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10 Signs a Circuit Breaker Needs to Be Replaced

10 Signs a Circuit Breaker Needs to Be Replaced

With proper maintenance and installation, the circuit breakers in your home can last decades. However, if you see signs that your breakers are not working correctly, or you own an older home, you will need to consider a circuit breaker replacement project. How do you know if a circuit breaker needs to be replaced? How long do circuit breakers last?

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You may feel stressed or anxious if you don’t know the answers to these questions. However, we want to help you, so we put together this guide. To help you maintain your electrical system, we have created a list of signs the circuit breakers need to be replaced in your home.

Circuit Breaker Panel Issues and Ways to Respond

Do you have an issue involving your circuit breaker panel? Several common problems can be solved efficiently using practical methods, ensuring the safe operation and efficiency of the electrical system in your home.

1. Circuit Breakers Keep Tripping

One of the signs that your circuit breaker panel has something wrong is it keeps tripping. For example, you may not be able to run your hair dryer and coffee pot simultaneously.

It may seem like anytime you have more than one appliance on at a time, you lose power to half your house. Some people simply switch the circuit breaker off and on to fix it, but this is a temporary solution. If the circuit breaker is tripping, this can be a severe issue that can lead to a fire.

2. System Operates on Electrical Fuses

If your electricity runs on fuses, you want to upgrade to a new electrical panel that is equipped with circuit breakers. Unfortunately, fuses are not as safe as modern options, and many companies issue penalties if you have an outdated system.

3. Panel Is Old and Outdated

If you are not sure how old your circuit breakers are and your house is old, it’s probably outdated. If your home had any electrical upgrades, including before you purchased it, but the circuit breaker panel is original, you most likely need an upgrade. How long do circuit breakers last? Ideally, you will need to replace an electrical panel every 25 to 30 years using a trained professional.

4. Incorrect Amp Wiring

If you have issues with your circuit breaker, look at how many amps you have running through your wiring. This number will be on the top of your panel, and older homes are usually set at 60 amps.

If your electrical panel is set to 60 amps, this is a sign your circuit breakers and system need to be replaced. Unfortunately, 60 amps is far too low for almost every modern appliance. Ideally, you will want 200 wiring amps to ensure your system functions safely and securely.

5. Circuit Breaker Trips When You Use a Specific Appliance

It’s common only to start worrying if your breakers trip a lot. However, your breakers may only trip when you use a specific appliance. To avoid a fire or electrical emergency, you will want to perform a circuit breaker replacement immediately. You might also need to replace a portion of the wiring.

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6. Corrosion

Replacing a corroded circuit breaker panel is necessary to avoid a house fire. If you notice corrosion or rust, it’s time to replace it, just like you would an old plumbing pipe to prevent flooding.

7. Burning Odors

Smelling burning odors is a huge sign that your circuit breaker could have something seriously wrong, and it’s an indicator that there are other fire hazards in your home.

8. Electrical Panel Is Warm

If you touch the circuit breaker panel and it feels warm or hot, there is usually something seriously wrong with the electrical system in your home. Additionally, if the switch plate or outlets feel warm or hot to the touch, you want someone to look at it right away.

9. Discolored Areas or Spots on the Circuit Breaker Panel

If you spot discolored areas on your panel, you may need a circuit breaker replacement, which indicates that your panel isn’t working correctly. If you leave it unaddressed, it can cause a fire.

10. Buzzing Noises

If a buzzing noise comes from the circuit breaker, you want to replace it or have it inspected by a licensed technician. Buzzing can be a sign of the circuit breaker releasing sparks. To avoid a fire you may need to work with a skilled electrician to replace your circuit breakers.

10 Signs a Circuit Breaker Needs to Be Replaced

What Is an Overcurrent?

An overcurrent happens when the electrical current is too strong for the wire or equipment. A short circuit, overload, arc, or ground fault can cause it, leading to wire insulation damage, fires, and equipment malfunctions.

What Is an Overload?

An overload happens when the wire or equipment gets used over the standard capacity or limit. This can cause dangerous overheating and damage if you don’t address it.

What Is a Short Circuit?

Short circuits happen when a circuit’s current goes much higher than it should. As a result, it leaves its regular path and goes through a shortcut, bypassing the load and heading back to the power source.

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Circuit Breaker Parts

There are several parts to the circuit breaker, and identifying them will help you narrow down which one isn’t working correctly. They include:


The frame protects the circuit breaker’s internal parts from outside materials.

Operating Mechanism

This part allows you to close or open the circuit breaker.


Contacts let the current flow through your circuit breaker when it’s closed.

Arc Extinguisher

This part extinguishes an arc when your circuit breaker interrupts a fault.

Trip Unit

The operating mechanism will automatically open if there is a long-lasting overload or short circuit.


Electrical Panel Replacement and Installation Services

If a circuit breaker in your house needs to be replaced, give our professionals a call by phone at 1-800-642-4419 to book an appointment. Our team of local electricians in Greensboro, NC offer dependable electrical panel installation and replacement services for homes.

The technicians at our electrical company also offer solutions such as whole-house generator installation, ceiling fan replacement, circuit breaker installation, wiring maintenance, and lighting installation. Our expertise ensures that your electrical panel is installed correctly and functions efficiently. Whether you need an upgrade or repair, our electricians can handle all your electrical repair service needs.


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