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What Does a Red Light on Circuit Breaker Mean? (Things to Know)

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

what does a red light on circuit breaker mean

Circuit breakers are integral electrical components in our homes. They protect our household from any untoward electrical-related accidents happening. Because of this, it is an indispensable instrument to have in every building.

I have written this informative article to aid unfamiliar homeowners when their circuit breakers produce a red light within their breaker box. Mainly, what does a red light on circuit breaker mean for our home’s safety?

A red light typically signifies that a breaker has tripped. Though this is the gist, there are multiple nuances in a circuit breaker blinking red.


What a Circuit Breaker Red Light Convey


When circuit breakers detect irregular electrical flow from circuits, they tend to trip. Aside from that, some circuit breakers also convey a red light signal when an inconsistent flow of electricity is diagnosed.

  • As stated above, a blinking red light on circuit breaker signals that it has tripped due to inconsistent or other abnormal electrical flow within our circuits.
  • Or worse, a red light means that the breaker has blown due to the amount of electricity it has shielded from the main circuit connection.
  • Aside from that, red light also conveys that it is unsafe to touch. Hence, proper safety precautions should be taken while dealing with a breaker that is lighted with red. It lets us know that handling it should require utmost care to prevent electrocution and other electricity-related injuries.

Resetting a Circuit Breaker


To check if your circuit breaker is still serviceable, you can try to reset it to its original position. To do this, I had outlined the following steps for easier comprehension.

Step 1: Investigate first


Before proceeding with tampering and probing your tripped circuit breaker, I highly advise that you inspect the unit. This step helps you ensure whether the breaker is safe to touch and test.

Aside from that, investigating a circuit breaker flashing red light is helpful in determining what appliance could be causing the breaker to trip. For instance, an appliance could be overloading your tripped breaker.

On the other hand, a common cause for breakers to trip is faulty electrical connections. To determine if a faulty connection is causing your breaker to trip, you can try turning off all the appliances connected to the breaker in question. After that, reset the said breaker. If it still trips, then you may have a faulty connection at hand.

As you can see, there are many reasons why a circuit breaker might trip. In this regard, inspecting is to prevent extensive damage from transpiring in the first place.

Step 2: Push the breaker switch


Now is the time to try and reset the circuit breaker itself. Don’t worry; resetting the breaker to its original form is not that complicated.

To remove the emanating red light, you should push the breaker switch to its off position. Because breaker switches use spring-loaded mechanisms to work, you should physically push them to the off position to disengage them.

Step 3: Get the switch to the on position


Directly turn the breaker’s switch to its ‘on’position after the previous step. After this step, your circuit breaker should reset nominally, with the red light issue fixed.

Should the red light return, now is the time to remove the black wire connecting the breaker to the circuit. To do this, get a straight-tipped screwdriver and unfasten the screw holding the said wire in place.

However, if the tripping and the red light problem still persist, it may be time to try and do the steps that I have outlined below:

Step 4: Reset the breaker switch


Should the red light return, now is the time to remove the black wire connecting the breaker to the circuit. To do this, get a straight-tipped screwdriver and unfasten the screw holding the said wire in place.

After removing the black wire connecting to the breaker, do the entirety of the process from the top. Should the circuit breaker remain to trip after disconnecting it from the wire, it only means one thing: that the breaker is faulty and requires replacement as soon as possible.

Another possible scenario is that the circuit itself is faulty and compromises the integrity of the circuit breaker that’s flashing with a red light. To diagnose the issue, follow the instructions below:

Step 5: Unplug everything


Remove all the appliances connected to the circuit that’s been tripping. This is because the issue may lie in a certain appliance overloading the circuit breaker’s capacity.

If you want to be particular, you can test each appliance one by one to determine which is causing the tripping and red light issue.

Step 6: Diagnosing the circuit’s integrity


Connect the black wire once again to the circuit breaker. Reset the switch back into place. Suppose the circuit breaker stays red after disconnecting all the appliances from their outlets. In that case, the problem is on the electrical circuitry itself.

Immediately contact a trained electrician to deal with the problem. Trust me; you wouldn’t like to prolong an issue in your electrical circuitry as it could cause unmitigated electrical accidents in your home.

What Other Circuit Breaker Lights Mean

Aside from the dreaded red light, there are also other multiple lights that your circuit breaker could produce. To inform you, I have outlined some of the common light colors that your breaker could produce depending on its performance.

  • Green – A green light that there is nothing wrong with the circuit it’s regulating. That everything is nominal and that you have nothing to worry about.
  • White – Instead of green light, some circuit breakers could be fitted with a white light to signify that nothing is wrong with the circuitry.
  • Red – The main topic of this article. A red light signifies that something wrong has happened. This color corresponds to the breaker that has tripped and requires to be reset for the circuitry to work again.


As circuit breakers with a light instrument are relatively new innovations to the products, knowing ‘what does a red light on circuit breaker mean?’ can help.

Particularly, knowing the meaning behind the color of a breaker tripping could spare you the time and effort that could be wasted toying around your faulty breaker.

Hopefully, I have produced an informative article for your peruse. Don’t hesitate to reach out and comment below should you have any clarifications regarding this article. Once again, thanks for reading!

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