What to do if your electricity trips

Putting the electricity back on when it has ‘tripped’ off

Modern electric circuits are fitted with circuit breakers called trip switches. If there is a problem with the electrics in your home, a switch will trip off and break the electricity supply to that circuit. If your lights or power go off, it means your trip switches are working properly. You will find the trip switches at the consumer unit (or fuse box). The consumer unit is usually next to the electricity meter or near your front or back door. Some consumer units have buttons rather than switches.

Please note:

  • Make sure your hands are dry when you touch electrical fittings.
  • If there is a problem with one of your electrical appliances, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it.
  • If there is a problem with a light, keep it switched off (put some tape over the switch) and contact us immediately.

Some of the most common reasons which might cause a trip switch to operate:

  • There are too many fittings or appliances on a circuit and it has been overloaded
  • An appliance is faulty or has not been used correctly, for example a kettle has been overfilled or a toaster not cleaned of crumbs
  • A power lead to an appliance, such as a TV or hair drier, is damaged, loose or badly connected
  • Water has leaked into a circuit or spilt onto a plug
  • A light bulb has blown
  • There is a problem with your immersion heater.


To reset a trip switch:

  1. Open the cover on the consumer unit so you can get to the trip switches or buttons.
  2. Check which switches or buttons have tripped to the OFF position and which rooms have been affected.
  3. Switch off all the lights and appliances on the circuit.
  4. Put the trip switch or buttons back to the ON position.

If the trip goes again, it is probably because one of your appliances is faulty. You need to find out which circuit is being affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem:

  1. Unplug all appliances on the problem circuit, and switch off the immersion heater.
  2. Switch the ‘tripped’ switch to the ON position (if it is a button, press it in).
  3. Plug on the appliances one at a time until the trip goes again. The last one you plugged in will be the faulty appliance. Do not use adaptors when testing appliances.
  4. Do not carry on resetting the trip switch if it keeps tripping off. Please contact us.
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