Do you have an old circuit breaker box? Do you know if it needs an upgrade? If you aren’t sure how old your circuit panel is, or whether it contains damaged or outdated wiring, you might have a fire hazard on your hands. The experts at Harrison Electric in the Twin Cities, MN, explain what you need to look for to help ensure your breaker box doesn’t catch fire.
Outdated or Damaged Electrical Panel Wiring
Although your circuit breaker is typically grounded, it’s constructed of metal and can easily conduct electricity, potentially leading to a fire inside the breaker box. If the wiring that leads into the box from the outside is damaged or outdated, it can fray or become loose where it connects to the panel. Inspect the interior of your breaker box for damaged wiring or loose connections, and head outside to inspect the cables that conduct power to the box. If you’re unsure of what to look for, call an electrician to locate any hazardous cables or wiring.
A breaker box that is not up to code may also present a fire hazard. If your electrical panel hasn’t been replaced in the last 20 years, it’s time for a new one. Other signs that your electrical panel is outdated include:
● There is a jumbled mess of wiring within the panel
● Your system still operates using fuses rather than circuit breakers
● You must unplug one appliance to use another appliance on the same circuit
● The lighting within your home is dim
● Discoloration around wall outlets
● You still have 60 amp service
Repeated Tripped Circuits
Tripped circuits are normal when they occur infrequently, but if any of your circuits start tripping repeatedly, that’s a sign something is amiss. Your circuit breaker is designed to trip to protect your electrical system from overloads that could cause fires and extensive damage. Continual tripping, however, could be a sign of a wiring issue that needs immediate attention. Your breaker box may need to have an additional circuit installed to distribute the electrical load evenly. If that’s the case, a residential electrician can easily remedy the issue.
The Circuit Breaker Feels Hot
If your breaker box feels hot when you touch it, this may be a sign that one of your circuits is going bad. Under normal, safe circumstances, your breaker box will not feel warm at all. When a circuit starts to fail or becomes loose, however, this can increase the electrical resistance at the point where the circuit connects. Increased electrical resistance generates heat, which is what you may be feeling when touching the breaker. Allowing the circuit to remain damaged or attempting to fix it yourself presents a significant fire hazard. NEVER attempt to reset a hot breaker switch by yourself. Only a certified residential electrician should perform this type of highly skilled work.
Need To Update Your Old Electrical Panel? Contact Harrison Electric
If you believe your electrical panel is out-of-date or contains damaged wiring, our team of electricians at Harrison Electric is here to help. Every year, we serve over 3,500 homes in the Twin Cities metro with honest, prompt, and reliable electrical work. Whether we’re replacing fuses with circuit breakers, repairing damaged wiring, or performing electrical upgrades, we have the experience you need and a reputation you can trust. To learn more or to schedule your service appointment, give us a call at 763-544-3300, or you can message us on our contact page.