Most homeowners know where to find their circuit breaker panel or box, but not everyone is aware of how important this box is in your home. All of the electricity that is supplied to your home runs through that panel. The breakers are designed to automatically shut off in dangerous situations like an electrical short or overload. But some older panels may not have the same safety features that newer models have and can even make some electrical issues worse.
Most concerning is the fact that older panels can actually be a fire hazard. If an older panel is overloaded, it may generate enough heat to start a small fire. Electrical fires are notoriously difficult to put out, and a small fire can spread rapidly. Since most breaker panels are in garages or other remote locations in the home, a fire can get out of hand before it is even detected.
Older panels also require more upkeep and maintenance. It’s vital that homeowners know the layout of the breakers, and older panels can be difficult to use and understand. Newer panels are designed to minimize shocks while being cleaner and clearer. If a circuit does trip, you don’t want to have to guess what happened or worry about safety or inconvenience. Old panels may also slowly wear out. Wires and fuses will need to be checked and replaced periodically, and this process can be a dangerous endeavor if attempted on your own. Even if you don’t plan on getting your breaker panel replaced, it’s a good idea to seek a professional electrician to check your panel for loose wiring, corrosion and missing pieces.
Breaker panels that are located in garages are also susceptible to dirt and pests. Dust and grime buildup can prevent a breaker panel from working smoothly, and some pests like mice can chew wires and cause extensive damage. If you see evidence of any pests in your home, be sure to check your breaker panel. Often, chewed panels will need to be replaced entirely. Use extreme caution when examining a panel with frayed or exposed electrical wires. The risk of an electrical accident is very high in these situations, and crossed wires can blow fuses or cause further problems.
If you suspect that your breaker panels are dated and may need maintenance, call us at ABC for help from a San Antonio electrical professional. Our experts can determine the age of your breaker panel and help you determine if your panel just needs a little upkeep or an entire overhaul. We are also experts on local building codes. Often, building codes are updated to encourage builders and contractors to make homes safer. A breaker panel that no longer conforms to code might be unsafe or simply inefficient. Electrical systems can be confusing and unsafe, so don’t hesitate to ask for a professional opinion. When it comes to electrical safety, there’s no such thing as being too careful. Schedule a service today.