All of the power outlets in your home are fed from a single source of electricity that starts at the breaker panel, also commonly known as the control panel, circuit breaker or breaker box. This device is what downgrades the electricity coming from the power lines on your street to a load your home can handle, or the standard 120/240 volts. Older homes used to have fuses instead of circuit breakers, but these units are ill-equipped to handle the demands of modern-day living.
Circuit Breaker Safety
Every breaker box features a series of individual breakers separated into two rows. Each breaker is responsible for transferring electricity to particular wires, which is why you will notice that turning a certain one off will kill the power to multiple rooms or outlets. Some high-load devices like washers and dryers and A/C units require dedicated lines, meaning they are the only unit powered by a particular breaker.
Circuit Breaker Maintenance
The purpose of circuit breakers is to prevent electricity overload that can be caused by lightning storms and excessive current draw from within your house. If the current passing through the breaker is too high, it will trip off and need to be reset before the power can be restored. Tripped switches are very common and do not warrant repair, though if a specific breaker continues to turn off on a regular basis, it could be the result of faulty wiring or malfunctioning internal parts. Frequently blown fuses are a strong indication that your house is in need of a control panel upgrade.
Whenever you add electrical wiring or install new devices in or outside of your home, your circuit breaker might show signs of problems. This does not mean the installation of landscape lighting or a lawn sprinkler system is the cause of the issue but rather that the breaker may have been experiencing issues beforehand that are now noticeable. Inclement weather and neighborhood power outages are the more frequent causes of circuit breaker damage. Sometimes the electrical load is too high for a breaker to safely handle, and as a result, it will burn out.
Circuit Breaker Repair
Whatever the cause, malfunctioning circuit breakers are a major hazard that should be fixed immediately. The potential for an electrical fire or sustained damage to your home's control panel is real, so call the Atlanta electrical contractors at Pat Murphy Electric the moment you notice an issue presents itself. Our qualified Atlanta technicians will replace your old or non-working breakers and can also upgrade the breaker box if necessary.