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How Long Can You Leave a Circuit Breaker Off to Keep It Safe?

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how long can you leave a circuit breaker off

How long can you leave a circuit breaker off? Is it safe to leave a circuit breaker off for a long time? Is it bad to turn a breaker off when you go outside?

The circuit breaker off position doesn’t harm the device. You can even keep it in that position for a year or more. However, every time you switch your circuit breaker, it does take a little bit of damage—that’s why it’s not recommended to turn the breaker on or off unnecessarily.

How Long to Leave Breaker Off to Keep It Safe and Save Electricity


It doesn’t matter how long you leave a circuit breaker off. However, as said earlier, it takes minor damage every time you turn it off and on. In other words, the life of your circuit breaker doesn’t depend on the length of time it’s off but how frequently you switch it.

Because of this, it’s not ideal for turning off your breaker every time you leave your house. Doing so may reduce its lifespan, thus requiring you to purchase a replacement sooner than expected. Instead, you should only do this when you’re leaving your residence for an extended period—like a long vacation.

Furthermore, while turning off your main breaker may help you save a little bit of electricity, you run the risk of damaging your appliances. That’s because when you turn on your breaker, you run the possibility of having a short but significant electrical surge. This phenomenon could damage your plugged appliances.

So, if you want to save on power without turning off your breaker, here are some tips you can follow.

1. Unplug All Your Appliances

Most appliances, even when turned off, consume a small amount of electricity. So, unplugging them from the wall outlet ensures that they don’t get any power at all. This technique also ensures that your appliances remain unaffected in case a power surge happens while you’re away.

2. Use Energy-efficient Appliances

Homeowners should choose Energy Star appliances, which consume up to 50% less power than devices without this certification. Switch to a newer, more efficient model if you’re using an old conventional dryer, washer, or fridge. These machines often make up a huge part of an energy bill.

Should I Turn off AC Circuit Breaker When It’s Not in Use

Yes, you should turn off your AC circuit breaker when it’s not in use, especially during the winter season. By doing so, you can reduce phantom power consumption, thus saving on your electrical bills. Because even though this consumption is barely noticeable, little savings here and there will go a long way.


Knowing other ways of saving power, aside from switching off your circuit breaker, will reduce the likelihood of damage to your appliances while extending the expected lifespan of your breakers.

How long can you leave a circuit breaker off? Leaving a breaker off for long periods doesn’t affect its quality. Instead, it’s the frequency of turning breakers on and off that shortens their life.

So, did you learn something from this article that you can apply when you leave your house? Do you have other ways of saving electricity without turning off the breaker? Share them in the comments below to help others!

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