The Electrical Panel is a key component of your home’s electricity system. It regulates how much power is used at a given time, and it divides up the electricity into smaller circuits to assign to specific rooms or hardwired appliances that require high or dedicated amperage.
It is often located in the garage, basement, or utility closet. Typically, the panel is a metal box that has a label on it indicating its total amperage capacity (usually 100 or 150). The circuit breakers are stacked in rows and controlled with a lever to turn them on or off. The main breaker controls all the electricity in the panel and has a label on it identifying its amperage capacity (usually 100 or 150).
Many older homes still have Federal Pacific panels in place, which are considered obsolete due to the thermal only, grease fed, trip mechanisms that were inconsistent and did not always recognize a short-circuit. This flaw led to a lot of residential fires that could have been avoided. The panels that are still in use today, such as Zinsco, are much safer as they use magnetic solenoid-driven breakers to detect a short circuit and stop the flow of electricity.
During an inspection, we look for signs of physical damage like corrosion, rust, and scorch marks. We also evaluate the internal springs on each breaker for a loose, brittle, or non-functional condition that can result in a breaker not properly tripping during a fault. We also check for proper grounding and bonding located on the bus bars in the panel. Finally, we assess for overcrowding where the conductors may be exceeding 75% of the available space.
The best electrical panel manufacturers are ISO certified, which means that they have a set of standards and processes for designing and producing their products that must be followed to ensure consistency and quality. They are also required to undergo periodic audits and tests to make sure that their equipment is functioning correctly.
Whether you have added sections of your house, upgraded your appliances, or simply need more power for your household, an electrical panel upgrade is necessary. It can help to increase your home’s value, and it will certainly be more attractive to buyers if you ever plan to sell. In addition, it will ensure greater safety by reducing the risk of fires and power surges. A faulty panel can be extremely dangerous, so it is important to address any issues right away.