Breaker boxes typically trigger when an electric surge large enough to take out your appliances and electronics is detected. The surge usually originates internally, from a short circuit or some other problem – like a light bulb exploding. However, it can also come from the electric system, if there’s a problem at a high voltage terminal or a power line is hit by lightning.
Before you start up the electricity again, it’s important to take a few measures to check your home’s breaker box. This is typically done to make sure that none of the circuit breakers need to be replaced and that the box doesn’t need repairs after having exposed to a voltage that’s higher than normal.
Old-school breaker boxes had you replace each individual breaker whenever something snapped. These days, a simple toggle of a lever will turn your power back on, and you can get on with your life. However, even with modern day breaker boxes, issues can happen.
Using a voltmeter, you can measure the voltage that falls on each of your breakers. Connecting the red wire of your voltmeter to the breaker terminal first, then the black lead to the neutral bar, you can measure whether the breaker has 120 volts running through it or not. Then you definitely know whether or not it’s fried. Be sure, however, to use safety gear such as insulated gloves to measure the voltage safely, and avoid allowing any of the terminals to touch your bare skin. Messing with the electrical in your home is dangerous and should be left to the electricians in Denver to inspect.
Alternatively, you can always call a reputable electrician to do all the work for you, and if you’re not comfortable working with high voltage, hiring an electrician is highly recommended.