Panel Upgrades Salt Lake City
It’s a Saturday morning and the delivery guy just brought in the new acoustic guitar you ordered a few weeks back. You excitedly plug it in and all of a sudden, its lights out everywhere! Could it be a natural disaster knocking? Definitely not! It’s more likely one of your circuit breakers tripping off in response to the sudden electricity overload.
About Panel Upgrades
What Is An Electrical Panel?
An electrical panel is the brain box of your home’s electricity distribution. The electrical panel is a metallic box equipped with a door that contains the main circuit breaker that controls the electricity supply to the house. There is a main circuit breaker within the panel that controls power to the entire house, besides other individual breakers responsible for power supply to specific areas of your home.
Where Can I Find My Home’s Electrical Panel?
In most homes, you can find the electrical panel near the electrical meter which supplies the main power to your home – which can easily be turned on (or off) by switching on (or off) the main circuit breaker within the electrical panel. The panel is often installed far from high foot traffic areas in the home. This includes place like the basement, garage, and closet, just to mention a few.
How Does Electrical Panel Work?
Whenever the circuit is overloaded, the breaker within the electrical panel trip (go off). Breakers minimize or prevent damage to electrical devices using this method. If breakers are unavailable, there is a very high likelihood of fires starting or someone getting electrocuted in the event of an overloaded circuit.
So to clarify – each section of the house is controlled by a circuit, which is controlled by a breaker. Electronic devices that have high electricity demand (for example, home theater systems) may have a dedicated breaker assigned to them.
Breakers have a limit to the amount of electrical load they can carry. Whenever that threshold is breached, the breaker shuts off immediately to protect the rest of the devices that the circuit protects.
Breakers come in different sizes that correlate with how much electrical load they need to handle. Although breakers range from 15 to 200 amps, most breakers usually come in the 15, 20, or 30 amp categories.
There are also different categories of voltage ratings for circuit breakers with single circuit breakers providing 120 volts (usually sufficient to handle devices such as light bulbs) and the double circuit breakers providing 240 volts, designed for appliances that require a lot of electricity.
When Do I Need An Electrical Panel Upgrade?
Before embarking on an electrical panel upgrade, consider the costs and several other factors involved. It is best to have a competent electrician examine and give useful insights into your home’s electricity needs.
You would need an electrical panel upgrade if the power supply to your home is no longer sufficient to cater to your home’s needs or your home has fuses instead of breakers. If you’re adding rooms or appliances, you might also need a panel upgrade.
Examining the Electrical Panel
The electrical system of a house is arguably the most hazardous because any malfunction can cause a fire outbreak, injury, or even electrocution. The electrical panel is the control center for the electricity supply of the entire house. It is therefore important to carry out periodic checks on it to make sure it remains safe and continues to work efficiently.
Only certified professionals who follow all the proper safety procedures laid down for inspecting electrical panels should examine your home’s panel – this means licensed electricians.
Regardless of how experienced an electrician may be, there are several precautions to be taken to ensure a safe and successful electrical panel inspection. Some of these include:
- Having A Pre-Planned Escape Route – in the event things suddenly go south when examining an electrical panel
- Wearing Protective Gear before embarking on an electrical panel inspection.
- Carrying out an Initial Hazard Assessment for electrical explosions and the likes to be better prepared to handle them if they occur.
How Do I Know My Electrical Panel Needs Examining?
Here are some red flags that may require you to call a licensed electrician to examine your home’s electrical panel:
- Rusted or Corroded Panel Parts
If you notice rust around your home’s electrical panel, or that the circuit breakers do not go off when there is an electrical overload due to corrosion, chances are you need to have that electrical panel examined.
Whenever you open your electrical panel and notice that some parts are burnt, or you perceive a burning smell, it is time to call an electrician to look at the panel.
- Unexplainable Shocks
Whenever you touch your electrical panel and get shocked, especially when that didn’t happen before, it’s time to have that panel checked and replaced.
How Is An Electrical Panel Examined?
- Determine the Wiring Used
Many houses built in the early 60s and late 70s were wired with aluminum wire because they were cheaper than copper wire. We now considered aluminum wiring unsafe because it tends to overheat, leading to fire outbreaks.
- Inspect Wiring and Connections
After determining the wiring used, examine the circuit wiring to ensure that no circuit has more than one wire connected to it to avoid overheating the circuit breaker
- Examine Panel Conditions
Ensure the panel is clean and rust-free and check for any burned areas that indicate unsafe conditions. Check that the electrical panel is fitted with a grounding bracket and screw to prevent unwanted electrocution from loose wires.
- Check Wall Outlets
Check the voltage reading of wall outlets in the house using a multimeter. A reading of 120 volts is considered normal. Anything below can cause poor performance of electrical appliances while higher voltages can lead to fire outbreaks.
- Examine Light Switches
Check to see if light switches function properly by first switching them on and off. If not, have your electrician examine and replace them.
Examining your electrical panel is serious business and should be handled by an electrician.
Replacing Your Electric Panel
Electrical panels help to regulate the power supply from the central source in a home or space to your electrical gadgets. For your electrical appliances to function effectively, and last for as long as expected, your electrical panel has to be in top condition.
When your electric panel isn’t working as it should, you’ll experience several electrical issues. This article will let you know when your panel needs replacement and how to go about it.
When Your Electric Panel Requires Replacement
Before you decide to change your electrical panel, check if you’re experiencing the following:
You are upgrading your electrical appliances. When you switch from appliances that consume less power to ones of higher voltage, your current electric breaker might not be enough to regulate power flow. Hence, the need for a new electric panel.
You are adding new rooms that would also require rewiring and installation of gadgets. Fresh additions to your home or space mean an extra load on your electric panel.
You observe unusual power tripping when you put on your electrical appliances. Constant tripping, while your gadgets are on, could mean your electric panel needs a replacement.
You notice rust or moisture outside or inside your electrical panel. This means there is water leakage somewhere, which is dangerous.
The temperature of your panel breaker has become unstable; either too warm or hot.
Different Types of Electrical Panel Repairs
- Replacing the circuit breaker
- Upgrade and installation of the circuit breaker
- Electrical panel rewiring
- Replacing the Bus Bar
- Moving the electrical panel: You may need to replace your electric panel when it is near water drainage or pipe. Delay in replacing the panelboard in this case can cause electrocution to anyone who touches it. You should also consider relocating your electric panel when it is hanging too low on the walls or wall hangings.
Electric Panel Repair Cost
Before deciding on a budget for repairing your electrical panel, ask yourself the following questions:
How big is your home?
The budget you make for fixing your electric panel is determined by the size and type of your home.
Where is the home located?
Is your home located in the suburb, urban or rural area? How about your state? What are the rates or rules for electrical projects there? Consider your location when putting together an estimate for replacing your electric panel.
What is the extent of the damage? How far gone is your electric panel? Can you still have it repaired, or does it need a complete replacement? When you know how bad your electric panel is, you’ll know how much to set aside for fixing it.
How much do different electricians charge?
Have you done a cost and service comparison among different electrical companies and electricians? Which of these organizations or individuals meet your budget and needs? Through your research, you can find the most suitable one.
In conclusion, the budget you set for replacing your electric panel shouldn’t be the only thing you should consider while hiring an electrician. The long-term benefits of getting the best electric panel should be your primary focus. A functional electric panel will serve you for a long time and ensure the safety of life and appliances.
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– Maria Schauder
Captain Electric, LLC
Licensed, Bonded and Insured
Toll Free:(877) 922-7824
Tel: (801) 224-1779
Fax: (801) 505-0373
Regular Hours: Monday - Friday 8am to 5pm
After Hours by Appointment