Circuit breakers play a vital role in your home. They are a safety device that protects your home from electrical overloads. Powerful electrical currents can cause major damage and injuries, which is why all homes have circuit breakers to detect and halt potentially dangerous bursts of electricity. If you’ve been in your home for several years, you’ve probably wondered how long circuit breakers last.
The average lifespan of a circuit breaker is about 30 to 40 years. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check your breakers every once in a while. There are several signs to watch out for that can help you get ahead of a broken or outdated circuit breaker. How do you know if a circuit breaker needs to be replaced? We have created an outline of the signs of malfunctioning circuit breakers and ways to respond.
Signs Of Weak Circuit Breakers
A weak circuit breaker may not function properly and either switch off power unnecessarily or fail to cut off the power when needed. These are the main signs of damaged circuit breakers in your home.
- Circuit breaker lights flickering
- Connected electronics perform poorly
- Bulbs burn out unexpectedly
- A burnt smell coming from the breaker panel
- Melted wiring or other signs of physical damage
- Breaker trips often
- Excessive heat emitting from the breaker panel
If you notice any of these signs of defective circuit breakers, contact a professional electrician to receive support.
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Tips On Testing and Replacing Circuit Breakers
Once you’ve determined your circuit breaker may need to be replaced, the first step is to hire a professional electrician to perform an inspection and check for anything unusual. A licensed technician will take note of what individual circuit each breaker protects to prevent interfering with its function.
Next, a professional may unplug all appliances connected to power. This will help prevent damage to the appliances while testing the circuit breakers. Once this is complete, a certified technician will test the breakers in your electrical panel. If the circuit breaker fails to trip, it’s likely due to a faulty or damaged sensor. To prevent electrical issues in your house, a professional electrician will replace your circuit breaker.
5 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Electrical Panel
1. Electrical Panel Is Over 25 Years Old
Although some electrical panels can last up to 40 years, the 25-year mark is a good time to replace them. Of course, if your panel is working fine, you don’t need to act immediately. However, having a professional electrician take a look can help you figure out your next step.
2. Burning Odors
Have you noticed a burning odor near the electrical panel? This is a major red flag. What you are smelling could be electrical wires melting or scorched wood or insulation in your walls. To prevent a house fire, you may need to hire a certified electrician to replace the damaged circuit breakers in your electrical system.
3. Breakers Are Tripping Continuously
Occasionally, your circuit breaker will trip, meaning it detected and stopped an electrical surge. However, if this is happening often, you have a problem. The breaker may be tripping because it can’t adequately handle the amount of electricity it’s receiving.
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4. Lack Of Outlets That You Need
Sometimes the issue with your electrical panel is due to a lack of outlets in your home. Some panels can be upgraded to include new circuits for additional outlets. However, older panels may not be able to accommodate new circuits, which means it’s time for a replacement.
5. You Invested In a New Large Appliance
Big appliances draw large amounts of power. Your current circuit breaker may already be at capacity, so attempting to accommodate a new dishwasher or similar appliance can easily overload it. To safely turn on new appliances, you may need to first replace your circuit breaker.
Electrical Panel Upgrade & Repair Services
Protecting your home from dangerous power surges can be as easy as picking up the phone and calling our team of technicians. Our team of professional electricians in Atlanta, GA and other areas offer exceptional electrical panel replacement and maintenance services for homes. In addition, our electricians provide other types of electrical services such as wiring installation, ceiling fan installation, light fixture replacement, and whole-house generator installation. Give our skilled electricians a call by phone at (770) 852-8504 to receive help with outdated circuit breakers or other electrical issues in your house.