Circuit Breaker Replacement
The circuit breaker panel is the heart of your house’s electrical system. The circuit breaker is connected inside the panel to the external power lines from the utility company, after passing through the electrical meter and channels the current through the circuits that run along your entire house. The circuit breaker protects all the wiring and provides safety parameters against certain types of electrical problems, such as an overload or even a short circuit (live wire touching anything grounded). As time passes, however, a circuit breaker replacement may be required as the breaker deteriorates due to constant use in regulating all the electricity that you consume. It’s recommended by the manufacturers that if a breaker has tripped for any reason, it should be replaced. Personally, I do not subscribe to this recommendation as we trip breakers routinely to test them.
Circuit breakers are, surprisingly, a simple system despite handling up to more than 400 amps and efficiently regulating and distributing electricity all over your home. Their efficiency, nevertheless, may be compromised due to a number of factors, including:
Damaged or Faulty Service Cables
The repair of electrical wiring coming from the utility power supply and into the meter box in your house is not your responsibility. However, any wiring related issues past the meter on the house side, which may be affecting your breakers, is your responsibility. What can cause breakers to fail or deteriorate? There are a number of reasons. Age is probably the number one reason for failure. Loose wire connections can cause a breaker to heat up & deteriorate. Geographic location can also be a factor. If you live near the beach, your breaker panel can accumulate salt and airborne particles on the buss where the breakers attach to the panel. This can cause a break in the connection, causing them to heat up and sometimes melt. That’s when the lights begin to flicker.
Electricity and water are as deadly as the combination of gasoline and fire. Should a situation arise where there is water pooling around or near your circuit breaker, stay away and call an electrician.
Signs You Need a Replacement
Circuit breakers usually last a long time, but they eventually wear out, break, or malfunction and it is difficult to estimate when you might need a replacement. The best way to find out whether you need your circuit breaker replaced is to keep an eye out for various signs that are a dead giveaway.
The most obvious of which is that your breakers frequently trip or will not reset when you switch them back on. Another clue, which may very well be the best indication to change your breaker box, is when the breakers feel hot to the touch, and showing clear signs of damage (like frayed wires and burnt components). If you still feel unsure, call your electrician.
The first thing you should do when deciding to replace your breaker box is to know the amperage rating of the existing breaker box, noting the exact specifications of every component installed within. This will help you get the exact replacement. Aim to purchase the most durable and reliable breaker box available. Your electrical contractor will help you decide what’s best for your home. Often, an upgrade to a higher amperage panel is recommended.
It’s crucial to install the circuit breaker in accordance to the wires size that is connected to it. It’s the size of the wire leaving the panel that dictates the size of the circuit breaker it’s protected by. We often find that someone has replaced a 15 amp breaker with a 20 to prevent it from tripping. The fact that the 15 was tripping was an indication of an overloaded circuit. By “fixing it” with a larger breaker, the wire then becomes hot inside the wall and can eventually ignite. Using the incorrect specifications may quite possibly result in electrocution or an electrical fire.
When it comes down to installing the breaker, unless you have extensive experience working with high voltage wires, call a licensed electrician. A mishap with a circuit breaker can prove extremely dangerous, or even fatal. An electrician will be able to determine whether the problem only exists in the breaker or beyond it, ensuring the safety of your loved ones and your home.