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.

General advice:
  • Modern electric circuits are fitted with circuit breakers called trip switches. If there’s a problem with your electrics, a switch is tripped and the circuit is broken.
  • All of the fuses or trip switches are found in the consumer unit or fuse box. Some consumer units have buttons rather than switches.
  • A trip switch or button usually operates because:
    - there are too many appliances on a circuit and it’s overloaded
    - an appliance is faulty or hasn’t been used properly, for example a kettle has been over-filled or a toaster not cleaned
    - water has leaked into a circuit
    - a light bulb has blown
    - there’s a problem with your immersion heater
  • Always have a torch handy in case you have a power cut.
  • If there’s a problem with one of your electrical appliances, leave it unplugged and get a qualified electrician or service engineer to check it.
  • If there’s a problem with your wall or ceiling light, keep it switched off (put some tape over the switch) and let us know straight away.
  • Make sure your hands are dry when you touch electrical fittings.


To reset a trip:

This advice is only for modern consumer units. If you have an older ‘fuse box’ type with re-wirable cartridges, don’t touch it and contact us immediately.

  • Open the cover on the consumer unit so that you can get to the trip switches/buttons.
  • Check which switches/buttons have tripped to the OFF position and which rooms (circuits) have problems.
  • Put these switches/buttons back to the ON position.


If the trip goes again, it’s probably being caused by a problem with one of your appliances or lights. You need to find out which circuit it is and which appliance on that circuit is causing the problem:

  • Check all the rooms and check 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’s a button).
  • Plug in the appliances or switch on each light one at a time until the trip goes again. Don’t use adaptors or multiplug extensions when testing. appliances.