Signs That You Need Electrical Breaker Replacements

Your home will have a breaker panel, and this panel will contain a series of breakers or fuses. If your house was built during or after the 1960s, then the residence will have circuit breakers. Circuit breakers can last about 30 years before they need to be replaced, and an entire breaker panel can last decades without the need for a replacement. However, you may need to invest in some circuit breaker replacements well before they reach the 30 year mark. Keep reading to learn about some signs that your breakers need to be replaced. 

Burning Smell From Panel

If you ever smell a foul burning odor coming from your breaker panel, then this is a serious issue. This typically means that the wires attached to the breaker are burning and the insulation is melting away. This may happen if the wires are loose or if they are located in a warm area of the breaker panel. The smell also may be the breaker itself burning, and this means the breaker is no longer working correctly. When a breaker is no longer working, then you may be able to overload the wires on the circuit attached to the breaker. Since the breaker stops an overload situation from turning into a fire, this can be a serious safety issue. 

While a bad breaker can usually be removed and replaced, you will need to have an electrician complete the replacement for you if you smell electrical components burning. The professional will need to examine the wiring and possibly replace wires with missing insulation. Each breaker will have two hot wires and one neutral wire that needs to be examined. If the wires are in good condition, then they may be tightened to reduce future burning issues. Also, the wires may need to be shifted a small amount so they sit in an area that is relatively cool. For example, the wires may be moved away from the bus bars to keep them from melting. 

Main Breaker Keeps Tripping

If the main breaker trips when you use your dryer, microwave, oven, hair dryer, or another tool or appliance that utilizes a good deal of power, then this may be a sign that your main breaker needs to be replaced. In some cases, this might mean that your entire electrical system needs to be upgraded. If your home currently has a 100 amp breaker panel, then an upgrade may be needed if you have recently installed a central air conditioning system or an electric furnace that requires more power. An electrician will need to upgrade the breaker panel to a 150 or 200 amp system. 

If you have not made any upgrades but have still noticed that the main breaker in the home has started to trip, then the main breaker may need to be replaced. Main breakers will sometimes become weak over time and trip when a good deal of electricity is used. For example, if you use your hair dryer and oven at the same time, a weak breaker may trip. While electrical usage will be normal and within a safe range, the moderate increase in amperage running through the breaker panel can cause the main breaker to heat up and trip. This type of weak breaker is often seen when the breaker has been tripped and reset many times. After a while, the switch will simply be too sensitive and trip when there is no electrical overload.

A main breaker can be changed just like any other breaker. However, the power must be disconnected from your home to complete the replacement safely. The disconnection needs to occur at the main electrical box that sits outside your home. It can be dangerous to disconnect the electricity at the main. A professional electrician must do this and change the main breaker to reduce electrocution risks. 

For more information and assistance with repairs or upgrades, contact an electrical service company in the area, such as Skyline Electric, Inc.