Most homeowners only have a vague idea of what their electrical panel is and where it is located. It is the large box that is mounted where all the electrical service enters your house. And hopefully, yours has many circuit breakers in it rather than fuses. If you still have a fuse box in your home, it is well past time for an electrical panel upgrade to a breaker panel. Fuses are far less safe and effective. However, just because you have breakers does not mean that you do not need an electrical panel upgrade. Understanding what that electrical panel does will help you understand why it needs to be in top condition and a current model.
The Job Of Your Electrical Panel
This single box is where all of the power enters your home and is then distributed to the different rooms and areas in various circuits. And each of these circuits is controlled or managed by a breaker housed in the electrical panel. These breakers are safety features that trip when there is an electrical issue in your home or the electricity entering your home. By tripping, it stops the flow of power to prevent wires overheating or sparks that could start an electrical fire. So having a current and perfectly functioning electrical panel is essential for the safety of your home.
How An Electrical Panel Can Fail
As you now know, one of the most important jobs of the electrical panel is to protect your home from power surges, shorts, and other electrical issues. However, as the breakers age, they can become less and less reliable. You might even notice that when a breaker trips, it is tough to reset, or possibly you cannot reset it at all. That is a clear indication that the breaker is worn out and not providing the level of safety that you need for your home and family.
Unfortunately, unless you have your electrical system inspected regularly, you might not discover an issue until it is too late. For example, a breaker could fail to trip, resulting in an electrical fire in your home. Had a licensed electrician inspected the electrical panel, that issue would have been discovered and corrected to ensure the safety of your home.
Signs Of An Old Or Outdated Electrical Panel
As we mentioned, any electrical panel still using fuses is severely outdated. However, there are also signs that a breaker panel needs to be replaced. If you hear crackling sounds coming from the electrical box, it is warm to the touch, or it smells like smoke or burnt toast, it is time to call an electrician immediately. These are signs of a severe issue and safety hazard that needs professional attention.
Another Easy Way To Date Your Home’s Electrical System
If all the outlets in your home have two slots for two-prong plugs, then the wiring will be over 30 years old and should be inspected and possibly replaced along with the outdated electrical panel. Another clear indication of a very old electrical system is a home with no GFCI outlets. These are the outlets with the tiny red button in the center. They are required to be in potentially moist areas of your home like the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry area. If you do not have these GFCI outlets, it is safe to assume that the electrical panel is also outdated and needs a professional safety inspection.
Call (703) 463-9866 to schedule an inspection or electrical panel upgrade. The licensed electricians at Circuit Doctors always provide a price quote and full warranty on all our work.