man throwing circuit breaker at residential service panel

10 Warning Signs of a Defective Electrical Panel

Repairing, replacing, or upgrading your electrical panel is essential to running a safe household. Failure to maintain your panel could result in shock, electrocution, or even a fire. It can also lead to overworked appliances and higher energy bills. The key is knowing when it is time to call a professional electrician.

1. Breaker Often Trips

You may notice that your circuit breaker trips whenever you turn on an appliance. It is not uncommon for it to trip once in a while, but it should not be a regular occurrence. This usually means your breaker cannot handle all your appliances anymore.

2. Lights Frequently Flicker

Flickering lights due to a power disruption, such as the weather, are normal. It is not normal for your lights to flicker frequently, though, and it could be a sign of a bigger problem with your electrical panel.

3. Dimming Lights

Dimming lights usually occur when there is a loose bulb or a power outage. Otherwise, this is a problem with your connections or electrical panel, especially if your lights dim whenever you use an energy-hungry appliance.

4. Unusual Panel Noises

You should never hear crackling, popping, sizzling, or hissing sounds coming from your electrical panel. The issue may be loose wires or connections and possible sparks, which can increase fire risks.

5. Noticeable Burning Smells

If you notice burning smells coming from the breaker box or wall outlets, your circuit breakers may be overheating. Unfortunately, this is also a sign that your wires or insulation have melted and must be addressed immediately.

6. Visual Burn Marks

Visual burnt spots are a huge indication of an issue with your panel, such as overheated breakers. It must be taken care of quickly to prevent a house fire.

7. Wall Outlets Sparking

It is not uncommon to experience a brief spark when plugging an item into a wall outlet. However, a shower of sparks is not normal. While it may not be directly linked to the electrical panel, outdated wall outlets mean your panel may also be outdated.

8. Rust and Corrosion

Watch out for rust and corrosion on your circuit breakers, cables, wires, doors, and other elements of your electrical panels. Your panel is no longer safe to use and needs to be upgraded promptly.

9. Higher Utility Bills

You may be shocked to find an unexpected rise in your utility bills, which typically means your electrical panel is working overtime. The culprit may be an inefficient energy supply caused by rusted or weak wires.

10. You Have an Old Home

Electrical panels are not meant to last forever, so you need to consider the age of your home. If your home was built before 1995 without any major upgrades, it is time to upgrade or replace your electrical panel.

The sooner you address the signs of a faulty electrical panel, the safer your home will be for everyone. When you need an electrician for electrical panel services, contact Money Electric in Conway, Arkansas.