Electrical-related issues are one of the top causes of house fires. You can prevent them through proper care of your electrical panel in many cases.
Electrical panels perform a vital function in our homes, and for your safety, it's essential to know when to call a professional when you experience issues.
Read to be well-informed of the function of your electrical panel and when to call for professional service.
The Purpose of Electrical Panels
The panel is responsible for power distribution to your home. Electricity feeds from your utility company's source and runs to the panel, where it splits into the various circuits throughout the panel.
These circuits are dedicated to specific areas or appliances in your home. The circuit breakers are there to "break" the flow of electricity in the case of a fault or surge.
The panel configuration allows for the convenience of having the power distribution to your home in one location.
Components of Your Electrical Panel
First, know where to locate the electrical panel box. The gray metal box most likely rests in your garage or basement. Other locations of electrical panels could be:
- A hallway leading outdoors or near the garage
- A closet near the kitchen or laundry
- Outdoors, usually only in the case of older homes
The panel itself consists of an outer door with a latch. The door swings out to reveal circuit breaker switches. Only the black toggle switches are visible; a protective covering hides their wiring.
You may also notice open or spare spaces to add more breaker switches.
Don't take the chance of experiencing a serious electrical issue in your home. Here are three reasons you shouldn't hesitate to contact a professional. Each of them is a warning sign of a potentially serious electrical problem.
1. Rusted or Corroded Parts
Rust and corrosion most likely mean water damage, a serious issue for electrical parts. The rust and corrosion will continue to spread and can result in the failure of appliances or fire. It's important not to touch these electrical components and address them immediately.
2. Breakers Constantly Tripping
A circuit overload results from pushing a circuit to provide more electricity than its capacity allows. If there are too many appliances or electronic devices running on that one circuit, it will trip your breaker. An electrician will need to add new dedicated circuits to your panel.
A short circuit could also be the culprit and is a little more serious. This means a hot wire has touched a neutral wire. The results of a short circuit could be a broken appliance, extreme heat, and even a fire hazard.
3. Flickering or Dimming Lights
Lights can flicker or become dim for minor issues like a faulty lightbulb or loose connection from a plug to an outlet. If the occurrence is persistent and severe, a professional needs to investigate. Flickering and dimming lights can be due to fluctuations in electrical voltage, old wiring, or a fault in your main connection.
Electrical Panel Replacement
The age of your electrical panel is a good indicator of when it might be time to upgrade. Most electrical panels have a life span of approximately 25-50 years.
With proper inspection, maintenance, and care, your panel will likely last quite a while. However, an electrical panel upgrade may be necessary if you live in an older home or experience consistent problems with your current panel.
Allow a Professional to Handle Your Panel
For long-term peace of mind and safety for your family, hire a skilled electrician to inspect and repair your electrical service panel.
Electrical panels often require the attention of a skilled electrician. Contact us today to schedule service or consult with one of our knowledgeable professionals.