How to Know if a Circuit Breaker is Bad?

Do you think you might have a bad circuit breaker? A circuit breaker can fail for multiple reasons. In most cases, a circuit breaker fails because it’s overloaded, it wasn’t reset properly, or you have a short circuit. At the end of the day, your circuit breakers exist to protect you from electrical faults and fires, so it’s worth knowing how to tell if your circuit breaker is failing.

Do You Have a Bad Circuit Breaker?

If you think your circuit breaker has an issue, it’s a good idea to contact an electrician. But before you call, there are few steps you can take to determine if your circuit breaker needs professional attention.

Identify the Problem Circuit

When you first notice a potential problem, try to determine which circuit the breaker is protecting. Open your electric panel and look for a label next to the breaker that’s tripping, or a diagram on the circuit panel door. The label or diagram should clearly list which circuit the breaker is protecting. If you don’t see either a label or a diagram, you can try testing each breaker to determine which circuits it protects, then label them yourself. This will take some time and patience but will be helpful in the future.

Unplug Electrical Devices from the Trouble Circuit

If you’re able to identify the circuit that’s controlled by the tripped circuit breaker, make sure the breaker is flipped to the OFF position, and unplug all devices on the circuit. This will eliminate any chance of an electrical surge or other electrical problems as you reset the circuit breaker.

Reset the Circuit Breaker

After you have all of your appliances unplugged, you can reset the breaker by switching it back to the ON position. If you don’t hear and feel a click when you flip the breaker switch, then the breaker may have a fault. After resetting the circuit breaker, if it doesn’t trip again immediately, then the original cause of the issue was probably an overloaded circuit. Move some plugs over to a different circuit, and try resetting the circuit again. If the circuit breaker trip again immediately, then you either have a short circuit or a bad breaker that will need professional attention from a certified electrician.

Need Help With a Bad Circuit Breaker?

If you are having continuous problems with a circuit breaker, it’s probably time to contact a licensed Omaha electrician. Wolfe Electric is happy to investigate the problem and provide the necessary electric repair or circuit breaker replacement. We serve both the Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska areas.

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Omaha – 402-731-1220
Lincoln – 402-464-4333