The electrical panel (a.k.a. circuit breaker box, or “fuse” box) is the central switching station of the electricity in your house. All the electrical current coming from the municipal grid enters the panel, where it divides into the different circuits for the outlets and fixtures in the house. To protect the electrical system in case of shorts and other problems, breakers are designed to trip and stop the current to a circuit.
It’s easy to take the electrical panel in a house for granted. You know where it is (we hope, if not go find out now) and you may occasionally need to reset a breaker if there’s a short in the house. A few tripped circuit breakers through the years is no big deal. In fact, it shows the panel is doing what it’s supposed to do.
The electrical panel, however, wears down and ages like any electrical appliance. It will need an upgrade one day—and that day may be just around the corner.
How to Tell You Need an Electrical Panel Upgrade
We’ll start with one of the more obvious ones: you don’t have circuit breakers in your electrical panel, because you have a fuse box. The fuses will burn out if they overheat, cutting the electrical flow. Although fuse boxes once did the job, they are no longer installed—and if you have one, we strongly urge you to schedule electrical services in Olympia, WA to have it exchanged for a circuit breaker electrical panel.
The trouble with fuses—aside from the inconvenience of having to replace them when they burn out rather than simply flip a breaker switch—is they cannot handle the higher voltage demands in homes unless bigger and bigger fuses are put in. This is, unfortunately, a big fire hazard and is not up to local code. Please don’t keep the fuse box around out of nostalgia. It’s not like a 1940s radio set!
But circuit breaker panels become outdated as well, and there are some ways to tell. The most obvious is when tripped breakers start to become a common occurrence. If only a single circuit keeps tripping, the issue may be with the appliance or fixture plugged into it. If many different breakers are tripping, the panel is probably starting to fail.
An electrical fire in the panel is also a warning to get a new one. Often you won’t see these fires, but you’ll see evidence of them. Black scorch marks on the panel should never be ignored! And if you notice a burning electrical smell from the panel, this is another huge warning that the panel has had electrical fires.
Call Electrical Professionals
Never attempt to replace the electrical panel on your own or let a “handyperson” do it. The replacement work must be done by an electrician with a license. It’s not only essential to ensure the panel does the job it’s supposed to, it’s essential to keep you and your household safe.
At Resicon LLC, we are committed to improving the lives of our customers. Schedule service in the Greater Tacoma Area.