How to Test a Circuit Breaker Using a Digital Multimeter?

Trip profiling is known as a way to test a circuit breaker for performance issues. The circuit breaker needs to regularly have its switching mechanisms and timing optimized to prevent tripping the system. As an essential maintenance procedure, it helps to get familiarized with the basics. 

What Is a Circuit Breaker and How to Check It?

 A circuit breaker is a safety device built to stop or minimize electrical circuit damage. Whenever an electrical piece of equipment is in danger of receiving an overflow of electricity, the circuit breaker interrupts the flow. For homeowners, learning how to test a circuit breaker is a vital part of home ownership. When the breaker ‘trips’, it is actually protecting your appliances and your home from danger. When it is in that reset position, you have to manually go outside and flip the switch to turn it back on. 

How To Check a Circuit Breaker for Homeowners?

Most homes have a clearly defined breaker box on the outside. If you have an older home, it may be in an unusual position. If you can’t find the breaker box on the outside of your home, then there is a chance it is in a low-traffic area on the inside. This includes utility closets, garages, or basements. It’s important to note the location of your breaker box in case a more serious electrical issue arises. Not only can you check the breaker for a tripped switch, but you can also turn off individual parts of the home to do normal maintenance. 

What Are the Characteristics to Determine If a Breaker Is Bad?

When you learn how to test a circuit breaker, there are three senses that matter. Sometimes smells can be a dead giveaway to a bad circuit breaker. If there have been issues with a repeated tripped breaker for multiple days, then the burning smell is the least of your worries. You can also use sight to check for physical damage to the box. A lock and strong cover will prevent most physical damage, but it isn’t uncommon to see debris find its way into an older circuit breaker box. Hearing is another sense that is helpful, but not for the reason you think. There have been multiple times where bees or wasps have made their home in or around the breaker box. It is rare to have a nest in your unit, but it is still something to check for being you get stung. Sensing any of these might be a sign that you need an emergency electrician to come and take a look

Testing Faulty Circuit Breaker

If you don’t have access to a multimeter, then it becomes more difficult to find the actual problem. Even knowing how to load test a breaker won’t be a big help without a multimeter. A simple way to test an overloaded circuit is to overload it – and yes, that sounds as bad as it sounds. If your circuit breaker trips when you turn on two things in the same room, then that is a big clue. But what if one of the appliances in the room has faulty wiring or a short? You may also run into an issue where the breaker itself has gone bad with no noticeable signs of wear. Without a multimeter, you’re going to be playing a process of elimination and wasting valuable resources.  

How To Test a Circuit Breaker with A Digital Multimeter?

A digital multimeter is the best way to go about testing circuit breakers. Voltage testing will instantly let you know when a circuit breaker is faulty. If any of the readings are below recommended standards, then you have a degrading unit. Whenever you get a zero reading, then it is most likely dead. User error during testing is possible, so make sure you know how to use a circuit breaker with a voltage tester. Since live power is needed for this method, alternative ways to test where created. Using a multimeter to test the resistance is safe, and just as accurate. Testing for resistance can be tricky, so make sure to do it in a well-lit area. 


Electrician in Pinellas County

If you’re having issues with your circuit breaker in your home or business property, call the top-rated electricians at East-West Electric for a quick repair price quote. Call us at (727) 771-9403.

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