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Can circuit breakers wear out?

Circuit breakers can wear out over time and will need to be replaced although this isn’t a regular or common issue.

Most people will blame their circuit breakers for power trips or if there is no power to power points. The majority of the time it has nothing to do with a faulty circuit breaker rather overloading of the circuit, short circuit or a ground fault.

Burnt Circuit Breaker

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The main factors which can indicate your circuit breaker need replacing include:

  1. Burning smell or burned spots - When checking your switchboard if you can see signs of burning on either the circuit breaker itself or on the panel this is most likely due to a broken or malfunctioning circuit breaker. Please keep in mind that this could also be due to other reasons.
  2. Hot circuit breaker - If your circuit breaker feels really hot especially when trying to flip the switch on the breaker itself is either shot or overloaded.
  3. Won’t stay reset - if your circuit breaker frequently trips and won’t stay set for very long you may have a faulty breaker.
  4. Old style ceramic fuse - if your switchboard contains old-style ceramic fuses it’s definitely time for an upgrade. This type of switchboard and rewireable porcelain fuse is not designed to cope with the increased electrical appliance use in modern homes.

If you notice any of these signs you should turn your power off immediately and call your local licenced electrician. Your electrician will be able to work out if the issue is a faulty circuit breaker or another problem within your electrical system or appliances.

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