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What Does It Mean When the Breaker Box Is Hot?

Mike Smith

A circuit breaker, or breaker box, makes sure that none of the electrical circuits in your home draws a dangerous amount of energy. This safety feature prevents electrical fires. If your circuit breaker is excessively hot, there is likely a serious problem.


As electricity flows through the copper wires, it naturally meets resistance. This resistance causes some heat to be released. If the breaker detects an amount of current that would create a dangerous amount of heat, it "trips," or breaks, the circuit.

Excessive Heat

Circuit breakers normally are about as warm as the power inverter in a laptop or other appliances plug. You should also be concerned if it is too warm to the touch. Your breaker box is malfunctioning if you notice a burning smell coming from it or can see any smoke.


Shut off the power by flipping the breaker's main switch if you suspect a serious problem. Contact a professional to diagnose the circuit breaker's malfunction. If it is becoming excessively hot, it likely needs to be replaced,