What Are the Signs of a Faulty Circuit Breaker?

Posted on: 30 August 2021

Every home needs a circuit breaker for protection against electrical accidents. A circuit breaker ensures a smooth flow of electricity while preventing an overload on the wires. And since all your household appliances rely on the circuit breaker, you should pay close attention to it, especially after unexpected blackouts.

Furthermore, you should watch out for early signs of damage to your breaker and hire an electrician to repair it immediately. Below are some signs indicating that all is not well with your circuit breaker: 

The Lights Flicker Now and Then

It is not normal to see your lights flickering, and it could result from several things. For instance, defective bulbs can flicker, and in that case, you should check if you are using the correct bulbs. Check whether the wattage is correct and if not, change it with an appropriate one. 

If the bulbs are okay, it could be the faulty wiring in the switches or a malfunctioning circuit breaker. If you are unsure of the underlying cause of the flickering bulbs, hire an electrician to examine the system, unearth the problem and resolve it.

There Is a Burning Smell Coming From the Breaker Box

A faulty circuit breaker may ooze burning smells due to overheated insulators. It could also mean that some wires in the breaker are not well connected. These situations can lead to a fire if not addressed in good time. As such, you should contact an electrician as soon as you discern an unfamiliar smell. But before the electrician arrives, unplug all appliances from their sockets and turn off the main power supply.

The Appliances Are Acting Weird or Damaged

If there is a sudden change in your appliances' operations, there is a good chance that the breaker is defective. For example, you will notice unusual behaviours such as the dryer stopping in the middle of a cycle or the oven not heating as required. 

Some appliances may even shut off for good and fail to function completely. Furthermore, a faulty circuit break will cause the bulbs to blow frequently, prompting you to keep on changing them. In this case, it is crucial to have the breaker box examined by an electrician. 

There Is Physical Damage Around the Breaker

Scorch marks around the breaker are another obvious sign that something is not right. You may also notice the same in some of your power outlets or appliances. These scorch marks usually mean that the wires are melting and are not functioning as required. Ignoring this problem can lead to a fire breakout.

Circuit breakers are built to last long. So if yours is approaching its service limit, you will likely experience the mentioned signs. Instead of waiting until something goes wrong, call an electrician to inspect and fix the issues.