Your home is equipped with an electrical service panel that controls the various electrical circuits in the system. If the panel is more than 20 years old or if the power consumption of your entire home has been inadequate, it may be time to upgrade.

You know your home has an electrical panel. You may have even turned the switches once or twice to fix an electrical problem. But do you know what this panel does? Learning the basics of your home’s electrical circuits can save you time and money when you have to lose power on one device or everywhere. Having some knowledge of electricity also tells you when to put your work in the hands of a professional electrician.

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Electrical panel 101

Simply put, the panel divides the power into different circuits in your home. Therefore, turning one circuit breaker can only turn off a guest room or kitchen without affecting other rooms. When you open the electrical panel door, you will see a series of power switches; each should be marked next to the switch or inside the door by indicating which circuit it controls. Note that the fuse box has built-in fuses instead of circuit breakers, but the function is the same.

Dry your hair, and suddenly the lights go out. Or just turn on the coffee maker to lose power in the entire kitchen. What happened? You have probably blown a fuse or tripped the circuit breaker depending on the type of electrical panel.

The circuits are designed to turn off safely when they experience a power surge or short circuit. If you plug too many devices into one outlet, you may need more power than the circuit can handle. The circuit turns off to prevent overheating, which can cause sparks and electric fires.

Most of the time, you can solve the problem by changing the plug configuration to distribute the electricity more evenly, and then turning the power switch or replacing the fuse. However, if circuit overload was not a problem, contact your area electrician to determine if you have a short circuit or other serious electrical problem.

Do I need a panel upgrade?

The electrical panels in many older homes are simply not designed to meet modern electricity needs. Electricians who were 20 years ago could never have imagined a single family using a TV, cable box, DVR, video game console, toaster, microwave, blender, radio, hairdryer, lamp, and more at the same time.

Even electrical devices that are not turned on but are still plugged in can conduct electricity from the mains. If you have blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers regularly, you may need to upgrade your electrical panel. Similarly, if your lights are blinking or just not completely bright, you may need a panel update.

If you have any of these problems, do not expect to bring a professional electrician to upgrade your electrical panel. An outdated and overloaded electrical panel is not a disadvantage - it can also be dangerous.

If you have damaged your home with plugs and extension cords because you don’t have enough outlets, you are endangering your family and your belongings with a circuit or electrical fire hazard today with a household electrician to get your home’s electrical panel updated and ready to meet your needs.

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If You Have An Electrical Issue in Kennewick Washington, Call Us! We Can Help.