I'm not sure how to diagnose or fix this issue.

I have seen it happen when nothing is on, when a few things are on, and when the heater is on. It does not appear to matter what the electrical consumption is in the room.

I live in a pretty modern apartment (the circuit board cannot be more than a couple years old). I haven't had any lights blow out or any other electrical issues nor do the lights flicker.

The board is just a bunch of switches. I talked to my landlord but I cannot recreate the issue. It happens maybe every 20-40 days.

I've seen posts like: Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping? but in these cases it appears it just keeps tripping. Mine does so randomly with a large amount of time in between.

I do not have a water heater or any other large power drains in my apartment nor do any other room's circuits trip.

  • 3
    Is it an AFCI or GFCI breaker?
    – Pigrew
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 5:10
  • @Pigrew sorry how can I determine that?
    – Tai
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 4:57
  • 1
    Examine the circuit breaker. If it has a "test" button on it, it is either a GFCI or AFCI breaker. These would be able to detect residual ground current (good for safety). But, they will sometimes trip when bad devices are connected.
    – Pigrew
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 6:37

3 Answers 3


This may not be worth spending a lot of time on. Buy a replacement and swap it in. If the problem goes away, it must have been a defective breaker.

New breakers cost between $3.50 and $40 depending on make, model, and if it is an AFCI or GFI.

Be sure to note carefully if the existing breaker is a GFI (also called GFCI)—ground fault interrupter—or an AFCI—arc fault circuit interrupter. The former is required for outdoor and wet locations, the latter for "residential family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, and similar rooms or areas."ref

Replacing a breaker is not a highly skilled operation, but not respecting electricity can be dangerous. If you aren't comfortable working around open wiring, call in a handy friend.

  • 1
    Since this is an apartment that the OP rents this is NOT something that should be done by them. The only recourse is to call the landlord and have them take care of it. Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 17:05

First try to tighten the screw that compresses the wire onto the breaker. Solution could be as simple as a loose connection. Turn off power before putting screw driver to screw.


Try to figure out what lights and outlets that breaker protects, then carefully watch what you are doing at the time it trips to see if there's a pattern.

In one apartment, the vacuum cleaer would reliably blow the breaker after a few minutes if I plugged it into a particular outlet (which was apparently already near its maximum rated draw). Switching to using another outlet was a zero-cost fix.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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