A circuit breaker is a safety device that automatically switches off or “breaks” the circuit when the electrical current exceeds a certain value due to an abnormal increase of current running through the circuit. The main purpose of a circuit breaker is to protect the home from electrical surges that could result in house fires. They are especially useful for protecting electrical appliances and systems in the home such as your HVAC system, refrigerator, stove and washer/dryer.
Here are the most common signs when you have a circuit breaker that is going bad.
Tripping: If your circuit breaker keeps tripping whenever you turn on an appliance, it’s a good sign that there is something wrong. Tripping occurs when too much power enters the circuit causing the circuit breaker to shut down. If this doesn’t happen, it can cause dangerous conditions such as melting wires and house fires. Be sure to check all of your outlets for any noticeable sparks or smells to avoid starting a fire.
Nothing Works: If you’re noticing that appliances are not working when they normally would, then there could be an electrical problem in your circuit. This might cause permanent damage to the appliance, therefore requiring replacement. It can also pose potential electric shock danger to people who are touching them when they turn them on again as the circuit may be unpredictable.
Unpredictable Circuits: If you find that appliances or lights within your home turn on and off without apparent reason then this could be a sign of an electrical issue. A circuit might not always trip immediately but rather it can lead to overheating and major damage over time, which is why it’s so important to have circuit breakers checked out as soon as possible.
Here are some things you can do or check to see if you have a bad circuit breaker.
Check Your Outlets: Make sure there are no noticeable sparks coming from any outlets or sudden discoloration on them before using them. Sparks and discoloration mean that there is probably something wrong with the circuit and it needs to be replaced.
Replace Old Wiring: It’s important to note that older wiring has a higher chance of being faulty so it’s a good idea to have this checked out before a circuit blows or at the first sign of any electrical trouble.
Call an Electrician: If you think there is something wrong with a circuit in your home then it’s always best to have an electrician come in and check your circuit breaker. They will be able to tell if a circuit needs to be replaced or repaired depending on what they find during their assessment.