Commercial & Residential Electricians in Mesa AZ.


Circuit Breaker Replacement, How To Tell If A Breaker Is Bad Or Failing

Are you experiencing circuit breaker problems? Dolce Electric Co schedules electricians Mesa AZ homeowners and businesses can consult with free of charge about bad circuit breakers and circuit breaker replacement options. Our in-office Mesa AZ electricians will answer technical questions like “how to tell if a circuit breaker is bad” and general questions like “what is a circuit breaker and what does it do”. Call our in-office electricians in Mesa, AZ today and get the professional information and solutions you’re looking for.

Bad circuit breaker, heat failure without tripping

Evaluating Before Doing A Circuit Breaker Replacement

Determining if a circuit breaker replacement is required is all too often inaccurately based on the appearance of the breakers. An outward appearance that looks fine can be misleading and in fact require replacing while a seemingly worn and aged breaker may be mechanically sound and perfect safe. While there are several symptoms that indicate a circuit breaker might need replacing there are three areas on the circuit breaker that confirm the need for a replacement.

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How To Tell If A Circuit Breaker Is Going Bad

A total circuit breaker failure will rarely happen suddenly, there are always warning signs that you may need a circuit breaker replaced. If you notice any of the following symptoms there may be serious heat damage and burning being done to the buss bar in your electrical panel. Timely repairs will reduce the damage and save you money.

Here’s how to tell if a circuit breaker is bad or beginning to fail:

  • Lights flickering on and off
  • Random power losses and power restoration for no reason
  • Lights dim and come back to full brilliance
  • Electric clothes dryer comes on but doesn’t heat up
  • Circuit breaker handle won’t stay in the on or off position
  • Circuit breakers seem loose in the panel, wiggle and slip out easily
  • A sizzling, humming or buzzing sound coming from the panel
  • Circuit breakers are hot to touch / burning smell at panel

Note: In some cases approximately half of the home will experience power disruptions and flickering lights. This is typically not the result of a branch circuit breaker but can be caused by the main circuit breaker failing. Other causes can include a problem with the electric meter, a partial loss of power from the power company or a bad connection on one line of the main power. Consult with our in-office electrician for more information.

If you are experiencing any of the “bad circuit breaker symptoms” above there is a strong possibility that you need one or more circuit breakers replaced. Dolce Electric Co schedules Mesa electricians that you can consult with for free over the phone help. They will ask you a few simple questions to help you determine the best course of action and provide you with a free estimate for recommended repairs.

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Can A Circuit Breaker Just Fail With No Tripping?

A common question is, “Can a circuit breaker fail without tripping?” Yes, and that’s usually how it happens.

There are three main areas on your circuit breakers to inspect for signs of damage that will tell you if you need to replace a circuit breaker.

The Circuit Breaker Stab:

This is the most common, hardest to detect and can be the most costly type of circuit breaker failure if left unaddressed. The circuit breaker stab is the part that connects to the buss bar inside your panel with spring tension. It is behind the circuit breaker and can only be seen when taken out. When the spring tension on the circuit breaker stab weakens the connection weakens and heat builds up at the connection point causing arcing and burning between the breaker and the buss bar. Power disruption and dimming or flickering lights are common traits when this happens. The potential damage to the buss bar is what makes this a top priority for quick action. You don’t want to have to replace the entire panel!

How to tell if a circuit breaker is going bad diagram

In cases when a failing circuit breaker stab is caught quickly the repair is usually minimal. This usually requires some light sanding of the buss bar to remove the burned area where the failure occurred and replacing the circuit breaker.

If left unaddressed the repair can be much more involved. Heat rises so if the failing circuit breaker is in the lower portion of your panel every circuit breaker above it will continually be exposed to this excessive heat inflicting further damage to the circuit breakers and buss bar above. In extreme cases the damage to the buss bar can be beyond repair and a new main service panel will be your only option. Do not let this go unaddressed, the problem will not fix itself and the size of the repair will only increase over time. Call our in-office electrician in Mesa AZ today for answers to all of your questions; you’ll be happy you did!

The Load Lug:

The circuit breaker load lug is the place where the wire gets attached. If it is burned or the lug is not securely attached to the breaker you will most likely want to replace it. Addressing this in a reasonable amount of time is a good idea because rising heat can still damage the circuit breakers above it.

The On / Off Handle (Actuator Lever):

This is the lever that you move to turn your breakers on or off. When the handle won’t stay in the on or off position the internal mechanism is worn out and a new breaker is needed.

What to Do Next:

If you think you have a breaker that needs replacing, give our in-office electrician a call for some free over the phone help. Dolce Electric Co has scheduled an electrician Mesa AZ homeowners can call Monday thru Friday, from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM. He will answer all of your questions and help you determine the best course of action to resolve your breaker problems. All breaker updating jobs come with our lifetime guarantee and don’t forget to ask for your free home safety inspection too.