Unsafe electrical panels can lead to accidents, so knowing the right time of repair or replacement should be prioritized.
Do you remember the last time you upgraded or repaired the home’s electrical panels? Most homeowners don’t consider it to be a problem as long as everything is going fine. It’s a grave mistake because old and damaged service panels can lead to serious accidents. Newly installed ones can be problematic, too, if they are not correctly rated with the electrical system.
What Are Electrical Panels?
These are the heartbeat of your home’s power system. Their job is to supply power to all the electronics and keep a residence safe from electrical shock, fire hazards, and other electricity-related mishaps.
Electrical panels are metal boxes that contain either circuit breakers or fuses that trip or melt, respectively, and shut off the power when in danger. It distributes the electricity from the utility company to different zones of a building through various electrical branches.
Its capacity depends on the power requirement, such as the number of rooms, lighting fixtures, electronic equipment, and more. It’s necessary to contact a licensed electrical contractor to do the installations, assess the condition and requirements, and recommend the upgrades if needed.
The Risks of Using Unsafe Electrical Panels
The malfunction in the electrical panels is the reason of numerous fire incidents each year. Hazards may lead to:
Melted Breakers and Wires
Sometimes the circuit breaker inside the panel melts together with the bus bar which cannot be separated. It happens due to incorrect installation or when the amount of electricity usage surges.
A breaker can trip when an unsafe amount of power is transmitted into the home, causing fire hazards. Power overload may melt or damage wires. You will get an electrical shock if you touch them with bare hands or without proper protection.
You can avoid accidents by making sure that all the components of the distribution board are up-to-date and functioning. It is necessary to upgrade or change defective parts to ensure safety.
Blown off Circuit Breakers
Improper installation of the distribution board or gradual deterioration over time may cause the breaker to blow out the side. Electrical arc explosion is also plausible, which will lead to power failure or fires.
It often happens when you bring a large device or appliance into the house, such as an AC or refrigerator, even if the service panel is incapable of supplying the extra power required.
Old or Unsafe Devices
Unsafe electrical panels in older homes have fuse boxes instead of circuit breakers. These cannot conduct more than 30 to 60 amps of power while 100 to 200 amps or more are the standard for today’s residences. So, the fuses will frequently blow off if you don’t upgrade the main panel. Some people opt for an oversized fuse, but that will only cause overheated and damaged wires because of the overload of electricity.
Live Tripped Breakers
Sometimes, breakers trip and shut off but still transmit current. Touching the panel is likely to give you an electrical shock. Only an experienced electrician should remove the parts and do the repair.
The Measures to Take
If you are living in an old home or are going to shift into a new living place, your first job is to hire a licensed electrician and have him checked unsafe electrical panels. He will suggest the necessary upgrades after examining several factors, such as the estimated power load, cable sizes, motor ratings and capacities, and more.