execute the full range of supportive measures for surge protection, such as purchasing a surge protector, installing a surge suppression device on your electrical control panel, and appropriate “earthing” for your electrical system. To be on the safe side, contact an electrical educator who is qualified to search for the vulnerability sources that can be alleviated before causing significant damage and to ask for a comprehensive assessment and modernization of the electrical system in your house.

Recent Lightning Strikes

Heavy chances are the recent lightning strikes in your vicinity are an alarming sign for reinforcing the surge protection of your residence. Among the innumerable natural sources capable of producing electrical discharge, lightning may well be the most formidable and hazardous . Indeed, bolts of lightning allow for immediate and worst-case-scenario-level destruction for any piece of electronic equipment that is not properly protected against them.

Direct and Indirect Impact

In general, lightning can affect electrical systems either directly or indirectly. Considering direct exposure, lightning bolts that physically strike an edifice or its power lines are few and far between, but they are also more insidious and deadly. Indirect lightning hits are more common, as a bolt may hit a power line, for instance, and surge through the electrical network . NWS data shows that a single lightning strike “carries 100 million to 1 billion volts and 30,000 to 200,000 amps” of electricity – more than enough to fry any piece of circuitry and set electrical equipment ablaze .

Cases of Damage

A lightning bolt struck a condominium complex in Palmetto, Florida, which is located in a region of the United States that is notorious for the high frequency of its lightning strikes. In the aftermath of the incident, the residents of the adjacent buildings experienced the failure of various appliances and electronics . Amand . Most of the victims reported that the lightning bolt struck probably as close as a meter from the power transformer that supplies energy to the units and caused a surge in the local power line . Those that were equipped with surge protectors were fine, and those that did not faced costly repairs and replacements . Therefore, to defend against lightning-made surges, surge protector devices must be installed both at the service level and at the point-of-use level . The former will deflect the most dangerous electrical impulse back towards the source, and the latter will to shield single appliances or rooms. Thus, it would be prudent for the lightweight area homeowners to have a lightning risk evaluation performed and install surge protectors approved by UL, specifically designed to withstand lightning surges. Not only do these measures protect against lightning-induced surges, but they also decrease the risk of cumulative damage from smaller, more frequent surges.

High Energy Bills

What Surges Mean

If you have ever experienced an unexpected rise in your energy bills, you may have power surges in your household. Not only do they damage your electrical devices, but these surges can also make them use energy inefficiently. Consequently, they can affect utility usage and cause your bill to rise.

The Relationship between Surges and Energy

Devices use more energy when experiencing a surge. As noted by Dekores and Roozbehani , in one’s home, power surges can cause electrical consumption to surge. To provide an example, when a surge occurs, a computer, an HVAC or other system may not be able to perform all of its functions and instead use a larger amount of energy. That is why a statistical analysis reveals a 10% rise in power bills in households with a high surge exposure frequency. Virtually, the devices do much less work while consuming much more energy.

Real-Life Example

Consider a home with a refrigerator that would experience numerous small surges daily. The owner did not know that and simply noticed that the fridge broke down less than five years later. The surge caused damage to the compressor and made it work almost non-stop to make sure everything inside stayed cold. Consequently, the monthly utility usage rose significantly.


Of course, in this case, it is advisable to act and prevent the rise in bills by installing whole-house surge protectors. They control the flow of electricity and prevent the sudden rise interfering with the normal functioning of devices, allowing them to function stably and safely. Energy audits can also help to ensure that certain devices should not be consuming as much power as they do instead of forcing you to use every piece of technology in your household.

Older Home Wiring

The risk related to electrical surges in homes with older wiring is particularly high due to outdated standards and materials that are incapable of withstanding modern demands. According to information provided in the article, “older electrical systems are often ill-equipped to handle the rapid influx of power that characterizes a surge” . For instance, if a wiring system was developed earlier than in the 1960s, it may not have a ground wire that is essential for effectively redistributing the electricity that was not used . Furthermore, the insulation might become thinner due to the exposure to time, which will be insufficient in order to protect the house from voltage rises.

The results of the study indicate that 30% of fires in homes older than fifty years can be attributed to the older wiring incapable of dealing with electrical surges . An example of an effect as an indicator of a wiring system problem is the damage of some electric appliances during a storm. In a particular study, the damaged neighborhood had houses that were built before the twenty-first century . More of these houses experienced failures of expensive electrical equipment from power surges that were counted to be less than 300V than the new ones that were constructed for the last twenty years.

The key to enhanced surge protection in a house with older wiring is an upgrade of the system included in the newly installed modern circuit breakers, and surge protectors as well as ensuring that all circuits are properly grounded . These steps will reduce the risk related to electrical surges in older homes. Experts recommend repeating the check of a modernized wiring system at least once in five years in order to prevent the high adverse effects and risk associated with older components. Many of these concerns are not necessarily linked to the surges but still will improve the quality of older wiring and protection from them.

Large Appliance Usage

The usage of large appliances at a household causes a heavy requirement for reliable surge protection. The discussed appliances, such as air conditioners, washing and drying machines, or refrigerators, are more likely to induce power risk surges in the entire system due to their overall power and size.

Generation of Surges by Household Appliances

The appliances should be accounted for due to their nature. When any of the large appliances are being turned either on or off, there is a considerable electrical damage present in the state, often referred to as a “startup surge” or “shutdown surge.” As a result, very high currents flow in the system for a very short period. It has been identified that the startup surges cause the electrical needs of a household to increase by 30 to even 50% periodically . As a result, without the corresponding protection, the device may cause another appliance to trip.

Home Wiring and Appliances

A case study emphasizes the necessity for proper surge protection if the appliance in question is a heavy-duty one. It has been analyzed what happens to homes that have incorporated the appliance discussed within their systems without any corresponding protection. While the analysis has shown that homes not using surge protectors exhibit an increased amount of electrical calls due to tripped circuit breakers and broken electronic appliances, the decisions to not implement them seem unreasonable.

Installation of Effective Surge Protectors

To provide effective protection from surges induced by large appliances, it is optimal to use two types of protectors: at the use and main panel levels. In this way, the surge generated at the use panel does not affect anything but the corresponding appliance. Furthermore, each major appliance should have its own surge protector and circuits. In sum, each device requires a surge that should work properly for the corresponding energy intensity.