We tend to take our electrical systems for granted until they don’t work. When that happens – home or business – getting our electric system back to normal takes top priority. Circuit breaker repair is confusing at best because most authorities say there’s no such thing as “circuit breaker repair.” Broken circuit breakers have to be replaced.
When you google “circuit breaker repair,” you’ll get plenty of DIY (do-it-yourself) ways to fix your circuit breaker. Most experts (and homeowners insurance companies) advise: Don’t try this at home.
Reasons You Need Circuit Breaker Repair or Replacement
It helps to understand how electrical breakers are used. Circuit breakers are like fire alarms. Their job is to protect the amount of current flowing on a circuit. If it exceeds its rated level, which is measured in amps, it “trips.” That is your alarm signal.
The power goes out. You know where the electric panel is located and you know how to reset the circuit breaker. By the time you’re back in the kitchen, you hear a “pop” and it’s tripped again. Now what?
Why can’t you reset your circuit breaker? Reasons include:
- Ground fault – If a hot wire touches the copper ground wire, it’s like a short circuit. It needs professional electrician attention as soon as possible.
- Overload – You have innumerable appliances and devices charging and running in your home. Then, one morning, between the microwave popping corn, one person using a hairdryer, the washing machine on spin cycle, an electric skillet set at 350°, and the intense gamer fighting electronic battles in his bedroom, your electrical system threw up its hands and called it quits.
- Short circuit – Only your local electrician can diagnose this. A short circuit is complicated and dangerous. It can be caused by a wiring break in the circuit, a burnout in your home’s wiring, a hot wire touching another wire, or something you plugged in.
Circuit Breaker Problems: 11 Warning Signs
When your circuit breaker keeps tripping, that’s a major warning sign you need circuit breaker repair or replacement. Other signs are:
- Age – If your electrical panel is more than 20 years old it might be time for an upgrade. A lot depends on its manufacturer, how often you have power surges, and your electrical usage.
- Amperage – Older homes may not have adequate amp wiring. If you’re using every drop of your 200 amps to power standard appliances and devices, you may need more.
- Appliance – If the breaker trips every time you plug-in one particular appliance, your home’s wiring can’t handle it. You should consider an upgrade.
- Buzzing sound – A buzzing or humming noise from your panel needs professional attention.
- Car charging station – If you need one or if you have any new heavy-duty appliances upgrades, your amps may need to be upgraded.
- Electrical burning smell – If you’ve ever smelled burning wires, you know it’s distinct. You also know it’s a huge fire hazard and should not be ignored.
- Fuses – Fuses are unsafe and outdated.
- Heat – A hot-to-the-touch circuit breaker panel is a serious warning sign. In addition to circuit breaker repair, you may have wiring issues.
- Lights – When lights occasionally dim or flicker, that’s a sign you need circuit breaker repair or replacement. If it’s just one room, that may be another issue. Either way, you need to call your electrician.
- Outlet burn – Your outlets shouldn’t have burn spots, black spots, brown spots, or any odors.
- Panel rust – It might be more than showing its age. Schedule an inspection to ensure there are no moisture issues before you schedule circuit breaker repair or replacement.