Tips On Fixing A Blown Circuit Breaker In Your Home

Depending on the age of the home you live in, the number of electrical appliances you run, and the last time the wiring was updated, you could have lots of blown fuses. The older homes, from decades ago, actually had small fuses that either screwed in or popped into the electrical panel. Those have largely been replaced with circuit breakers that can be reset many times before wearing out. There are some important things you need to take care of first though,
here’s a short guide.

Fuses Rarely Just Blow On Their Own

It does happen, especially if a circuit breaker has gotten old and has been flipped on, off, or blown many times. Their contacts can become worn, burnt, or other parts just wear out. Circuit breakers aren’t really supposed to be flipped on and off like normal switches, and doing that can cause early failure. It’s not a huge problem though, just something that you should be aware of.

When a fuse blows there are some things that you should check first before resetting the breaker. Knowing that there’s a reason why fuses blow, you should take the time to see what appliances are now off because of the blown fuse. Some electrical devices, especially those that generate heat like a heater, cooking appliances, or even air conditioners, use a lot of power. Check to see if you have more than one of those on the same circuit. You’ll be able to tell by what’s not running since the blown fuse.

If you find that you have several large appliances on the same circuit, that’s probably why it blew. If not, keep searching a bit to see what the real problem is. Just resetting the breaker is not a good idea without knowing the real cause of the failure. Fuses blow to protect your wiring from overheating and causing an electrical fire, so it’s important.

Check Your Circuit Breakers To See Which One Is Blown

You should take a flashlight with you if needed and open the electrical panel and look inside. You’ll see rows of what look like switches and one of them will look like it’s half-way turned off. That is the one that is blown. Look on the lable which should be next to each switch, to see what the main appliance or area of the home that is running through that breaker. If that doesn’t give you a good hint as to what’s running on that circuit, you’ll have to turn it back on to investigate further.

Flip the breaker switch all the way off and then all the way back on again and then wait a few seconds to see that it seems OK and doesn’t immediately flip back off. If it does, don’t force it, check to see what’s shorting it out. If not, go back up into the house and see what’s running now that wasn’t before. You most likely have too many high wattage appliances connected into the same circuit. Try moving one of the appliances to another circuit. Or, many times, it’s a mobile appliance like a vacuum cleaner combined with a stationary appliance like a heater and just moving one of them will solve your problem.

Sometimes The Circuit Breaker Is Just Bad

They do wear out and you may have a bad one. They usually aren’t very expensive as long as you have a common brand. You can write down the name of your fuse box, like Square D, and then call the local hardware or home improvement store to get an idea of how much they cost. Sometimes they’re very easy to replace, about 5 minutes, and sometimes more difficult. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you should call a professional and get help.

At least if you head down to the store and buy a replacement you’ll know how much that part is going to cost. Paying for an electrician will be a lot more, but it’s better to pay a little money, have it done right, and not get electrocuted trying to save a dollar.

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