Short answer, YES. Most
of us never think about our electrical system. Out of sight, out of mind, as
they say. We can effortlessly switch
power on and off throughout our home or office, without even thinking about the
system behind the scenes. But when the
time comes, unfortunately for some of us, the simplicity of a flickering light
may be the start of endless minor issues that require outlet or switch change
outs, bad light fixtures, etc. For when these small annoyances start to happen,
we urge you to also consider if your electrical panel box or circuit breakers
may be the problem and may require a critical update to prevent a fire hazard.
Your electrical panel routes the connections throughout your
home to keep the lights on, electric devices working and running. The panel contains circuit breakers which are
the most important part of the electrical system. The breakers are protecting the
house from the overloading of a circuit.
There are three brands of electrical panels that should be
replaced due to recalls or fire hazards:
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE)
These panels have breakers that have been found to overheat
under normal circumstances and create a risk of fire. Since these panels were
first installed a long while ago, think about it, the demand for electricity
was minimal. Now with today’s
electronics and high-tech systems the demand has increased, loading the
breakers without the homeowner thinking twice about it.
As insurance companies are aware of this problem, they are not
writing new policies or renewing for structures with these panels. They will
require panel replacement before securing coverage. Replacing your panel before
it fails will save you financially, it might even lower your premium if you get
it replaced. You would need to call your
insurance provider to make sure. Do not have
it fail when you are least prepared.
You can check
the brand of your panel yourself by looking inside the panel.
If you are unsure as to the
age of your electric service and panel, please set up a service call with
us. We would be happy to help. 631.760.1997 or visit bigbearelectrical.com
Unfortunately, you will not be able to see if any overheating
has started to occur as this happens from the back of the breakers. Therefore,
replacement is critical, you don’t know how long the breakers may have been
from other manufacturers are not free from potential risks and should be
inspected if they were installed a couple decades ago or longer. The components
of the breakers that help them do their job effectively, breaking the
electrical circuit when overloaded, can degrade over time, and cause them to
malfunction. This can lead to overheating and a possible fire hazard.
Scheduling a panel inspection with a licensed electrical contractor will
safeguard your family or employees from any potential hazard.
Contact us today
for a panel inspection or replacement. 631.760.1997
or visit bigbearelectrical.com
Inspecting Breaker Panels (source: HOME
INSPECTORS: ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS OF OLDER HOMES)
Older breaker panels also are a concern. Mechanical and
electrical components tend to deteriorate with age. Some people are under the
dangerous assumption that breaker panels and their components have an unlimited
life expectancy; the rule of thumb in the home inspection industry is generally
30 years for these devices. When inspecting a home that has an electrical
system over 30 years old, common practice is to recommend consulting a licensed
and qualified electrician to evaluate the breaker panel to ensure it is still
working as designed. Who knows if any of the circuit breakers have ever NEEDED
to trip and didn’t. Home inspectors don’t remove circuit breakers from the
panel, and it is possible that arcing or burn marks may exist but are hidden
behind the breakers. These characteristics can be tell-tail signs of dangerous
conditions. A qualified electrician can determine if these issues are occurring
or have in the past. If no issues are apparent, this can help put a buyer’s mind
a little more at ease.