Electrical panels are the heartbeat of your home. They connect the main power line to your home and distribute electrical currents to the appliances, TVs, computers, and everything that needs electricity to run. While typically reliable and safe, electrical panels can begin to show signs of wear and tear. They can struggle with day-to-day demands for electricity and a malfunctioning panel will often put out warning signs.
Here are some signs that yours might need some attention.
- It’s 25 years or older
The average lifespan of an electrical panel is 25 to 40 years. Even if there are no obvious signs that your panel is struggling to power your home, it may be worth having a professional electrician inspect it.
- You consistently flip breakers…or your panel doesn’t use breakers
Your electrical panel trips when an area of your home tries to draw too much power at once. When this happens, you have to flip the affected breaker to allow power to flow again. This doesn’t automatically signal a problem. But if it seems like you constantly flip breakers, it’s likely time to have your breaker checked out. On the other hand, your home may not use breakers at all. In homes built before 1960, fuse panels were used, which are now a fire hazard. If you have to switch out a fuse instead of flipping a breaker, it’s time for an upgrade.
- Smells like something is burning
Smelling something burning in your home is always concerning. If the smell seems to be coming from your electrical panel, act quickly. A failing circuit breaker can quickly cause a serious house fire. If you smell burning plastic or wood, it’s likely the plastic jacket of an electrical wire melting. If you smell wood the damage could be within your home’s walls.
- Your electrical panel is warm (or hot) to the touch
Your circuit breaker is designed to trip if it begins to overheat. However, if you notice that your circuit breaker is warm or hot to the touch, this is a potential sign of a severe malfunction. Seek an electrician immediately to see if your panel needs an upgrade.
- Lights flicker or dim when an appliance is turned on
Do your overhead kitchen lights dim when you use the microwave? Do they flicker when you start the dishwasher? This could be a sign that there’s too much power drawn from a single circuit. You may be able to add extra circuits, but a total replacement may be the best option. A professional electrician can let you know which route is best.
Contact JDP Electric Inc at 701-232-1991 to have an electrician inspect your electrical panel and help determine whether or not you are due for an upgrade.