Brennan Electrical Contractors is providing a series of safety tips that homeowners should know. This is the second of six releases with helpful information, and it discusses an important topic: identifying outdated electrical panels that may present safety concerns.
Electrical panels are the heart of any home’s electrical system: it distributes electricity to each room, appliance, and device. They can experience troubles at any age; however, the likelihood increases with time.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 50 percent of the homes today could potentially have an obsolete electrical panel. The signs of an aging and/or outdated panel are sometimes difficult to detect. It could be something as little as a light that continually flickers in a room. It could be an outlet that hasn’t seemed to work in years. Also, a circuit that continually trips is a good indicator that your panel needs immediate attention.
“Faulty electrical panels can short out your refrigerator or that brand new television,” Mike Brennan, owner of Brennan Electrical Contractors, said. “But a bad electrical panel can lead to even bigger troubles. They’re one of the leading causes of home fires. That’s something no one wants to face.”
Among a variety of obsolete panels, there are two distinct types that many experts will recommend having inspected regularly:
- Fuse boxes – the precursor to circuit breaker panels often can have problems. The wrong fuses may be inserted into the box when one is broken. Also, coins have been known to be inserted in them, as well. Both are potentially serious fire hazards.
- Split-buss panels present unique concerns, as well. They have smaller breakers, which have been known to melt or burn if there is excessive demand placed on them. Today, split-buss panels likely would not be UL listed and not be considered a safe option.
Many fuse boxes, split-buss panels, and other panels have been known to operate properly for years. But if and when they do malfunction, a disaster could occur. That’s why experts recommend that homeowners have their homes evaluated by a licensed electrician at least once a year. Home electrical systems, including panels, can change dramatically over the course of 12 months, and in doing so, potential safety concerns can develop.
Source: Brennan Electrical Contractors