A circuit breaker will trip because of a short circuit, power surge, circuit overload, or any other electrical issue. The tripping is a good show because it confirms your breaker’s effectiveness in protecting your electronics and appliances from the damaging effects of electrical faults.
However, a circuit breaker that keeps falling whenever you plug in a device might be one of the many signs of a bad breaker, in which case you’ll have to find a licensed electrician near me to repair or replace it.
Can a circuit breaker go bad? Yes, it can. This blog will help you learn about the symptoms of a bad circuit breaker, how to identify the signs, and when to upgrade the breaker. But first, to help you understand this whole concept, you should know that a malfunctioning circuit breaker isn’t the same as a bad breaker.
So, What’s a Bad Breaker?
A properly functioning circuit breaker is a line of defense for your home and equipment during an electrical surge. However, with a breaker that has gone rogue, this would be impossible, as it won’t trip.
And this puts your home’s safety at stake. Thus, you should call up an electrician near me to fix the issue as soon as possible.
How Can I Tell If My Circuit Breaker Is Bad?
There are many warning signs to watch out for if you suspect something is up with your circuit breaker. Some of the common symptoms of a bad breaker that calls for the immediate attention of an electrician near me include:
- Burning Smell in the Home
When a circuit breaker goes bad, the wires and insulation overheat, producing a burning smell. Try sniffing around your electrical panel to see if there’s any burning odor coming out of it. Suppose you get any sense of something burning. In that case, shut off the power supply to the house immediately and contact an electrician near me.
- Breakers that are Hot to Touch
Are your circuit breakers hot to the touch? If yes, you’re likely dealing with a bad breaker. The hotness is caused by the same heat that brings about the burning smell. Call a qualified electrician near me for help without delay.
- Circuit Breaker Trips Frequently
Even though frequent tripping is a sign of a faulty circuit breaker, it doesn’t necessarily mean your breaker is bad.
As already mentioned, there can be other causes of circuit breakers that constantly trip, including faulty equipment or faulty circuits. Call a professional electrician near me to understand the actual cause.
- Worn-out or Outdated Circuit Breaker
Typically, circuit breakers have a life expectancy of 30 to 40 years; more than that, you’ll start encountering bad circuit breaker symptoms.
Again, as it’s the case with any electrical or mechanical device, your breaker will wear out with time. When this happens, lousy breaker problems may be inevitable.
- Visibly Damaged Breaker
Overheating a faulty circuit breaker often results in noticeable damage to the panel and the breaker itself. If you observe any external damage on your electrical panel, look for other signs of a bad circuit breaker and call in an electrician near me right away.
- Circuit Breaker Fails to Remain Reset
Does your electric breaker seem like it will not remain reset for some time? Phone an electrician near me to come and inspect it for any internal wiring issues.
Bad Breaker Testing
Electricians use a multimeter to test the current level of electric components. If yours is a single-pole breaker, the multimeter must show 120 V, while for a double-pole breaker, it should be 220 to 250 V. If there’s a slight difference, that’s not a big deal. However, a significant difference indicates a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions About Circuit Breakers
This section discusses some common and random questions people ask about circuit breakers and their answers, including;
- Is It Common for a Circuit Breaker to Go Bad?
Yes, circuit breakers are subject to going bad. But it might be a common occurrence in some areas, and not others, depending on issues such as electricity overload or climate. The age of the device will also impact its functioning.
- How Often Do Circuit Breakers Go Bad?
An electric breaker will often go bad once its lifespan is over. While a circuit breaker could last up to 40 years, AFCIs, GFCIs, and other standard breakers have an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
But this differs from one case to another since there might be other contributing external factors. Hence, you should stay vigilant of signs of a bad circuit breaker and have an electrician near me who will come out to diagnose and rectify the problem early.
- How Do I Know If My Circuit Breaker Needs to Be Replaced?
A circuit breaker that keeps tripping without any electrical fault is a primary indicator of a bad breaker.
The other tale-tell signs of a bad circuit breaker include those already covered in the other section. But, you must first confirm there’s no electrical malfunction responsible for the breaker’s tripping, such as a power surge.
- Is It Necessary to Upgrade a Circuit Breaker?
The answer is yes, it is. Updating your circuit breaker will ensure you have a suitable solution for your electrical needs. If your circuit breaker isn’t upgraded, overheating due to circuit overloads can cause electrical fires in the home.
Also, if you don’t update your breaker, it can become an impediment when selling your house. Any history of an electrical emergency, say, an electrical fire, will considerably lower your home’s value.
Buffalo Electric Is the Most Reliable Electrical Service Company!
After reading the above article, it’s evident that only certified electricians can handle issues of bad breakers. Have you witnessed enough signs of a bad circuit breaker? Don’t hesitate to contact Buffalo Electric.
Our electricians respond hastily to emergencies and can give professional advice on upgrades that will ensure maximum electrical safety in your home in the most efficient way. We offer indoor and outdoor lighting, generator installation and repair, large-appliance wiring, and emergency repairs. Contact us at Buffalo Electric and experience the difference today!
If your circuit breaker isn’t working right, it’s time to replace it. But it’s recommended to make that work an electrician’s job. Unless you’ve got the relevant knowledge and experience, this isn’t a DIY project. You don’t want to risk your safety and that of your property. Contact a professional at Buffalo Electric if you need help.
See our previous blog on this topic here.
Photo By Kameleon007 at istock