Reasons Why The Generator Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping 

Circuit breaker

 When you have an adverse weather event heading your way, and you are expecting a prolonged power outage, the first thing you want to ensure is that your backup generator is fully ready to handle the outage. However, like all other types of equipment, your backup generator can also develop problems. One common problem is that the circuit breaker keeps tripping. The moment you lose power, the generator kicks on, only to trip a few seconds later.  

Many times, it is because of a one-time event. You can reset the breaker, and the generator will start operating normally. However, if the circuit breaker trips again after resetting it, it may indicate an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. It could be due to overloading, a short circuit, a faulty component, or improper wiring. Consulting a professional electrician is recommended to diagnose and resolve the issue to ensure safe and reliable generator operation. 

Although it is a common problem, it can be very frustrating when trying to keep the lights on during a power outage; moreover, circuit tripping can be potentially dangerous, so you must never ignore the problem. There can be several reasons behind a generator’s circuit breaker tripping. 

Standard circuit breaker

The generator’s standard circuit breaker, just like the fuse box, monitors the amount of electricity needed for the circuits connected to the generator. The standard one detects when the power demand overload’s the generator’s capacity and breaks the circuit causing the overload.  

GCFI circuit breaker

Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GCFI) is a fast-acting circuit breaker that detects and handles power leaks that occur when the electrical current tries to ground itself using a different path than the path provided for the generator. There could be different cases of electric leakages, including worn insulation, moisture or water around the breaker, torn wires, or a defective electrical appliance. A GCFI is an important piece of equipment that shuts down the generator to prevent the risk of electric shock or fire.  

Other causes of frequent circuit tripping 


When a generator is professionally installed, it should be able to meet the electrical demands of all the circuits it is linked to. If an appliance is malfunctioning, a new appliance is added, or the load exceeds the generator’s capacity, it can cause circuit tripping.  

Bad circuit breaker 

Once you have ruled out the obvious causes of circuit tripping, you should check if the circuit breaker itself has gone bad. If you think that the breaker has lived its good years, you should immediately replace it, especially if it trips without load. Sometimes, the circuit breaker itself may short circuit. In this case, you will notice a burning odor and block spots around the circuit breaker. It is extremely important to replace the damaged breaker immediately to ensure that your generator works properly.  

Faulty wires 

While this is not a common cause of circuit tripping, you should check it after ruling out other causes. Any circuit breaker can trip if it senses that there is something wrong with the wiring. So, check for any loose connections and faulty wires that can cause the circuit to trip.  

These are some of the common causes of circuit tripping. In most cases, you would need to call in a professional to diagnose and rectify the exact cause of circuit tripping.  

Regular maintenance

Regular maintenance is the best way to ensure your generator is ready to operate efficiently when the power goes out. During scheduled maintenance, the professionals can identify and rectify the problems that can cause the generator to trip off. So, schedule an appointment with our professionals for thorough maintenance of your generator.  

Posted in

Leave a Comment