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What Causes the Flipping Sound of Your Circuit Breaker

We’ve all experienced it. When suddenly all power stops working because you plugged in a hair blow dryer. You hear a loud tripping sound after putting in the last plug to the extension cord.

In these situations, at least the circuit breaker is doing its job. In New South Wales, 40% of house fires happen because of electrical faults and appliances. A circuit breaker is necessary. Have trusted electrical professionals like Sydney North Shore Electrician install one for you.

A circuit breaker functions as an interrupter of current flow. This protects your wiring from causing a house fire. It usually trips when it detects excess current flowing through the wires. When a circuit breaker trips, it makes a loud flipping sound. In the process, all the power in your house comes to a stop. Don’t worry, it means the circuit breaker is doing its job. However, what exactly causes it to have the flipping sound?

Circuit overload

One of the most common causes of circuit breaker tripping is an overloaded circuit. For example, you plug in more devices that need more electricity to work. Circuits will draw more power than it is capable of. This causes the circuit breaker to trip when too much amperage is flowing in the circuits. Then, the circuit stops working. That’s when you hear the flipping sounds coming off the circuit breaker. 

Short circuit

A short circuit can cause the circuit breaker to flip too. When a hot wire comes in contact with a neutral wire, there will be a more current flow coming from the contact. At this point, too much current causes an overload in the circuit. Then, the circuit breaker comes into work. It will produce the flip sound which signifies amperage overflow in the circuit.

Ground fault

A ground fault occurs when a hot wire comes into contact with a ground wire. This another kind of short circuit that happens more between ground wires or metal box. Ground faults can decrease reduction in resistance, allowing too much power to flow. This is where the Ground Fault Current Interrupter (GFCI) comes in. GFCIs are circuit breakers that trip like normal circuit breakers do. 

Arc fault

Arc faults are also another cause of circuit breakers flipping. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters are another kind of circuit breaker. Unlike circuit breakers, Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) are preventive devices. They can detect early any current fluctuations that may lead to short circuits and ground faults. When connection points in wiring connections experience any issues, the AFCI already trips. This can prevent any future possibility of house fires caused by gradual damage in the wires. 

Old circuit breaker

Sometimes, age and wearing out does its toll on a circuit breaker. When the circuit breakers in your home become old, it will sometimes malfunction. When this happens, the circuit breaker involuntarily flips off even if there isn’t an overload of electricity passing around. This is more normal for older properties and infrastructure. With age comes wear out from the constant use. For this, replace your circuit breaker to a new one.

External weather forces

External weather conditions can cause the circuit breaker to trip. Lightning storms and lightning strikes can cause damage. Sometimes, current overflow happens to your system. This will trip the circuit breaker. It doesn’t normally happen, but it’s still smart to have prevention to mitigate this from happening.


There are plenty of things you can do to lessen the incidents of your circuit breakers to trip. Avoid electrical emergencies and make sure you practise proper electrical safety tips at home. Always invest in keeping your property and your family safe by calling us. We are Sydney North Shore Electrician and we want to help you attain the safest level you want to have. We cater all sorts of electrical services just for you. Helping you install circuit breakers is one of them. Call us anytime!

Contact us at (02) 8378 2828 or book an appointment with us here.

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