5 Signs You Need to Replace a Circuit Breaker
Replacing a circuit breaker can be an economical investment in protecting your home while avoiding damage to your appliances and fixtures and protecting your family. They are a valuable first line of defense in home safety, but are often overlooked as a solution to real problems. Your electrical panel is likely hidden in the basement or in a utility closet, well out of sight and thought. However, if you continue to ignore the warning signs and resist checking and replacing a circuit breaker as needed you can experience:
- Flickering Lights: How annoying is it when you’re eating dinner with the family and the lights keep raising and lowering like in a haunted house? While distracting, you figure you can live with it. That could be a big mistake.
- Poor Performance from Appliances: Your stove may bake unevenly or never seem to reach proper temperature. The dryer might shut off in mid-cycle. You may be convinced that all your kitchen appliances need to be replaced due to strange and inconsistent performance. What a waste of cash if it is simply a circuit breaker that needs to be replaced.
- Damage to Essential Lights and Appliances: When circuit breakers fail to control the flow of electricity properly you may experience bulbs that constantly burn out or a microwave that barely lasted past its one year warranty. Overheating can occur, causing lasting damage to coils and computer boards.
- Potential of Smoke, Fire and Water Damage: When too much power is drawn through a power cord, an electrical fire can result from overheating. Your home could be severely damaged by smoke, water and flame. The cost of failing to check your electrical panel for problems continues to skyrocket.
- Lower Property Value: When you experience a fire, no matter how small, the integrity and value of the property is lowered. Failing to upgrade electrical service to your home can result in a potential buyer hesitating to put in an offer. They want to purchase a home that is safe and has been maintained.
5 Warning Signs of a Failing Circuit Breaker
- Burning Smell In The Electrical Panel: If you smell a burning odor coming from the panel that means wires and insulation have become overheated and are failing to protect your home from an electrical short elsewhere. Don’t wait! Shut off the main power to the house and call an electrician immediately for emergency service.
- Breakers Tripping Frequently: A circuit breaker is designed to trip when too much power is being drawn through it to protect your entire home. If a breaker is tripping every time you turn on a particular appliance like the microwave or vacuum cleaner, the breaker may be worn out and ready to fail. An electrician will be able to determine if it’s simply a bad breaker or if you need to add a circuit to your home
- Physical Damage: If you notice scorch marks around the breaker, at an outlet or appliances are failing due to melted wires, it’s a good bet that your electrical panel and breakers require immediate service. A melted wire is one step away from your entire house going up in flames. Place that emergency call to the electrician and unplug all fixtures from that circuit.
- Breaker Will Not Stay Reset: Probably after several months of resetting a breaker, it simply won’t stay on for any period of time. The breaker has probably failed. However, your electrician will check the entire circuit to make sure further damage wasn’t done to the wiring.
- Old Age: Circuit breakers are designed to last for decades of use. However, if you have a home where the electrical panel has not been serviced in ten years or more, there’s a good chance that there are several breakers ready to fail. Having an electrician inspect your panel is a wise investment.
It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to have a failing circuit breaker replaced. When you invest in preventative maintenance on your electrical panel you will enjoy the following benefits:
- Peace of Mind: Your home is now a safe environment for your family. You will sleep better when you don’t worry about the house catching fire.
- Extended Life of Appliances and Fixtures: You can now expect your new refrigerator and cooktop to last for years, until you are ready to renovate again.
- Improved Convenience: You never realized how much easier life is when lights, appliances and electrical devices work each and every time–simply because you invested in a precautionary repair.
- Maintains Value of Your Home: Updated service to your electrical panel gives a buyer confidence they are making a good investment.