San Luis Obispo Electrician Releases ‘Is it Time to Repair or Replace the Breaker Panel?’

-One of the most common electrical problems is when the power to a certain part of the house goes out—the lights go off, the television stops working or the stove doesn’t work. A trip to the breaker box, find the switch at fault and reset it usually solves the problem, but the San Luis Obispo electricians from Electricraft, Inc. warn that resetting a tripped switch isn’t necessarily the answer or the safest answer for that matter.

The “breaker box” contains the main circuit panel that distributes electricity from the utility company through the electric meter to the entire building. The panel has a variety of switches called breakers, including a main breaker and various smaller, sub-breakers that connect electricity to specific areas such as the kitchen or living room. When one of these breakers trips off it usually means that particular circuit is overloaded for some reason. Frequent problems with one or more breakers can mean there is a problem with the breaker itself and it needs to be replaced, or there is a more serious problem with the panel, the electrical wiring and the flow and distribution of electricity.

The San Luis Obispo electricians have a list of signs that it’s time to make repairs, or even replace, the main electrical panel. Signs include the age of the residence or commercial building and other issues such as:

  • Age: The average lifespan for an electrical panel is between 25 to 40 years. Even if problems are not showing up, it’s a good idea to have an electrical inspection for any panel and wiring that is more than 25 years old. Another indicator of age is that the panel contains fuses instead of breakers.
  • An odd smell or smell that something is burning is cause for immediate concern. The burning smell is often from melting plastic jacket around electrical wiring or wood or insulation that has become scorched from faulty wiring.
  • The panel is warm or hot when touched.
  • Smoke indicates an immediate emergency. Flip the main breaker to off if possible and call 911 to report a possible electrical fire.
  • Portions of the panel, the box containing the panel or the cover are rusted.
  • Sounds coming from the panel
  • Frequently tripping breakers are a sign that the panel is not handling the electricity flow.
  • Not enough outlets in the building, or outlets that are not in the most convenient place, requiring use of extension cords.
  • Flickering or dimming lights.
  • Adding a new appliance, especially if the house is an older home, the electrical panel and wiring may not be sufficient to handle the new power needs.
  • The panel or box has sustained direct damage.

Concern about costly electrical expenses often cause property owners to delay needed repairs, or to try to make dangerous repairs themselves. When one or more breakers need frequent resetting, troubleshooting the circuit overload and any other wiring problems is a highly-technical issue that requires special equipment and a lot of knowledge and experience. To be safe, prevent possible electrocution or an electrical fire, call a skilled electrician. The team of electricians from San Luis Obispo’s Electricraft, Inc. are skilled and licensed for any kind of electrical job.

Electricraft, Inc.
200 Suburban Rd., Suite A
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 544-8224