Electrical Safety tips from Kelowna Electricians at Epic Electric
The circuit breaker is an important solution to a very real potential hazard. From planes, trains and automobiles to the appliances in your own home, they are an essential safety component in any electrical system. A circuit breaker is an electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by an overload or short circuit. Proper maintenance of your circuit breaker is essential to protecting the electrical safety and structural integrity of your home. Read on to discover whether it may be time to have your circuit breaker or panels checked.
Whenever electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through it, the circuit breaker cuts the power until the problem is located and fixed. Without circuit breakers (or the alternative, fuses), household electricity would be unsafe because of the potential for fires and other damage (e.g. electrocution) resulting from wiring problems or appliance failures.
REPAIR OR REPLACE?
Determining whether your circuit breaker needs repairing or replacing depends on a variety of factors. First, check the age of your circuit breaker, because if you have an outdated or unsafe circuit breaker, then this may have severe consequences to your property and person. One way to determine the age is to check the back board. If it’s wooden, your circuit breaker could date all the way back to the 1950s. These old circuit breakers often have cast iron or ceramic fuse holders, poor access to the fuses for maintenance purposes, and steel outer cases. In contrast, modern circuit breakers for residential properties are made of plastic. This is very important, so discover whether it’s time to modernise.
Another telltale sign for repair or replacement is if your circuit breaker keeps tripping for no apparent reason, or for a reason you can’t identify. A recurring fault is a sure sign that the circuit breaker is in need of maintenance. Another reason is that your lights keep flickering and your don’t know why, or the fuse wire on the circuit breaker keeps blowing fuses. This could be occurring when you try to use one or more household appliances. Repeated blown fuses are not only annoying but if left unchecked could pose a potential fire hazard. Another reason may be that if you have expanded your house and your current circuit breaker is too small and can’t handle the modern appliances in your home.
LEAVE IT TO THE PROS
To fully replace your circuit breaker can be a complicated, labour-intensive job and will take a professional electrician up to a day to complete. A repair to your circuit breaker would of course take less time but is no less important to maintaining the safety of your home and the people living in it.
While the work is being done, the electrical power to your home will be off. After the new circuit breaker has been installed, a full electrical inspection test will be carried out and any minor faults fixed. Even if you can’t afford a complete rewire, if your home’s wiring is quite old it is highly recommend that you add the protection of safety switches and an improved circuit breaker.
Repairing or replacing your circuit breaker is a difficult and important job. Under no circumstance hire a person to conduct electrical work in your home unless they are a fully qualified electrician. It’s not enough that a person ‘is good with electronics’; always put the structural integrity of your house and the safety of your person first.