The house I live in was built back in the 1960's. Most of the electric had been updated before home was purchased but still have some of the old light switches. I changed out the toggle switch in the kitchen with a brand new one. I replaced it with the exact same type, 15A 120V. The old one did not have a ground as the new one does. I attached the wires exactly the same way they came off and added the ground. The white neutral was on top and the black hot on bottom. The light would work for awhile then trip. I switched the white and black to see if it made a difference and it still trips, but takes longer to do so. So figuring it might be the switch I put the old one back on and it is now still is tripping regardless of which switch I put on. I even tried with the ground on and off. I also made sure that no wires were touching or that any wires were in contact with the ground. I have hit up every youtube video to figure out why this is now happening with replacing an old toggle switch with the exact same one but new. I'm boggled. I had done my research before I did anything so I wasn't going in blind. I have replaced other switches in the house and never had an issue before. Inside the breaker box above the switch that keeps tripping is a white reset button. Could anything in the box be the culprit? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • 2
    Pictures are of immense help in situations like these. Preferably pictures of the inside of the box, wiring, etc.
    – Chris M.
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:11
  • By "the light would trip" you mean the breaker for the circuit the light is on would trip? Does that circuit have any receptacles on it as well? Are any of them GFCI?
    – mmathis
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:28
  • The circuit that it's on has an arc breaker. There is another kitchen light and outlet on it and in the half bathroom the vanity lights and 1 outlet.
    – Jaclyn
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 19:38
  • Hmm, kitchen outlets really ought to be on a 20A circuit. A microwave oven could easily tip you over 15A if it's sharing the circuit with lights and other appliances. However, if that were the problem here, I expect you would have identified the kitchen outlet as the culprit for tripping issues and not the switch. It's more likely that you are getting arcs on that circuit somewhere and that's why it's tripping. My first suspect would be the bathroom lights or outlet - more humid environment is more likely to provide the necessary path for intermittent arcing to occur.
    – CactusCake
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 20:10
  • That said, if it only trips when you use these lights and not when using the bathroom lights/outlet then you may have bad connections and/or stripped insulation somewhere between this switch and the light fixture. Any possibility of having damaged the insulators at the entry point of the box itself when replacing the switch?
    – CactusCake
    Commented Jul 10, 2017 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


What you are describing is a low impact overload. If it is a 15A circuit and if it was pulling say 17A it may take 2 or 3 minutes for the breaker to heat up and trip. Some breakers do go bad basically due to overuse. Do you have an ammeter or could you borrow one to see what the circuit is actually pulling? Without amperage information it would be hard to analyze what could be wrong.

  • I will check this out. I have one around I just have to find it. We had a night light in the small bathroom and unplugged it. Once we did, it stopped tripping. I would rather have this fixed completely and be able to use the night light again too.
    – Jaclyn
    Commented Jul 11, 2017 at 19:00
  • I agree if just a little over the rating it may take up to 30 minutes for some breakers to open.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 13:47

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