What to Do When Your Electric Breaker Panel Pops and Sizzles

man flipping a breaker in a circuit panel
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What You'll Need
Circuit breaker

When it comes to your electric breaker panel, there are a lot of things that you will have to keep in mind whenever you are attempting to fix it. If your electric breaker panel pops or sizzles, then this could be the indication that there is something very wrong with it. You will need to be sure that you take the necessary precautions to make sure that you are safe from electrical shock while evaluating what the problem with your circuit breaker panel might be.

Safety First

The first thing that you will need to do in this situation is to turn everything off. With everything shut down, you will not have to worry about any type of electrical current that may run through the breaker panel. You will need to be completely and totally sure that everything is turned off before you attempt to do anything further with your electric breaker panel. Typically, the main panel is in the garage or in a utility room. Do not attempt to look at your breaker panel until all power is turned off. Turn off the main circuit breaker, usually located at the top or the bottom of the box. Then test the circuit to make sure there is no current.

What to Look for

testing a circuit in circuit panel

One likely culprit is an overload caused by having too many electrical outlets plugged into a single room. If there is a need for more electricity than the breaker can provide, then this could cause the breaker to trip or cut off. This is done to prevent a fire because the overload of electricity would cause the wires to severely overheat. If there is a popping and a sizzling sound instead, this could mean that the breaker itself could be faulty. You will most likely have to get some breakers replaced as well as a buss bar. Of course, once this has happened, before you get the breakers and the buss bar replaced, you will need to go from room to room until you find the culprit. The room that requires too much electricity will need to be remedied.

When to Call an Electrician

An electrician will need to be called in most of these cases. If you do not have much experience in the matter of electricity problems, then you will benefit from a professional coming out. You will need them to look at your breaker as this problem is not one that happens to breakers that are in good working condition. You will need to be sure that they are able to recognize the problem so that they can get it fixed as soon as possible. When it comes to your electric breaker panel, you will need to be sure that you practice safety as these can be very dangerous to you and your home. A breaker panel that is not properly fixed could result in a fire or severe electric shock. An electrician will also be able to help you to figure out which room will need to have fewer electrical outlets in use. It is not always a matter of the most electrical plug-ins being used as much as it is a matter of how much electricity is required for each item that is plugged in.