I have a 20 amp breaker that recently tripped. I tried unplugging a couple of appliances ( was running too much at that point) and resetting the breaker. I tried turning the breaker off but it did not click and feel firm in the off position like it normally would. Once I reset it, it tripped again almost instantly. Also, the lights in the home dimmed slightly just before it tripped.

Is this a sign of a bad breaker or a wiring problem?

  • 1
    What all is on this circuit that tripped? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 17 '17 at 18:24
  • Also, what make and model is the breaker in question? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 17 '17 at 18:27
  • 1
    Unplug all appliances on this circuit and try again. – Jim Stewart Dec 17 '17 at 18:30
  • To answer your question: yes that is what circuit breakers are there for. – ArchonOSX Dec 17 '17 at 18:31
  • The breaker had several appliances such as an airfryer, dishwasher, and a Keurig coffee maker which was just turned on before the breaker tripped. Only the airfryer and coffee maker were running at the time of the trip. The breaker and box are Square D. I have unplugged and retried several times with the same results. – Robert Thomas Dec 17 '17 at 18:45

Your description would indicate a severe short to ground. I would also think about changing out the breaker as this type of short may have damaged it. you need to start opening up boxes, pull out the wiring and look for a damaged wire. Once again from what you are describing it shouldn't be hard to find.

PS to all DIYlfers please do not keep trying to reset a breaker multiple times that has tripped. The only thing you can accomplish is further damage to your circuit and any appliance or device you may have attached to it. If you get a trip you should remove all portable equipment and appliances as you can. Then reset the breaker and see if it trips. If it does trip then leave it off until you can determine what is causing the trip. This advice not only has financial considerations but also has a high safety risk for starting a fire.

Stay safe in you endeavors.


Yes this sounds to me like a dead short as well. Additionally, it sounds like this short resulted from an overloading situation. I would start pulling plugs and looking for burned wires.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.