Signs of a Bad Circuit Breaker

Signs of a Bad Circuit Breaker

With regular maintenance and a favorable environment, an electrical circuit breaker can last up to 30 years. Your home’s electrical breaker can serve you for many years without requiring replacement. However, your circuit breaker’s lifespan may be cut short by electrical problems, such as fluctuating voltages, circuit overload, poor power ratings, short circuits, and many more.

A faulty circuit breaker may not successfully protect your appliances and your home from the damaging effects of an electrical fault or hazard. To prevent damage to your electrical system, you should get a quality circuit breaker that you can count on from a reliable electrical supplier like Bay Power. Once installed, you should regularly monitor it and perform preventative maintenance to extend its life expectancy. The good thing is that there are many tell-tale signs that can help you know when to repair or replace your circuit breaker. Here are a few indicative signs to help you know when your circuit breaker is faulty:

1. A Burning Smell Originating From The Panel

A burning smell emanating from the circuit panel is one of the most significant signs that something could be wrong with your circuit breaker. A burning smell is usually produced when a faulty circuit breaker causes wires and insulation to overheat. If you notice a burning smell coming from your circuit breaker panel, you should immediately shut down your home’s power and contact a professional electrician.

Your electrician will check to see if your circuit breakers are bad or if it’s something else producing the burning odor. Not addressing this problem immediately can cause electric fires, causing great damage to your property and putting your family in danger.

2. Breaker’s Hot to Touch

Besides a burning smell coming out of your circuit breaker panel, another sign your circuit breaker could be faulty is when it’s hot to touch. A hot circuit breaker is usually indicative of an overloaded circuit in your home’s electrical system. You can easily recognize when there’s an overloaded circuit through heat production. If your home’s switches and outlets are also hot when you touch them, you could also have a faulty circuit breaker.

If this happens, you should immediately have it checked by an electrician. This way, they can replace your circuit breaker panel or upgrade your home’s electrical wiring. This will help prevent electric fire and ensure your home’s electrical system is working properly.

3. Breaker Keeps Tripping

A properly functioning circuit breaker is supposed to trip whenever the current flow exceeds its amperage rating. This cuts off electricity to the faulty circuit, protecting your appliances from getting damaged and preventing a potential electrical fire. However, if your breaker trips now and then, it might indicate it’s faulty. The problem can also be caused by an overloaded circuit or a faulty appliance.

But, if your breaker starts to trip frequently whenever you plug in a particular appliance could be a sign your circuitry is faulty. If the tripping happens when you plug in several appliances at the same time, it could be that your circuit breaker cannot provide sufficient power. A loose connection at the breaker, along the wire, or the appliance can also cause your breaker to trip regularly.

The solution is to contact a qualified electrician to check your home’s electrical system to determine what’s causing the frequent tripping. Depending on what’s causing this issue, you may need to replace the entire circuit breaker panel or upgrade your wiring.


Now that you know when you have a faulty circuit breaker, you can effectively prevent recurring electrical issues and potential safety hazards in your home. Whenever you notice any of the above issues, you should immediately contact a qualified electrician in your local area to inspect your electrical system and replace bad circuit breakers with new ones. You should also replace your circuit breakers if you notice any physical damage, such as scorch marks.