The electrical panel is the location where all the electricity flows through a home, business or other structure. It can be thought of as the brain of the entire electrical system within a structure. If you look inside you will likely see rows of large switches called circuit breakers with one large switch near the top which is the main switch for the entire electrical panel.
Most modern electrical panels use circuit breakers instead of fuses for controlling and routing the electricity in the right amount and to the correct destination within the location. The electrical panel is how the lighting, air conditioner, electronics, some heating sources and many other devices receive their power to function and operate. Over the years it is normal for electrical panels to become aged and worn. This can lead to malfunctioning parts and components.
Self Electrical Panel Repair
The number one rule to remember if you do try doing repairs of any kind yourself is to always be sure you have turned off the power before doing repairs to the electrical panel itself. There will typically be the main switch or circuit breaker box on the outside of the structure with the wiring leading the electrical panel inside the home or business.
If you find you have only minor problems with your electrical panel, then you may want to complete the repair yourself. Minor problems include tasks like replacing a single fuse or circuit breaker, tightening screws that hold connecting wires, reattaching a loose or detached electrical panel door or even replacing a portion of the house wiring connected directly to the electrical panel.
- Simple Repairs - After being certain that all the power is off to the electrical panel, you can begin the necessary repair. If you simply need to replace the panel door or tighten some screws then complete the given task and turn the power back on when finished.
- Complex Repairs - If you are upgrading a portion of the house wiring attached or changing an entire circuit breaker or fuse, then leave the power from outside turned off until your repair or replacement is complete. If you are replacing a fuse, circuit breaker or wiring, bring the old one you removed to the hardware store where employees can assist you with getting the correct type of replacement part needed. For the wiring, you can simply bring a small portion cut approximately 12 inches long from the line you plan to replace.
You can turn the power back on from the outside after you are finished with the repair or replacement when everything is securely connected and fastened within the electrical panel.
Hiring An Electrician
If you find you need major electrical repairs or upgrades to your home, business or other structure, it is always a good plan to hire a licensed electrician. If uncertain of what would be the best setup a licensed electrician can always provide the best advice about what would be the best arrangement and how much of your old system needs to be replaced. There are a variety of different reasons you may find you need an electrician. Some of the most common are:
- Upgrading from fuse panel to circuit breaker panel
- Upgrading the wiring for the entire structure
- Increasing the amperage capacity of an electrical system
- Adding new circuits to an existing structure
- Electrical system malfunctioning
If your existing electrical setup is an older arrangement you may still have a fuse box controlling the electricity within your home or business. Fuse boxes were the standard in most homes and businesses before the 1960s. While these are becoming more rarely used, there are still some in operation today. The list above includes some of the most common situations where you would need to call an electrician. There are other problems not listed that also require the help of a professional.
There is a risk that a malfunctioning electrical panel can even become dangerous. If an electrical panel has major problems, there is a risk of power surges, fires and even personal injury. This is why for most, it is a good idea to either maintain, upgrade and repair their electrical panel themselves or hire an electrician to complete the job. Most home and business owners can handle minor upgrades and repairs to the electrical system themselves, however, major problems or alterations should be completed by a licensed electrician.