If You Haven’t Looked at Your Electrical Panel Recently, Read This!

Electricity is one of those things we get on demand in our homes. But if the electrical panel doesn’t work, neither does the seemingly lightning-fast power. Without our electrical panels, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we love.

In this article, you will learn what the electrical panel is, what it does, how to test the panel to ensure it is properly functioning, and when it’s time for a replacement.

It can be hard to know the age of your panel just by looking at it. So, by the end of this article, you will also know whether or not it’s time to call an electrical contractor for an electrical panel upgrade.

What Is an Electrical Panel, and What is its Main Function? 

An electrical panel is responsible for distributing and regulating the electricity needed to power the appliances, fixtures, and devices in your home. This panel is vital for every home and is the reason we have electricity at our fingertips at all times (so long as it’s functioning, that is).

The electrical panel, also known as the breaker box, accepts electricity from the main wire. This electricity comes directly from the electric company through a service cable. Once the panel receives this electricity, it is then distributed.

The panel, and therefore the service cable, is connected to three wires that make up the electricity feed. The electricity that these wires provide is distributed to the various circuits in your home, which then feed electricity to each appliance and outlet.

There are individual circuit breakers within the panel. These circuit breakers are wired to specific circuits that distribute electricity in the form of amps. However, different appliances and fixtures will require differently sized amps. Here’s a comprehensive list of amp size and what it supplies:

  • 15 amps (lighting fixtures)
  • 20 amps (power outlets)
  • 30-60 amps (appliances)

Large circuit breakers, which supply 60+ amps, are typically used to supply separate subpanels. Subpanels, which are commonly found in garages, have their own circuits.

As you can see, your electrical panel does a lot for you. Having an updated panel is the key to reducing electrical hazards and keeping your home supplied with electricity.

What Is the Electrical Service Size?

The electrical service size is simply the capacity (in amps) that your home can safely maintain. This helps you determine how many appliances, fixtures, and devices you can run at the same time.

Three things determine your home’s electrical service capacity:

  • Service entry cable
  • Main electrical panel
  • Electrical service disconnect

All of these components must be the same size, otherwise your home will not be supplied with the proper amount of electricity. This is why it is essential to make sure you get an electrical panel upgrade as soon as it becomes necessary.

Signs It’s Time for an Electrical Panel Upgrade or Replacement

Even though most electrical panels will last an average of 25 years—and some up to 40 years—they do still break down. After being used for a long period, your panel may become damaged. There are other signs that it’s time to get a quote for electrical panel upgrade services. Those are:

Your Circuit Breaker is Constantly Tripping

This is a sign that you need electrical panel upgrade services. This means there has either been an overload or you have a fault circuit.

Your Panel Can’t Keep Up

Old panels can’t handle the high demands of modern appliances. If you live in one of the many old homes in Charlotte, NC, then it’s likely been a while since your panel has been upgraded.

There’s Water or Other Visible Damage

Leaks from your plumbing system and other sources of water infiltration can severely damage your panel.

Corrosion is the main cause of high-electrical resistance. This means that your home is susceptible to electrical fires, overheating, and electrical shorting.

How to Test Your Electrical Panel

If you’re unsure whether you need electrical panel upgrade services, keep reading. Here are a couple of things you can do to identify an issue with your panel:

Inspect Each Breaker

Visually inspect each breaker to see if any are tripped. If they are not in the ON position, then they likely have been tripped due to overload or a faulty circuit.

Reset Tripped Breakers

Turn the breaker from OFF to ON in order to reset it. If the breaker immediately resets to OFF, then you have a problem.

Call a Professional

It’s best not to try and fix the panel yourself, and searching for “the best electrician near me” is a waste of your valuable time.

Instead, come straight to the experts at GB Electrical Services to get help from a professional, licensed, and experienced electrician!