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A Step-by-Step Guide to Safely Resetting Your Breakers

When an overloaded or short-circuit trips your breaker, SCE recommends that you follow these simple steps to reset it.

If an electrical circuit overloads or shorts, the circuit breaker will trip and cut power to prevent a fire and possible electrocution. Resetting a circuit breaker is simple if you know how and will restore power to the room or rooms affected if there isn’t an outage or problem in the wiring.

  • Light Switches: Turn off light switches and unplug appliances in all rooms that have lost power.
  • Locate Circuit Breaker: Find your electrical panel and open the cover. Some homes may have multiple electrical panels located outside or within the home. Garages and storage closets are common locations in older homes.
  • Locate the Tripped Breaker: Circuit breakers are small, usually horizontal switches and may or may not be labeled (e.g., “kitchen,” “bathroom,” etc.). The tripped circuit breaker will be in the “off” position or a middle position between “on” and “off.”
  • Reset the Breaker: Move the circuit breaker to the full “off” position and then back to “on” to restore power to the affected rooms.
  • Breaker Trips Again: If the circuit breaker trips again, it could be for several reasons: too many lamps and appliances plugged into the circuit; a damaged cord or plug; a short-circuit in a receptacle, switch or fixture; or faulty wiring or circuit breakers.
  • Troubleshooting: Hire a qualified, licensed electrical contractor to troubleshoot the issue and perform repairs. An electrician may recommend replacing aging circuit breakers and electrical panels to ensure your safety and maintain reliability.

For more information on electrical safety at home, visit
SCE’s Family Safety Tips page.