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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    1

    Default 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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default 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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default 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.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Useful Life of breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    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.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Columbiana, Alabama
    Posts
    720

    Default 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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Useful Life of breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by The Semi-Retired Electric View Post
    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 .

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default 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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: Useful Life of breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    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 .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default 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.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default 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.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

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