Evaluating Circuit Breakers

Has the power in just one part of your home gone out?

It may be a tripped circuit breaker. You likely venture to the basement, see if it needs to be flipped, switch it over if so, and hope the problem has resolved. But how do you know if you have a bad circuit breaker?

Circuit breakers can fail for a multitude of reasons. Most often the circuit is overloaded, it wasn’t properly reset, or there’s been a short. Their purpose is to protect you and your property from electrical faults and fires, so it’s important to know when one has failed.

Troubleshooting the Issue

Before you call an electrician, there are a few steps you can take to try to access if your circuit breaker has gone bad.

First, determine what circuit the breaker is protecting. You’ll want to head to your electrical panel and look for the label next to the tripped breaker or for a diagram detailing what’s what on the circuit panel door. If there are no labels, you’ll want to do this for future purposes. It will make life much easier – and safer!

Next, be sure the breaker is in the off position, then unplug all electrical devices from the related circuit.

After unplugging all items from the breaker, reset it by flipping it back to the on position. If the breaker does not sound an audible click when doing this, you may have a fault. If the breaker does not trip immediately after resetting it, the cause was likely an overloaded circuit. Your best bet would be to relocate some items to a different circuit, then to reset the breaker again. If the breaker does immediately trip, then you likely have a short or faulty breaker.

Other signs of a faulty breaker may include flickering lights in your home, poor performance from appliances like uneven baking from your stove, lightbulbs that continuously burn out seemingly prematurely, and overheating appliances.

Call a Professional for Help

Replacing circuit breakers that have gone bad is work requiring the help of a professional. He or she should be able to perform the job quickly and efficiently. It’s certainly worth the piece of mind in knowing your home is safe. If you’re having an ongoing issue, reach out to Stevens Electric in Fleetwood, Berks County, Pennsylvania, at stevenselectricllc.com, or call 610-316-9998 and we’ll be happy to schedule a time to come out and assess how to best fix your problem safely.