Five Warning Signs Of Electrical Disaster
Many people never even think of the electrical panel in their home, but without regular maintenance, this critical piece of the lifeblood of your home could all too easily cause financial ruin, or worse.
Bickimer Electric is committed to ensuring our valued customers have the information they need to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. This article from our service experts lays out five warning signs in your home’s electrical panel, and what you can do to prevent it.
1. Breakers That Constantly Trip
Annoying as it may be, breakers which regularly trip can be a vital warning sign that there is a weakness in your electrical panel. As breakers are exposed to the constant surges in our Kansas electrical grid, the heat generated begins to wear them down.
Importantly, every time a breaker trips, there is a period of around 20 milliseconds during which the breaker absorbs the entire current running through the circuit. Each trip causes extensive damage to the electromagnet that triggers the breaker and reduces the load it can bear before tripping again. It’s recommended that breakers be replaced every 3-5 trips to avoid failure.
2. Scorching or Burning Around The Breakers
As the connections around the breaker begin to loosen over time, enough separation can cause electricity to arc between the breaker and the connection; this causes blackening from oxidation around the contact points, screws, and around the plastic casing. Loose or burned connections can cause a breaker to fail, allowing unrestricted current to travel through a circuit and burn out the cabling and all attached devices.
3. Flickering Televisions and Lights
Uneven distribution of power through a panel or repeated surging can cause attached televisions, monitors, and lights to flicker. Flickering can be an excellent early warning sign of severe weakening in your electrical panel.
4. Overheated Metal or Burning Plastic Smells
As electricity is passed through wires, it generates heat. The excess current and temperature in proper wiring are carried away by the ground wire, but surges generate far more heat than can be handled, and this translates to scorching. The melting plastic and overheated wiring produce very distinctive odors that should immediately be inspected by a qualified and licensed professional.
5. Federal Pacific Panels
Between the 1950s and 1980s, millions of electrical panels produced by the Federal Pacific Electrical Company were installed in homes across the nation. Decades after their installation, it was discovered that Federal Pacific falsified their testing data when seeking certification under the National Electrical Code.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a testing report which showed a shockingly high rate of failure in Federal Pacific panels.
Consequently, all Federal Pacific panels were delisted, decertified, and are recommended for replacement and destruction by all governmental and independent safety and regulatory bodies. If you have or suspect that you have a Federal Pacific panel or breakers in your home, have them inspected by a qualified and licensed service expert.
The Bickimer Difference
Through our decades of experience in the service industry, we at Bickimer Electric understand that electrical panel safety is key to preventing disastrously expensive and potentially fatal hazards in the home. That’s why we are proud to offer a 50% discount on our electrical panel safety inspections.