Your breaker box (technically known as an electrical service panel) is not something you spend a whole lot of time thinking about.  Nestled away in the furnace room or utility room, it is out of sight and out of mind.  That is until a circuit trips, at which point you reset it, and the problem is generally solved.

But what happens when a circuit should break and doesn’t?  That could cause major problems, including fires.  Here’s why.
The main purpose of a breaker is to prevent overheating and overloading of circuits, which can lead to a fire.  When the circuit gets overheated or overloaded, it should shut off, or trip.  But sometimes – more often than you might think – the breaker does not trip, increasing the risk of overheating.

How can you avoid this potentially dangerous problem?  It’s as simple as 1-2-3.

  1. Find the brand name and model number of your circuit breaker, which should be on the inside of the panel door.  Do an Internet search to see if there have been any problems with the product.  If so, call a licensed electrical contractor to have your box checked out and possibly replaced.
  2. Do some spot checking yourself.  Turn on any electrical device that is plugged into an outlet on the breaker circuit you are testing.  Turn the breaker off.  If the device is still running, you have a problem.  Call a licensed electrical contractor immediately.
  3. Have a licensed electrical contractor inspect your breaker box on an annual basis.  This inspection will cost some money obviously, and replacing a panel can cost between $1,000 and $2,000.  But that is a small price to pay to prevent a fire that can destroy your home and put your family at risk