An electrical panel doesn’t clearly announce when it’s overloaded, but there are many signs that could suggest a serious problem. Here are seven warning signs to look out for.
1. Breaker constantly tripping.
Circuit breakers are designed to protect a home’s electrical system from drawing too much power. But if breakers are constantly tripping, then this could mean the electrical panel needs to be upgraded.
2. Breaker trips when a certain appliance is plugged in.
Some appliances require more electricity than others. Newer appliances can overwhelm an outdated electrical panel and cause problems with power.
3. Burning smell coming from the breaker box or outlet.
The only time a burning smell is welcome in the home is during a backyard barbecue. If an electrical panel has a burning smell in or around it, the cause could be a scorched plastic jacket covering the electrical wire melts, wood or insulation in the walls. It’s important to have the electrical panel replaced as soon as possible to prevent fire.
4. Warm or hot electrical panel.
A properly functioning electrical system should regulate how hot the electrical system can become. If an electrical panel is warm or hot to the touch, then the entire panel may need to be replaced.
5. Rust on the electrical panel.
The presence of rust indicates water damage, posing a serious threat to the electrical system. The electrical panel should be replaced as soon as possible. It’s also important to identify the cause of the water damage to help prevent future problems with rust.
6. Flickering lights.
If the lights flicker or dim when new devices or appliances are plugged in, then the electrical panel likely doesn’t have enough power to adequately supply all outlets. In these cases, an electrical panel may need an upgrade.
7. Electrical panel is over 25 years old.
An electrical panel that is over 25 years old is poorly equipped to protect the home’s electrical system from power surges due to normal wear and tear. At the very least, homeowners should schedule an inspection to make sure the electrical panel is working properly.