Home Maintenance

How Do You Know If A Circuit Breaker Is Bad?

Ways to check a bad circuit breaker.

The circuit breaker in your home is responsible for controlling everything electrical inside your house’s panel. Right from lamps, to appliances, lighting fixtures, electronics, and more, circuit breakers are an integral part of any home. However, just like any other element of your house, these can also deteriorate due to wear and tear. The earlier you realize that a circuit breaker has gone bad, the lesser the expenses for repair or replacement. 

There are ways to check if a circuit breaker is bad. It’s important to ascertain all these signs as even one fault could mean that you shouldn’t be using this circuit breaker anymore. It’s important to note this to keep your house safe from any untoward events related to electricity, especially if you have kids and the elderly around. As the circuit breaker controls everything electrical in your house, making sure that they work properly to mitigate risks and fire hazards.

How to tell if you have a bad circuit breaker.

Not in “reset” mode

In case your breaker isn’t in reset mode, it’s possible that a short circuit is happening or could happen. You need to get a professional to come in and check this to ensure that you are safe and there isn’t anything unexpected happening.

Smell of burning

In case there is a burning smell in your electrical panel box, then this is a clear indicator that something isn’t working properly. As soon as you realize this, shut off all your power for safety, and call in a professional to come and do an emergency fix. If you don’t get it repaired the chances of a fire occurring in your house increase.

It’s hot

If your circuit breaker within or outside the electrical panel is hot when you touch it, it once again is a sign that something is wrong. It might not only be an electrical box, but a dimmer switch that is the culprit. In both cases, it’s important to call a professional in to make sure that the problem isn’t bigger than it seems and to put everything back in order. Be aware though, if you’re the one checking, always wear rubber gloves and don’t do anything just with your bare hands. 

Damage to the box or breakers that can be seen

If you see scorch marks at the outlets, on your appliances, or within the circuit box, then it indicates clear signs of burning somewhere within. It’s prudent in this situation to shut off all your power and call for a professional. It’s a sign that the wires within are melting and there might be a fire soon. Certain cameras have thermal imaging which can let you check the source of heat, and it also lets professionals know exactly where the issue arose from. 

Breaker is tripping often

If, whenever you switch something on, the breaker also turns off, it could indicate that your breaker has gone bad or that you might need more circuits that need to be added. It’s important to call a professional so that they can check the reason and also suggest the right things to do. 

Older breaker

If your circuit breaker is old, depending on how old your home is, it might need upgrades or replacements. While circuit breakers do work for decades altogether, they may wear out due to certain external factors that speed up the process. It’s important to call a professional who can diagnose the problem. 

Sometimes, even if you move into a newer house, the breakers installed might be on the older side. In this situation, it’s important to get all your electrical outlets checked before settling in and replacing them if required. 

How will your professional replace a circuit breaker? 

1) They will check your electrical panel’s brand, and get a panel of a similar or approved brand. They will also ensure that the inside label of the electrical panel has approved circuit breakers. They might also ask for these details over the phone or ask for a picture to come better prepared for your home.  

2) They will come to your home with the correct breaker for the voltage of your specifications. After this, they will turn the breaker off to remove any form of electrical current. 

3) Using pliers with insulated rubber handles, the professionals will make the terminal screw loose and pry the wires out. This will help them confirm which breaker needs replacing. They will use their fingers, protected with a glove, to pull it and remove it from its locked place.

4) At this stage, they will slide in the new breaker, and ensure that it is switched off. After this, they will make the terminal screw tight, turn the breaker on and attach the panel once again. 

Do you have a bad circuit breaker? 

From a burning smell to scorch marks, there are many signs mentioned above that are telling of a bad circuit breaker. It’s very important to call a professional in case you see any warning signs because working with electrical circuits on your own and without protective gear is extremely dangerous. There are risks of shock, electrocution, or even fatalities. It’s important to engage with trained, licensed professionals who can help you get your circuit breaker back in shape. 

Yes, it is indeed cumbersome to try to find a bad circuit breaker, but if you aren’t careful your house could be at risk of a fire or loss of electricity at large, causing you to lose your time and resources. Bad circuit breakers also increase your electricity costs and bills. Always keep an eye out for any form of warning signs, and call in a professional. 

Another way to always stay aware is by entering an annual maintenance contract that includes electrical checks as well. Hiring a professional company not only ensures that the technicians are qualified and licensed. Such experts are also insured against untoward events, protecting you from any form of liability. 

If you don’t take the right steps and get your circuits checked, you put your home, yourself, and your loved ones at risk. A simple call and hiring professionals can reduce the risks and keep you safe. 

Annual maintenance contracts at Octopus not only include managing electrical problems but also comprise plumbing maintenance, repainting, and Air Conditioner Repair. As such, your house is fortified against breakdowns and replacements throughout the year. For more information, reach out to our toll-free number 800 3993, and our representative will be happy to answer your queries. 

Share and Enjoy !

Shares