Whether you are a new homeowner or have owned a home for years now, you need to know the signs that a home circuit breaker needs to be replaced, how to choose the replacement breaker from a place like Enercon Engineering Inc, and how to replace it. The good new is that, unlike traditional fuses that needed to be replaced every time they detected an unusually high level of electricity flowing through them, circuit breakers can often last years without needing to be replaced, depending on how often they are triggered. However, when one does eventually "goes bad," you will not be able to use the electrical outlets it monitors until you replace it.
Read on to learn the signs that a circuit breaker needs to be replaced and how to choose a replacement that will work in your breaker panel.
Signs That a Home Circuit Breaker Should Be Replaced
Thankfully, detecting a circuit breaker that has "gone bad" is relatively easy. The most obvious sign that you need a new circuit breaker is a sudden inability to get power when plugging electrical devices into the outlets that a single fuse controls, even when the breaker is flipped to the "on" position. However, when flipping a breaker that has been triggered by a strong current from the "off" position to the "on" position, it may instead refused to stay "on." This is another sign that it needs to be replaced.
If you find the same breaker flipping to the "off" position very frequently for seemingly no reason, then it is a good idea to replace it before it fails completely.
Other signs that home circuit breakers should be replaced immediately (because they are likely to fail soon), include noticing that one or more are hot to the touch and/or noticing a burning smell coming from your breaker box.
How To Choose the Right Home Circuit Breaker Replacement
If you have a little DIY knowledge and experience, then you can replace your own faulty breaker, as long as you take the right safety precautions. However, before you replace it, you must learn how to choose the right circuit breaker type for each breaker you replace in the future.
There are many circuit breaker types and a couple of sizes, and you must replace a bad home circuit breaker with a new breaker that is the exact size and type as the original one or it will not work in your breaker box.
Choosing the right size breaker replacement is easy, because the only options are mini-breakers, which are one-half inch in width, and full-size breakers, which are one inch wide. If you cannot tell by looking, simply measure the old breaker and choose a new breaker measures the same size.
The most common circuit breaker type in homes today is the single-pole breaker. Single pole breakers are typically connected to home wiring that supports electrical outlets, home lighting, and other small electrical loads. They control 120-volt circuits and range from 15 to 30 amps. You can easily recognize single-pole circuit breakers by the fact that they only occupy one "slot" in your breaker box.
Double-pole breakers are the second most common type in homes.They control 240-volt circuits and range from 50 to 100 amps or higher. They typically power large appliances in your home, like water heaters, ovens, and washers and dryers. They occupy two "slots" in your breaker box.
Two additional types of circuit breaker types are ground fault circuit interrupters and arc fault circuit interrupters. Ground fault circuit interrupter breakers are relatively uncommon, but they can be used to provide power to rooms where there is a large electrocution hazard, such as bathrooms and other rooms where water is abundant. Arc fault circuit interrupters are only present in homes built in 2008 or after and control power that flows into bedrooms and living rooms. If your circuit breaker is gray in color, then it is an arc fault circuit interrupter and will need to be replaced with one.
You can likely identify the type of replacement breaker you need by taking the size and color into consideration, along with the room(s) it provides power to and how many slots it occupies in your breaker box, then choose the amperage based on the number displayed on the breaker itself. This will allow you to order your replacement circuit breakers online for convenience.
However, if you cannot determine what type of replacement breaker you do need or want a professional to guide you through replacement for the first time, then you can always call an electrician for their expertise.