The primary function of an electrical panel is to regulate the distribution of electrical current to the circuits in your home. In the event of an overload, the circuit breaker works by automatically shutting down the power source minimizing risks for electrical damages or injuries. If your electrical panel malfunctions, it won’t be able to do its functions efficiently. That’s when your electrical wiring can suffer from short-circuit or overheating which can be a potential shock and fire hazard.
Could Your Electrical Panel Be Posing a Hidden Risk for Electrical Hazards?
At the heart of your electrical wiring system at home is the electrical panel. A malfunctioning electrical panel can be a lurking electrical hazard and should be addressed as soon as possible before the problem could quickly escalate.
Below are signs that your electrical panel can be a ticking time bomb that could put your home and family in jeopardy:
- Flickering Lights
- Frequent Power Tripping
- Failure to Restart
- Hot to Touch
- A Constant Buzzing Sound
At the very least, when you notice any of these problems you should immediately contact a qualified technician to check the issue for you. Any work at the electrical panel can be dangerous and can cause deadly electric shocks. A mistake in the wiring configurations can result in a short circuit and may lead to an electrical fire. That said, it would be best to hire a professional electrician instead of attempting to do any work at the electrical panel on your own.
Electrical Panel Maintenance Tips
Even the most straightforward maintenance and prevention methods can go a long way to keep your electrical panel working at its best, thereby reducing the risks of potential electrical hazards. Here are a few electrical panel maintenance tips to help you get started:
- Watch out for signs of moisture or corrosion in your electrical panel.
- Look for any indications of deteriorations or wear and tear at the panel.
- Tighten loose wirings and connections which can cause power arching and overheating.
- Keep the doors or cover of your electrical panel closed to avoid dust and moisture contamination.
- Ideally, you should have your electrical panel checked by a licensed technician once a year, or at least once every three years. The technician can check whether or not your main circuit breaker has sufficient amperage capacity to support your home’s energy requirements and conduct wiring assessments to ensure your panel is in its excellent working condition.
Is Your Home At Risk?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2010 to 2014, an estimated annual average of 45,210 reported home fires in the United States involved electrical malfunction or failure. Your electrical panel plays a critical role in the supply and distribution of power throughout the subcircuits of your home. A malfunctioning electrical panel is a potential hazard that can cause electric shock injuries or worst ignite an electrical fire in your home.
If you have an older house, it is highly likely that your main distribution board uses fuses rather than circuit breakers. Fuse boxes can only handle up to 60 amps whereas most modern appliances will require 100 amps or more to function properly. This makes fuse boxes prone to overheating, and safety can be a pressing concern.
Moreover, it is vital that your electrical panel is capable of serving the full needs of your home’s entire electrical circuits. You may want to consider upgrading your electrical panel if your home’s current energy requirements have increased, say for instance you have added a new central air conditioning system, or you have acquired a new microwave oven, water heater, or other high-powered appliances.
The cost involved in the proactive maintenance of your electrical system is well worth the investment to keep your home and most importantly, your family safe. Proactive maintenance also allows you to detect any problems early on, saving you from expensive repairs and replacements later. Know that a minor problem at the electrical panel can quickly go worse, and the best way to avoid dealing with serious damages, later on, is by implementing a routine maintenance to be carried out by a professional electrician.