The electrical control panel, or “breaker box,” is the heart and mind of your home’s electrical system. The panel connects to the power lines from the utility company and delivers the current to all of the different circuits running throughout your house. The panel is also home to the system’s main safety devices – the circuit breakers – that protect each circuit from overloads and other hazards. An electrical control panel is a surprisingly simple system that nevertheless can be compromised by any number of problems, from faulty installation to weather and sunlight to plain old obsolescence. All problems with a electric control panel should be diagnosed and remedied by a qualified electrician, but here are some of the common reasons why you might need to have electric repair service or replace a panel or any of its parts.
Damaged Electric Repair Service Cables
The cables running from the power pole to the structural mount on your house are in the domain of the utility company. The cable grouping between the mount and the panel (called SEC, for service-entrance cable) is your responsibility. Problems here may include worn or damaged insulation, a loose cable, or damaged or non-existent clamps or anchors where the SEC meets the meter or service panel. All of these conditions require immediate electric repair service.
Water and electricity are as deadly a duo as fire and gasoline. If a water leak or drainage problem brings water onto or near your panel, stay away from the panel and call a pro for help. Evidence of water or excess moisture inside the panel may show up as rust stains on the box or chalky, white corrosion on wiring and other metal parts. Water-damaged panels often must be replaced.
Faulty or careless installation can lead to any number of problems that should be repaired in electrical service panels. Common hazards include oversized breakers (such as a 20-amp breaker on a 15-amp circuit), two circuits doubled-up on a single-pole breaker (a code-violating effort to save space), double-pole breakers supplying two single circuits, and wires crisscrossing over the panel’s center. These problems can pose serious risks but are relatively easy to fix.
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