How To Identify Problems With A Circuit Breaker And How An Electrician Might Make Repairs

The circuit breakers on your electrical panel may seem like nuisances at times, but they are very important safety features that protect you and your home. When a breaker trips, it warns you something is wrong and needs to be investigated. Several electrical problems can cause a circuit breaker to trip, and one is when the breaker goes bad. Here are a few indications of a bad circuit breaker and how your electrician may handle the electrical repairs needed.

When To Suspect The Panel Has A Bad Breaker

You may not need to worry if your breaker trips occasionally because you accidentally overload it, but if the breaker trips off frequently or trips off and won't flip back on, that could be a sign the breaker is bad. Since the breaker is a safety mechanism that controls power in your home, you want it to be functional at all times.

You should also suspect problems with the breaker if it feels hot when you flip it back on or if there is an electrical burning odor when you open the electrical panel. You can even try a simple test if you know for sure what things in your home are on the circuit.

Unplug everything on the circuit first and then flip the circuit back on. If the circuit immediately flips back off, the problem is probably with the circuit. If the circuit doesn't flip off until you start plugging things back in, the problem could be with the wiring, outlet, appliance, or lamp. Or, you may simply have too many things plugged in at once.

If you narrow down the problem to the circuit breaker, leave it off and call an electrician. They can do more sophisticated tests to verify the problem.

How An Electrician Might Test The Breaker

An electrician can use a multimeter to test the breaker and see if it's bad. However, that might just be part of the problem in your home. It's possible a short elsewhere caused damage to the breaker that made it fail. In that case, the electrician may need to test everything on the circuit.

They may use an infrared camera to look for hot spots in the wiring or they may test individual outlets. If they find issues, they may need to do electrical repairs such as replacing wiring, rewiring an overhead light, or replacing an outlet. However, if the problem is just a bad breaker, the only electrical repair that might be needed is to replace the breaker.

How A Breaker Is Replaced

Replacing a circuit breaker is a fairly simple electrical repair. However, it can be a dangerous job due to the high voltage in an electrical panel. The electrician confirms power is off by testing it with a meter before attempting to remove the old breaker.

The old breaker can be removed by taking out the screws and pulling it out. A new breaker is then put in. It's essential to replace the old breaker with one that has the same amp size. Once that's done, your power is tested to make sure the new breaker functions properly.