Is It Time To Replace My Breaker? | Lakeview Electric

Luckily for us, a breaker replacement is not a routine repair like swapping furnace filters or lightbulbs. Of course, that also means that when it comes time to replace a breaker, it is often out of safety or operational necessity.

A breaker replacement involves many high-voltage connections, and repairs are best left to an expert. The typical lifespan of your electrical breaker system will be between 30-40 years, meaning for most, the urgency is far off. However, bearing in mind the operational limits of your breaker offers the potential for not only enhanced safety but higher system capacity, performance, and property value through a possible replacement.

Curious what signs you should be looking for when your breaker is at the end of its lifespan? Below are the sights, smells, and other distinguishing features that warn you of an inevitable loss in breaker system performance.


The ideal breaker is one you don’t have to think about. Since total reliability is the goal for safety and convenience, the following disruptions are a few visual cues that something is amiss with the circuits:

  • Flickering of lights or frequent bulb replacements.
  • Unreliable power flowing to appliances, leading to outages.
  • Frequent breaker trips when applying normal amounts of power to circuits.

If these are causing you trouble, visually inspect your breaker. If you notice charring, sparking, or any of the following cues, safely disengage the power and phone a professional to inspect the board for safety.


The idea of a foul-smelling board is fairly self-explanatory—there should never be a burning plastic or metal smell originating from your circuit breaker. If you notice smoke, charring, or any signs of damage caused by the regular functioning of your circuit breaker, consult a professional to address the issue safely.

Circuits installed prior to 1960 are especially prone to these outages since they rely on fuses to function—a method that has since been replaced with higher-efficiency electrical circuits.


Noticeable heat output is a sure sign that your circuit box is in need of replacement. Not addressing the problem can lead to the breakdown of the panel, electrical shorts inside your walls, or costly damage to your appliances—up to and including their complete breakage. 

Being aware of these sights, smells, and physical cues will allow you to prevent the damage that comes as a result of a faulty panel.

When upgrading or repairing, seek out the help of an expert—contact us today to get started on assessments, improvement opportunities, or long-term value adds for your property.

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