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amarkun
Useful Life of breaker

What is the useful life of a breaker and are new breakers more efficient? My house was built in 1986 and we are trying to become more energy efficient. Any input would be appreciated.

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Useful Life of breaker

As long as the breakers aren't tripping all the time or are broken, they should last a lifetime. They use no power and are simply safety switches to protect your home. New breakers will look all nice and shiny, but won't save you a dime in energy usage.

dj1
Re: Useful Life of breaker

Houstonremodeler is correct, there is no set "life" for a breaker. Breakers wear out for different reasons.
let me add this: protect your breakers from the elements if your electric panel is outdoors, by having the panel box tightly closed at all times.

canuk
Re: Useful Life of breaker
HoustonRemodeler wrote:

As long as the breakers aren't tripping all the time or are broken, they should last a lifetime. They use no power and are simply safety switches to protect your home. New breakers will look all nice and shiny, but won't save you a dime in energy usage.

Ditto on Houston's post. New breakers won't add to any energy efficient gains.

Re: Useful Life of breaker

Amarkun, if the breakers aren't tripping I would turn on all the lights and plug heavy loads into the receptacles etc. and would run my hand over the plastic breaker faces, If they don't feel hot or have a sizzle sound or smell I would do nothing.

If things don't seem right I would upgrade to the AFCI (arc flash current interrupter) type which started to become mandatory in the 2008 Code in all 120V single pole circuits which don't require GFCI protection.

120V single pole circuits in wet locations that require GFCI (ground fault current interrupter) protection can be replaced with GFCI breakers.

Such an upgrade would greatly lessen the shock hazards in your home and lessen the risk of electrical fires. And, increase the
value, of your home.

Good Luck from Wilsonville, Alabama
Maurice Turgeon, http://thesemi-retiredelectrician

WitchDoctor
Re: Useful Life of breaker
The Semi-Retired Electric wrote:

And, increase the
value, of your home.

Good Luck from Wilsonville, Alabama
Maurice Turgeon, http://thesemi-retiredelectrician

I passed this by a Realtor . She laughed .

dj1
Re: Useful Life of breaker

WitchDoctor,

Your realtor won't be laughing too long: AFCI breakers are becoming the new code, except where GFCIs are used, in an increasing number of cities.

WitchDoctor
Re: Useful Life of breaker
dj1 wrote:

WitchDoctor,

Your realtor won't be laughing too long: AFCI breakers are becoming the new code, except where GFCIs are used, in an increasing number of cities.

Of course they are , and that has nothing to do with it . A few hundred dollars worth of circuit breakers is not going to increase the value of a home . Especially if they are required anyway .

dj1
Re: Useful Life of breaker

WitchDoctor,

"a few hundred dollars worth of circuit breakers is not to increase the value of a home..."

Lets say that there are two identical homes on the market, home A has all brand new AFCIs and home B doesn't. A buyer comes along, and his broker mentions this fact to him, plus stresses that it's the new code, plus it gives home A more protection, plus someday it may be more expensive to insure a home without it. 99 out of 100 buyers will purchase home A.

Isn't that more value? Ask your realtor, she's smart, she'll tell you.

In today's "buyer's market" sellers are looking for an edge over their competition everywhere they can.

canuk
Re: Useful Life of breaker

Isn't the requirement to have AFCI breakers for *new* circuits?

In which case existing circuit breakers that aren't AFCI are grandfathered in and don't need to be replaced -- yes ?

If so then all the talk about increased value is really a moot point in my opinion.

dj1
Re: Useful Life of breaker

canuk,

Yes, AFCIs are required for new construction only. For NOW.

Yes, older construction doesn't have to be brought up to code. For NOW.

As we've seen in the past, in time, temporary laws or partials laws tend to become the going law.

But if a homeowner decides to upgrade his entire house now, and some homeowners are doing just that, he does increase the value of his home, or at least makes it more attractive if it's for sale. It's optional, for NOW.

New codes are put in place as a result of disasters. In many home and business fires, they traced the causes to the electrical system. Therefore they placed this new requirement.

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