How To Tell If A Breaker Is Bad?

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Mark Jardine
July 11, 2024
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As a homeowner, it's essential to ensure that your electrical system is functioning correctly. One of the critical components of your electrical system is the circuit breaker. It's responsible for protecting your home from electrical fires and other hazards caused by electrical overload. However, like any other electrical component, breakers can wear out and become faulty, leading to a bad breaker. Early identification of the cause of issues is important to avoid severe damage from electrical malfunctions. In this blog, you will learn how to tell if a breaker is bad, check for it, and promptly address it. Here are the common issues.
  • Overloaded Circuit
An overloaded circuit can be dangerous and is the most common circuit breaker problem. When you plug too many appliances into a single outlet, the electrical current can exceed the capacity of the circuit, causing it to trip. The flickering of lights, a buzzing sound from the breaker, and a hot electrical panel are some of the warning signs of an overloaded circuit. Therefore, it's crucial to unplug appliances and address the issues promptly.
  • Short Circuit
A short circuit occurs when two electrical wires touch each other, leading to a sudden surge of electricity. Signs of a short circuit include a breaker tripping and a burning smell. If you suspect a short circuit, it's important to turn off the electricity supply and call an electrician immediately. So, knowing how to identify a short circuit helps you address the issue promptly and prevent any hazardous situations.
  • Burning Smell
A burning smell indicates a bad breaker, especially if it persists even after turning off appliances. This smell can be caused by electrical overload and short circuits. It's important to turn off the power immediately and call for electrical service.
  • Hot Breakers
If your breaker feels hot to the touch, it's an indication that it's not functioning correctly. A hot breaker can result from an overloaded circuit.
  • Power Surge
A power surge can be caused by lightning or a faulty appliance. Signs of a power surge include flickering lights and damaged appliances.
  • Breaker Trips Frequently
Frequent tripping of your breaker, even when using it normally, may indicate an overloaded circuit as the root cause.
  • Worn-out or Old Breaker
Over time, breakers can become worn out due to regular use and exposure to environmental factors. This results in loose connections, rust, and corrosion, all of which can contribute to a bad breaker.
  • Visibly Damaged Circuit Breaker
A circuit breaker that appears damaged, such as cracks, chips, or breaks, can indicate a bad breaker. If you notice visible damage, it's important to have it replaced immediately by a licensed electrician to prevent further damage or harm.

How to Check for a Bad Breaker?

Follow these steps to check for it:
  1. Turn off all appliances and devices: Before you start checking, make sure that all appliances and devices connected to the circuit breaker are turned off. This will avoid possible dangers.
  2. Locate the breaker in the electrical panel: The electrical panel is usually located in a utility room or basement. Find the breaker you want to check and switch it to the off position.
  3. Flip the breaker back on: After switching it off, turn it back on by flipping the switch to the on position. Listen for any unusual sounds, such as buzzing or crackling. If you hear any such sounds, it could indicate that the breaker is not functioning correctly.
  4. Check for visible signs of damage: Look for any visible signs of damage on the breaker, such as cracks, chips, or burns. If you see any such signs, it indicates an issue that needs replacing.
  5. Use a multimeter to test the breaker's voltage and continuity: A multimeter is a tool that measures electrical current, voltage, and resistance. You can use it to test the voltage and continuity of the breaker. This step requires some electrical knowledge, and if you're not comfortable performing these checks, it's best to hire a licensed electrician to do it for you.
  6. Call an electrician: This step requires some electrical knowledge, and if you're not comfortable performing these checks, it's best to hire a licensed electrician to do it for you.

Best Electrical Service Near Me

If you're unsure whether the breaker is functioning correctly, call the electrician from Home Alliance to diagnose the issue and provide a solution. If a replacement is needed, they'll take care of it quickly and efficiently. Plus, with our 24/7 customer service line, you can always get in touch if any electrical issues come up. From circuit breakers to light switches, Home Alliance has your electrical needs covered. Don't forget to visit our website to stay updated on the newest discounts and our membership program. So why wait? Book a service with us today, and let us take care of all your electrical service needs.