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Do I need an Electrician to Upgrade my Circuit Breaker?

submitted on 28 July 2020 by
Does Your Circuit Breaker Trip Often?
If your answer is yes, what do you do about it? Most people will just reset the breaker without thinking about finding the actual cause of the problem. Continuing to reset the breaker without fixing the issue will eventually weaken the overload protection of the system. Think about it, the breaker trips for a reason, and it is usually to protect you from overload in the current. That is usually an indication that you need to upgrade your electrical panel. Instead of constantly resetting the breaker, call a licensed electrician and have him take a look at it and find the cause.

Can a Homeowner Replace a Circuit Breaker?
Let's say you figured that you need a new circuit breaker. Should you try do it yourself? Well, if you are not an electrician the answer is no. Working on a circuit breaker poses many dangers if you are not qualified to do so. There are many videos DIY out there, however when it comes to your safety this may not be worth the risk. Moreover, in many states a permit is needed to upgrade a circuit breaker. That is because of the danger it poses. Furthermore, there could be so many more things to fix along with getting a new circuit breaker, such as wiring. It is best if you find a trusted and experienced electrician to take care of it.

What do I need to Ask Before Hiring an Electrician to Upgrade my Panel?
You should ask if they are experienced and if they have the right insurance. Here in Oahu, and hopefully around the entire US, most electricians will offer to check out your house and confirm what work needs to be done. They usually do quotes for free and you should feel more comfortable about hiring an electrician that does so.

Other Things to Consider When Replacing a Circuit Breaker
If you have an older home with no over-current protection on the outside of the house, this is the time to change that! That is another reason why it is wise to have the electrician check out your place before giving you a quote. Having an over-current protection on the outside of the house is part of the current electrical code and should not be overlooked. Not doing so, will make your house fail a home inspection, and more seriously, create a potential risk for fire. Moreover, there is a good chance you will need some new wiring along with the breaker. That is to allow for a larger amount of current without overheating the wires. Finally, if you needed to add an exterior breaker, you also will need some work for electrical grounding, GFCIs, and smoke detectors.

When dealing with circuit breakers tripping or corroded, its best to have a licensed electrician troubleshoot the cause and figure out what the best solution is. For most it will be a panel upgrade along with some wiring. A good electrician will explain to you why and how they are going to do it. That way you can trust in their work and feel safe.
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