Resetting a trip switch
If your lights or power go off, it means your trip switches are working properly. You can find out what caused the problem and sort it out quite easily.
- Modern electric circuits are fitted with circuit breakers called trip switches. If a fault develops, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken.
- All of the fuses or trip switches are located in the consumer unit. Some consumer units have buttons rather than switches. The consumer unit may be next to the electricity meter (unless the meter is in an outside cupboard).
- A trip switch or button usually operates because:
- there are too many appliances on a circuit and it is overloaded;
- an appliance is faulty or has been misused, such as a kettle has been over-filled or a toaster not cleaned;
- water has leaked into a circuit or spilt onto a plug;
- a light bulb has blown; or
- an immersion heater is faulty.
- If one of your electrical appliances is faulty, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it.
- If a wall or ceiling light is faulty, keep it switched off (put some tape over the switch) and contact us.
- Make sure your hands are dry when you touch electrical fittings.
- Never touch the electricity company’s fuse and seals.
This advice only applies to modern consumer units. If you have an older ‘fuse board’ type with rewirable cartridges, see the guidance in Fuses.
To reset a trip:
- open the cover on the consumer unit to expose the trip switches/buttons;
- check which switches/buttons have tripped to the OFF position and which rooms (circuit) have been affected; and
- put these switches/buttons back to the ON position.
If the trip goes again, it is probably being caused by a faulty appliance or light. You need to identify which circuit is being affected and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem:
- check all the rooms and note which set of lights or sockets is not working;
- unplug all appliances on that problem circuit, and switch off the immersion heater;
- switch the ‘tripped’ switch to the ON position (press in if it is a button); and
- plug in the appliances or switch on each light one at a time until the trip goes again. Do not use adaptors when testing appliances.