Your circuit breaker panel is an important part of your home. The circuit breaker, or electrical panel, controls the electrical flow throughout your home. Without it, you won’t get the electricity that powers everything from the bathroom lights to the kitchen stove. But what happens when you need to replace a circuit breaker?
Let's look at the signs of a failing electrical panel to help you understand if it can be repaired vs if you need to replace a circuit breaker - and why you should call a licensed electrician to do the job.
Signs You Can Repair a Circuit Breaker
When your circuit breaker panel isn’t working as it should - it’s a big deal. But, you may not know if the problem is big enough to require replacement or if a repair will do. Circuit breakers generally last a long time, but over time, they may need to be replaced to help you save on your electric bill or keep your home safe and functional.
However, not all electrical issues mean you need to replace a circuit breaker. There are many instances when a simple maintenance call to an electrician can solve the issue. Here are the signs that you may be able to simply repair a circuit breaker rather than invest in a full replacement.
If you notice loose or damaged wires coming or going to your electrical panel, you may be able to hire an electrician to repair the wiring.
The cables that attach your panel to the structural mount on your home are service cables. Sometimes, the cable insulation can get damaged and the cables can get loose, or the anchors that hold the cable in place may get loose. When this happens, it may just need a simple fix - but you’ll likely need to call an electrician to repair a circuit breaker. If it is a wiring issue, a licensed electrician can usually fix the problem without having to replace the entire electrical panel.
We all know water and electricity are a dangerous mix. If you have a leak or drainage problem in your home and your electrical panel is nearby, we recommend you stay away from the area and immediately call a professional. A licensed electrician will know how to approach the area safely so that they can shut off the power source and make the necessary repairs.
Blown Breaker Panel Fuse
Blowing a fuse or tripping a circuit breaker is pretty common, especially if you tend to use a lot of electricity at once. If you overload a circuit, your system will cut off the electrical flow and prevent your wires from overheating or starting a fire. This is usually an issue that an electrician can repair for you and you likely won’t need a circuit breaker replacement.
However, if you find that you are blowing fuses in your home often, you should speak with a professional electrician about why it's happening - and what you can do to prevent future electrical issues.
Signs You Should Replace a Circuit Breaker
While some circuit breaker issues can be repaired, other times it’s safer to replace them. If your electrical system isn’t adequate, it will overload and malfunction. This means it’s better to replace it. An updated electrical system and breaker box will make your home run more efficiently, prevent fires, and could lower the electricity bill.
Here are some signs you may need to upgrade your electrical system:
You Can Sense Your Electrical Panel
A circuit breaker is something that your senses should not detect. If you notice crackling coming from the panel, a burning smell, or if the panel feels warm to the touch, call an electrician. These are all signs that you need to replace a circuit panel immediately.
The Breaker Will Not Stay Reset
If you’ve been resetting your circuit breaker and it won’t stay on, it means that the circuit breaker has failed. Even if you continue to flip the switches and they do turn back on, you may not want them to, as this potentially is indicative of a much larger issue.
Instead of continuing to flip the switch in hopes of a miracle, contact an electrical company near you. An electrician will check the entire circuit and determine if it’s time to replace your breaker panel.
You Have an Older Home
If you own or are looking to buy an older home, you’ll need a circuit breaker replacement if it’s a Federal Pacific Electric panel. These panels were installed in the 1950s through the 1980s. They are still intact in many homes in Durham, NC, and surrounding areas in North Carolina - but they are not up to current safety codes. They pose a fire hazard and should be updated immediately.
There Is Physical Damage
Scorch marks around your circuit breaker are a red flag that you need to replace it. This means that the wiring has melted and it is not working. You need to get immediate attention because a melted wire could lead to a fire.
You’re Doing Renovations
Home renovations can require an upgrade to your electrical panel to support the additional load and the new home wiring setup. Adding any large appliances like a washer or dryer, or adding an extra room can require more electricity and might overload your current panel.
Why Hire a Licensed Electrician to Fix or Replace a Circuit Breaker
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to your home’s electricity. Repairing a circuit breaker or installing major electrical components in your home aren't DIY projects. The city's power supply runs through your electrical breaker - if you make one mistake, you could pay for it with your life. Additionally, when a circuit breaker is installed improperly, it puts you and your home at risk.
Hiring a professional electrician to replace a circuit breaker is the best option to keep you and your family safe. They will have the experience and knowledge needed to get the job done right. Plus, there is no risk to you! A licensed electrician will also be ensured, which protects you in the event that something goes wrong.
Do you Need a Licensed Electrician for Your Home?
If you need a licensed electrician for your home, you can count on the MSS-Ortiz Durham electricians. Our team of licensed Durham electricians is here to help with your circuit breaker installation or repair as well as other residential and commercial electrical services. While we are headquartered in Durham, North Carolina, our licensed electricians are spread across the state and will travel to the surrounding areas including Raleigh, Rougemount, Greensboro, Creedmor, Wendell, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, and other NC areas!