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A breaker box plays an essential role in your home’s electrical system. It keeps electricity flowing safely and protects against electrical surges by cutting off the power as necessary. Knowing how to identify the signs that you need a replacement will help keep you safe.

Here are some signs you need a breaker box replacement.

Signs That You Need a Breaker Box Replacement

Call an electrician if you notice any of the following signs your breaker box has a problem.

Breaker Box Keeps Tripping

A circuit breaker’s function is to interrupt electricity flow if a fault is detected. Frequently tripped breakers might signal the need for a new breaker box.

Circuit Breaker Trips When Appliances Are Plugged In

A fully functional breaker box should be able to handle your home’s power demands. You likely have a problem when multiple appliances or electronics are plugged in and the breaker trips. 

Emission of Burning Smell

a closeup of a smoky circuit

If you smell burnt plastic or wood, check your breaker box. This may happen as the insulation of the electrical wire melts or the wood and insulation in your walls become scorched.

Old Breaker Box

The average lifespan of a breaker box is 25–40 years, but this can vary because of power surges, wear and tear or defects. If your breaker box is over 25 years old, have it inspected by an electrician.

Outdated Fuse-Based Electrical System

A fuse’s job is the same as a circuit breaker’s job— to interrupt the flow of electricity. When a fuse blows, fuse-based electrical panels are often overtaxed until the fuse is replaced. 

If you have a breaker box with fuses, install an updated one with circuit breakers. Some homeowners’ insurance companies charge more to cover homes with outdated breaker boxes.

Presence of Rust or Corrosion

a rusty exterior circuit breaker

Rust or corrosion indicates water damage to your box. Water coming in contact with a breaker box can cause electrocution, and corroded components can cause breaker malfunctions and electrical fires. 

Produces Weird Sounds

Monitor any buzzing or hissing sound from a breaker box. These sounds can mean there is a bad wire or loose electrical connection.

Breaker Box Feels Hot When Touched

A breaker box regulates how hot an electrical system becomes. Overheating should trigger a tripped circuit breaker to protect your home from a potential electrical fire.

If you notice your electrical panel is warm or hot to the touch, it is best to have a professional electrician take a look.

To Add or Upgrade to Large Appliances

an assortment of large appliances

A new large appliance may have a higher electrical draw than your old appliance. If your breaker box is at capacity, it will need to be replaced before your new appliance can run safely.

To Add Additional Outlets

If you don’t have enough outlets in your home, do not add a power strip. It can overtax the outlet. If there is room on your breaker box, an electrician can add additional circuits to accommodate new outlets.

However, if your current box can’t take additional circuits, you will need to have it replaced to install more outlets.

When the Breaker Box Has Received Direct Damage

Perhaps a heavy item fell on your breaker box, or a car pulling into the garage hit it. If your electrical panel has received direct damage, you should have an electrical technician replace it to be safe.

US Electric: Your Breaker Box Experts

an electrician works on a circuit breaker

When it comes to your electrical system, you should take maintenance seriously. Only hire dependable, skilled, and certified electricians to ensure your electrical system’s best condition and safety.

Experts from US Electric are always ready to assist with all your electrical project needs.