There is some home maintenance and surveillance that you can do to ensure your circuit breakers don't cause any fire hazards. Here are some steps to take for fire safety with circuit breakers.
Don't Overload the Circuit Breaker
The first step to take is to make sure that you're not overusing a single circuit breaker. Your circuit breaker should have some information in the manual about the maximum capacity it can handle. You might need to consult an electrician, such as one from a place like Pearson Electric, Inc., to make sure that your home energy usage is under the recommended limits. If not, a second circuit breaker panel installation may be helpful.
Don't Overuse Extension Cords
At the same time, make sure that you're not overusing extension cords in your home. An extension cord creates more strain on your circuit breaker for every foot of additional wiring it adds to your home. Check with the electrician to make sure that your use of extension cords is at a safe maximum; in some cases, it may be a smart idea to install additional power outlets where you need them most.
Replace Older Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers do have a finite lifespan. Your circuit breaker might give you clues that it's ready to bite the dust when it begins to have more frequent outages. But the best way to tell if you should consider a circuit breaker panel installation is to consult an electrician who can give solid advice based on the age, model, capacity, and condition of your existing circuit breaker.
Watch for Appliance, Outlet and Switch Problems
Another sign of circuit breaker hazards is when your appliances and switches start to have issues. For example, you may begin to notice a slight buzz as you turn on a light switch. Your appliances might get charring on the metal prongs of their power cords. Or, you might notice that an outlet feels hot to the touch. If any of these is the case, contact an emergency electrician to rule out any urgent issues with your wiring or circuit breaker setup.
Test Your Home Wiring
You can get home testing equipment to test for problems with voltage and grounding in your home. When done on a regular basis, it can help you catch wiring and circuit breaker issues early on.
Track Circuit Breaker Issues
Finally, it's a good idea to keep track of all of the circuit breaker outages you have. While a few circuit breaker issues are not uncommon, it is uncommon to have the same issue occur repeatedly. It might signal that it's time for a new circuit breaker panel installation.