multicolored circuit breaker

My Breaker is Tripping

One of the most frequent calls we get as spa technicians are tripping circuit breakers. A circuit breaker is a component in a hot tub or any electronic device that moderates the device's electric current flow. A GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter may sound like a weapon straight out of your favorite sci-fi film, but in layman's term, it is just a water-proof circuit breaker; and a circuit breaker is comparable to your car's airbag. Once things go south, your circuit breaker will break the circuit or stop the circulation of electricity on your device or appliance to save you from getting electrocuted, just like how your airbag pops out to protect you from the impact.

GFCIs do not trip for any other reason than a problem it's detecting. Here, we have listed the most common reasons why a GFCI trips.

Electrical Short Circuit

Any obstruction in the path of electricity may cause a breaker to trip. For example, a tree branch or a wire—anything that conducts electricity may get in the way and disrupt the circuit's intended flow. It causes a surge of energy to flow through the circuit to compensate for the electricity being wasted through the unknown conductors. The most common scenario we attend to is leaks causing water to interrupt the circuit's flow, which then trips the GFCI.

Faulty Wiring

Appliances that have faulty wiring is also a major factor that affects the intended flow of electricity. Apart from being inconvenienced by faulty wiring, it can also ruin appliances because of the insufficient flow of electricity and, worst can cause a fire to break out.

Circuit Overload

A circuit overload happens when too many devices or appliances are plugged into a circuit and get a hefty amount of electricity from the source, which the circuit breaker cannot handle. This incident seems to be more common for older homes and older appliances as the newer ones are engineered to be efficient.

For spas, the hot tub's amperage can be higher than the GFCI can handle or is rated for, which can cause a GFCI to trip.

Ground Fault

A ground fault happens when a wire touches the ground or spreads electricity through the ground via a conductor. It may be a person touching a wire (and gets electrocuted). This event can be highly dangerous, even fatal to anyone, and can also start a fire on the property.

Once you notice scorch marks, hear your GFCI make that tipping sound, or even smell something like wires burning, do not hesitate to give us a call at (520)447-0741. Our trained technicians, aided with proper equipment, will fix it for you.

Photo by: Markus Spiske