The circuit breaker for our kitchen will always trip if we use two appliances at once. So we try to avoid doing that. But it's tripped dozens of times through the past 30 years. What happened lately is the kitchen lights would flicker and eventually all kitchen power would go out. Yet the circuit breaker didn't trip. I flipped it off and back on and that worked and everything was fine for 2 days. This morning the lights in the kitchen were flickering again and then off went the power to the kitchen. Again the circuit breaker hadn't tripped. I tried flipping it again off and back on and nothing. But when it's flipped to the on position I can hear a faint crackling noise coming from that circuit that goes away when flipped off. So I have two questions.

Do you think it's a bad breaker? And if it turns out to be that, should we replace it with a larger capacity one? This one has a 20 on it.

  • Do just the lights go out, or lights and outlets? Are any of the outlets GFI?
    – mmathis
    Aug 18, 2016 at 17:39
  • This is one of those situations where if you try to fix it yourself you might hurt someone, or worse. Highly recommend getting a qualified electrician out to look at it.
    – SDsolar
    Feb 27, 2017 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


NO! This is not a bad breaker.

NO! DO NOT replace the breaker with a larger one.

YES, please call an electrician. This situation needs to be troubleshooted by someone with the knowledge to do so properly.

The "faint crackling noise" is wires arcing, and possibly burning. This is a BAD thing. PLEASE, leave the circuit OFF and call someone.

  • I agree with @Speedy - get an electrician to look this over. You can consider all this to be a warning. From the OP it sounds like things are getting worse, not better. If it were me I would want to get this fixed before something yet worse happens.
    – SDsolar
    Feb 27, 2017 at 17:53

It may be bad. But don't replace it with a larger one unless you can confirm that ALL the wires making up the circuit are adequate for the higher current. The next step up from a 15 amp breaker would be 20 amp. This would require 12 gauge wire.

It's unlikely that they used 12 gauge wire but only put a 15 amp breaker on it - the breaker is probably sized properly for the wire.

Where does the "faint crackling noise" come from? The breaker, or somewhere else in the circuit?

  • 1
    He says the breaker is already a 20A. It would not be safe or legal to put anything larger in on a circuit such as this. Aug 19, 2016 at 0:03
  • I think that's an edit - pretty sure it didn't say 20A originally Aug 19, 2016 at 13:38
  • This is a job for an electrician. It would be a shame to have a child get hurt before taking that step.
    – SDsolar
    Feb 27, 2017 at 17:53

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