Almost every food item has an expiry date and when that date has passed, we know not to eat it. The same mindset should be used when looking at your home. Regularly keeping up to date on service checks and updating old appliances will keep you and your home safe. Maintaining your circuit breaker is essential for the overall safety of your home. Read on to learn when it’s time to have yours upgraded.
What is a Circuit Breaker?
A circuit breaker protects your home from the dangers of excessive currents of electricity. Simply put, a circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch. In the event of an overload of electricity, it will interrupt the current flow of electricity, preventing any further damage to your home. If you notice any of the following warning signs with your circuit breaker, contact a pro to check it out and take the appropriate next steps.
As a rule of thumb, circuit breakers should be updated every 25-40 years. If you have been living in your home longer than that, then it’s time for an upgrade. If you are unsure of how old your home is, there are some telltale signs to indicate it’s time for a pro to take a look.
Older homes were built with fewer outlets and less electrical capacity as there was no need. Today, our homes require a lot of electricity to run. If you find yourself using multiple power-bars in order to accommodate the number of appliances, then your home is most likely older. In these older homes, the electrical capacity of the circuit breaker is around 60-100 amps before it would top out. Newer homes have a higher capacity, around 200 amps, in order to accommodate for the greater need for electricity.
Fuse boxes were popular in homes in the 1960s. If your home has a fuse box as opposed to an electrical panel, you should have it upgraded. Fuse boxes burn out easily and require more effort to re-light them, whereas circuit breakers are reset with the flick of a switch.
Appliances Performing Poorly
Another sign that you need to upgrade your circuit breaker is if you notice that your appliances aren’t running at full capacity, or you find your lights flickering or dimming often. If this is the case, it could mean that there are loose connections with the wires, which poses an electrical fire hazard. If the circuit is constantly tripping an upgrade may be required to handle the capacity of your home’s electricity.
Warm/Smelly Electrical Panel
Take action if you notice a burning smell coming from your electrical panel, or if it is warm to the touch. This can mean that the panel is being overloaded and taking on too much electricity. It can also mean that there are wires that aren’t connected properly, which can lead to electrical fires if not tended to. Do not risk the safety of you and your home and be sure to connect with a pro and have it looked into.
If you notice any of these signs, contact a pro to take a look at your circuit breaker. Leaving these signs unattended can lead to dangerous situations for your home’s safety, and ultimately yours. Click on the banner below to get in touch with electricians in your area who can help ease your concerns and keep you and your home safe.