In these modern times, we rely on a growing number of gadgets and appliances. The comforts of life have begun to be defined through new technologies as well. Thus, functionality and comfort depend on the use of electricity. An electrical panel is what controls this aspect and lets us use all the new technologies at home. When it is damaged, not only that it can compromise the appliances, but also people’s safety.
Understanding You Electrical Panel
The purpose of a home electrical panel (electrical service or circuit breaker panel) is to connect all those circuits within a home. It is the place where the big wires from the company providing with electricity and then get divided into many smaller branches. When too much power flows through these, the heat can cause them to melt. A situation like this can even start a fire. In other cases, anyone touching a wire could experience an electric shock. When there is an overflow of power, there are certain mechanisms that prevent further damage. In old panels, the fuse blows. In newer ones, there is a circuit breaker to flip off.
The safety of a home and of the people inside depend on how well these little mechanisms function (the circuit breakers or the fuses). Another important aspect is the size of the panel. It has to be large enough to accommodate all of the needs. The electrical load is increased each time you add a new electrical appliance or build something extra that needs lighting.
When Is an Electric Panel Upgrade Necessary?
An electric panel upgrade is done when the electrical load must increase. As the power demand is greater, the panel must be able to handle this. Upgrading an electrical box is necessary for the family’s safety, but not only. It also ensures that all the appliances are functioning in optimal conditions and that an electricity overload will not damage them. Home owners can easily figure out by themselves when such service is required. Here are the situations and the clues that signal a need to change. You have to opt for a replacement:
1. If the panel is too small and more circuits need to be added,
2. If more power is needed,
3. When a panel is not safe enough (old, with old fuses etc.),
4. If fuses happen to blow,
5. If you see rust in the circuit breakers,
6. If there is corrosion
7. When home lights are dimming as you turn on an additional appliance.
Some of the old panels used to be good in their days, but did not pass the test of time. Thus, these eventually got to be faulty and unsafe. Homes with Zinsco, Pushmatic or Federal Pacific panels are at risk and call for an electric box replacement.
An electric panel upgrade ensures that, in case in case there is more power to get to the circuit, it is prevented from entering the actual home wiring. Also, it makes it possible to use a greater number of home appliances, lighting systems and so on.
The Commonly Signaled Safety Issues
Old Fuse Boxes
Unlike a new electrical service, an old panel features fuses instead of circuit breakers. These were made to handle less power, since homes did not demand as much as they do nowadays. The maximum would be somewhere around 60 amps. Nowadays, the average usage stands at 100-200 amps and above. Thus, fuses blow because of being overloaded. This will shut down appliances and, in worse cases, start a fire. Is increasing the size of fuses a solution? Unfortunately no, because this leads to overheated wires and thus maintains the hazard. Another danger is represented by the manual operation of the fuse.
The Federal Pacific, Pushmatic and Zinsco Panel Issues
Millions of home that are older than 30 years have electrical panels from the Federal Pacific company. These have some manufacturing errors that tend to show in time. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission had been observing the hazards during the years and eventually deemed these installations as dangerous. The Zinsco ones are older than 40 years and their circuit breakers are known to melt. When this happens, they become completely useless. The Pushmatic panels have breakers that frequently flip off or simply weaken, making it impossible to put them back. In some models, there is no main breaker at all, which means there is no protection for the whole wiring.
New Electrical Panel Installation in Los Angeles
Getting a better los angeles electrical panel installed is simple. The installation must be done in a professional manner, therefore one has to call for a specialized company. In Los Angeles, electrical panels are frequently replaced in homes that are older than 30 years. Some of these have panels from certain manufacturers we have mentioned above, thus being of a faulty make and having often caused fires. If your home features a 100-amp electrical service, you may think it is enough for today’s requirements. In fact, all the gadgets and systems we use these days require more than that. 100 amps are not likely to handle all the consumption.
It is important to make the electrical upgrade, because an old and unsafe panel may interfere with other aspects as well. For example, you may want to get a home insurance. Los Angeles insurance providers often refuse clients who have an old, fuse-based electrical service in their home. This happens because it is a known fire hazard.
Call for an Los Angeles electrician if you cannot identify the type of electric box that you have. Many specialized firms offer free consultations for this matter. These services will perform both residential and commercial panel installations. There are several brands and types to choose from, so you will enjoy a customize service, depending on your needs. Ask about the warranties before purchasing, as these are very important. Also, look for the frequently available discounts when it comes to professional electrical panel box installation in Los Angeles.