How to Reset Your Circuit Breaker

It happens to the best of us. Especially those of us who like to turn the space heater on while we watch t.v., charge our phone and microwave popcorn – all while our partner blow dries their hair: suddenly everything stops. If you find yourself stranded in the dark, don’t panic. Just follow a few simple steps and you’ll be back up and running in now time. *This How-To is for homes with circuit breakers – if you have an old-fashioned fuse box – check this out.

Turn Off & Unplug

As soon as the power is lost, you’ll want to shut off all of your lights and unplug or turn off the appliances you were using. There’s no point in resetting your circuit breaker if it’s going to blow again. This is especially important when it comes to heated devices such as electric blankets, curling and straightening irons and space heaters.

Find Your Electrical Panel

On the east coast, electrical panels are often in the basement or utility closets. Here in California, they’re often outside on the back of a home. It’s a great idea to locate and label your electrical panel when you first move into a new home. It’s a lot harder to find these guys in the dark.

Use Caution

It’s not hard to reset a circuit breaker, but you are dealing with electricity – and that can be dangerous. Before you touch your electrical panel, be sure that your hands are completely dry. You also want to be sure your feet are dry and that you’re standing on dry ground. If the box is smoking or sparking, DO NOT touch it. Contact your local emergency services.

Flip the Switch

If your hands are dry and your electrical panel is intact, simply look for the breaker or breakers that have switched to the off position. It’s a great idea to place a flashlight near your electrical panel so that you can see clearly. Sometimes you’ll find that the switch is halfway between on and off. In that case, switch the breaker completely off and then turn it back on again.


Your power should be restored and you can get back to using electricity…and moderation – right away.

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