Dealing with bad breakers

Breakers are essential components of your home’s electrical system, designed to protect your property from electrical overloads and fires. However, like all electrical components, breakers can malfunction or wear out over time, leading to various issues. Dealing with bad breakers requires a combination of understanding the signs of a faulty breaker, troubleshooting the problem, and knowing when to call a professional electrician for assistance. In this guide, we’ll explore common signs of bad breakers, how to troubleshoot them, and when it’s time to seek professional help.

Signs of Bad Breakers:

Frequent Tripping: One of the most common signs of a bad breaker is frequent tripping. If your breaker trips often, it could indicate that it’s overloaded or faulty.

Burn Marks: Burn marks on the breaker panel or a burning smell near the panel are clear signs of a problem. These indicate that the breaker is overheating and needs immediate attention.

Buzzing or Humming Sounds: Breakers should operate silently. If you hear buzzing or humming sounds coming from the breaker panel, it could indicate loose wiring or a faulty breaker.

Hot to the Touch: A breaker that feels hot to the touch is a sign of overheating. This could be caused by overloading, a faulty breaker, or loose connections.

Flickering Lights: If your lights flicker or dim frequently, it could be due to a bad breaker. This is especially true if the flickering is accompanied by other signs of a faulty breaker.

Tripped Breaker Won’t Reset: If you try to reset a tripped breaker, but it immediately trips again, it could indicate a more serious problem with the breaker or the circuit.

Troubleshooting Bad Breakers:

If you suspect you have a bad breaker, follow these steps to troubleshoot the issue:

Identify the Problem Circuit: Determine which circuit is affected by the bad breaker. This can help you narrow down the cause of the problem.

Reset the Breaker: Try resetting the breaker by turning it off and then back on. If it trips immediately, there may be a short circuit or overload on the circuit.

Check for Overloading: Make sure the circuit is not overloaded by unplugging some devices and appliances from the circuit.

Inspect for Damage: Visually inspect the breaker for any signs of damage, such as burn marks or a burning smell. If you find any, the breaker needs to be replaced.

Test the Breaker: Use a multimeter to test the breaker for continuity. If it does not have continuity, it is faulty and needs to be replaced.

When to Call a Professional:

While some breaker issues can be resolved on your own, others require the expertise of a professional electrician. Here are some signs that indicate you should call a professional:

Repeated Tripping: If a breaker continues to trip after troubleshooting, there may be a more serious issue with the circuit that requires professional attention.

Burn Marks or Smells: If you notice burn marks or a burning smell near the breaker panel, do not attempt to repair it yourself. Call a professional immediately.

Flickering Lights: If your lights flicker or dim frequently, especially in conjunction with other signs of a bad breaker, it’s best to have a professional inspect the circuit.

Hot Breakers: If a breaker feels hot to the touch, it indicates overheating and should be checked by a professional.


Dealing with bad breakers requires a combination of vigilance, understanding, and knowing when to seek professional help. By recognizing the signs of a bad breaker and taking appropriate action, you can protect your home from electrical hazards and ensure the safety of your electrical system. If you’re ever unsure about dealing with a bad breaker, don’t hesitate to call a professional electrician for assistance.

By Admin

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