Electrical problems can be scary, but many times you may have them and not even realize it. Some homeowners even observe the first signs of an electrical problem (flickering lights, frequently tripping circuits, and so on) without realizing the hazards these are trying to tell you about. But your electrical panel itself can sometimes be the source of the problem or, even if it's not, is usually an integral part of what happens (after all, it's designed to trip circuits if there's a problem further down the line). here are three things that can go wrong with your electrical panel.
Overloading a specific circuit or even the entire electrical panel is all too easy to do as your family grows or when you add electrical requirements such as an addition to the house, an outdoor living area, a hot tub, or a larger AC system. Homeowners are often alerted to a circuit overload problem when the affected circuits trip more frequently than they used to. If you find this happening to you, or if you've recently increased the electrical requirements of your home, try calling a professional electrician to have an electrical inspection done. You may need extra circuits installed or you may have hazardous shorts somewhere in your wiring that could cause a fire.
2. Incorrect wiring
If the circuit breaker wasn't installed by a competent, fully licensed electrician (or even if it was, but someone else has messed with it since then), it's possible that you'll find incorrect wiring techniques. Some of these are quite hazardous. A few wiring problems to look for include:
- A wire that's too small for the circuit breaker it connects to
- Two wires connected to a circuit breaker only designed for one
- Wiring that's loosely or poorly connected or even hanging free
3. Outdated or unsafe model
If you have an outdated electrical panel, that's more of a preexisting condition than an acute condition, but it's still a big problem. If your house is a newer one, you probably don't have this problem, but if it's a pre-1990s house and the electrical system hasn't had a major update since then, you'll want to check and make sure you don't have one of these dangerous creatures hiding behind that metal door. Check for the brand name and other indicators of the type of box, then look it up to make sure that yours a safe one and not obsolete.
Talk to a company like DCS Electric about having your electrical panel inspected for safety.