How To Tell When Your Electrical Panel Is In Trouble
Most people probably don't give much thought to their home's electrical panel (aka breaker box) unless they need to venture out to it and reset a tripped breaker. But the truth is, the electrical panel is arguably the most important part of a home's electrical system, as it houses all of the circuit breakers for the entire home.
Whenever one of those breakers trips, the panel is doing its job and shutting off the flow of electrical current to prevent overloads or short-circuits. This is a critical safety mechanism designed to prevent electrical fires and electrocution. Suppose the electrical panel is failing or malfunctioning. In that case, it can create an extremely dangerous situation - so read on for a few of the most common signs that an electrical panel needs repairing or replacing!
Dimming or Flickering Lights
If lights in the house flicker or dim occasionally, it could simply mean that individual light bulbs are on their way out, but if this is a regular occurrence, it could point to an issue with the electrical panel. The circuit may be overloaded due to too many devices being plugged into the same circuit. Homeowners can test this by unplugging a few items from the outlets on that circuit and seeing if the problem persists.
Suppose a device overload isn't the problem. It could mean that the individual circuit breaker is faulty, the entire electrical panel needs replacing, or there's a damaged wire or short somewhere else in the system. If lights still flicker or dim after changing the bulbs and unplugging devices, it's time to call an electrician to diagnose the issue.
Smoke or Burning Smell Coming From the Electrical Panel
Another possibility is that an overload has occurred, but a faulty circuit breaker isn't closing the circuit. This could cause the breaker or other components to overheat and melt as electricity continues to flow through the circuit. The best option is to replace the electrical panel rather than the individual breaker if this happens.
These issues can rapidly escalate into a house fire. If homeowners notice a burning smell or smoke coming from their electrical panel, light switches, or outlets, they should immediately contact an emergency electrician.
The Panel Is Old or Outdated
Most electrical panels have an average life expectancy of around 30 years. Wear and tear ultimately brings them down, increasing the likelihood of a fault each year. But older panels also tend to use outdated technology, making them riskier.
For instance, today's average home contains more electronics than those built 30+ years ago, so older panels may simply be unable to handle the demand. Some very old homes still use fuses prone to fire hazards that have largely been phased out in favor of modern breakers.
If homeowners who live in an older house aren't sure when their electrical panel was installed, they can have their local electrician perform an electrical inspection to determine whether an electrical panel replacement is necessary and identify any other potential issues.
About Edison Electric, Inc.
The award-winning Edison Electric, Inc. has been Minneapolis's friendly neighborhood electrician since 2007. Their clean, courteous technicians are licensed, insured, background-checked, and drug-tested for every customer's safety and peace of mind. Edison guarantees up-front pricing, on-time arrival, and 100% satisfaction on every job, so there's no better choice for electrical panel repair in Minneapolis, MN!