While most breaker boxes are stored in the back room, storage cabinet, or outside of the house, it is no longer surprising that we often forget to check them out regularly. It is important to remember that your circuit breaker is the first point of entry for electricity to your house. It’s because of it that everything is connected to the identical fire hose of electrical power. Your circuit breaker does not only protect your devices, but it also regulates them.
What is an Electrical Panel?
An electrical or breaker panel is where all the breaker switches are stored. And that is just what they are; buttons that can be switched. There is likely a main circuit breaker that manages the power to your home, but you will also find individual breakers, responsible for supplying the electricity to different parts of your house. Each circuit breaker has a lever that can be switched on or off. Each breaker should have its individual label so you can determine the affected are of the house.
Why Is Electric Panel Important?
When dealing with electric power, safety should definitely be the number one priority. Your home electrical system must follow the building codes essential to keep you, your family, and your home safe.
The main service panel works in three basic functions. It supplies power to all the electrical circuits in your home, it is installed with devices which safeguard the individual circuits from overload and it gives the master switch which is used to mechanically shut off all power in the house. Electrical panels keep your wiring from shorts or power surges, efficiently breaking off or shutting down the power supply when fused.
Over the course of time, if a repair on a service panel is not carried out completely, the circuits could burst more often due to overloading. The parts in the panel can become old, loose, or damaged. If a service panel is not regularly maintained and substandard, it also causes some risks, making your house more vulnerable to electrical surge and fire.
How Does Electric Panel Work?
The main panel consists of three major sections which each performs a distinct function: the main breaker, the hot bus, and the neutral / grounding bus.
This section is the on and off button to the entire breaker panel. The electricity that is supplied to the entire house passes through the main breaker stored at the top of the electrical panel. It allows you to turn off the electric power to the entire house in case of emergency and also keeps the house from external electrical surges.
The electric power runs through the main breaker to the hot bus. It is the two copper or aluminum strips which cut off the center of the panel. Each strip has tabs for loading circuit breakers. The power runs from the bus through the circuit breakers. The circuit breakers work exactly the same as the main breaker but only on a different circuit.
Neutral / Grounding Bus
Once the power passes through the circuit breaker to the electrical device which needs it, it goes back to the service panel through the neutral / grounding bus. The neutral bus is the two aluminum strips installed with several screws situated on the outer edges of the main panel. The screws are for connecting the neutral and ground circuit wires to the bus. This bus attaches to the neutral cable from the utility meter.
There is a power overload when more amperage runs through a circuit than it is supposed to store. It is for that reason that breakers are designed to break safely and keep accidents like a fire outbreak to happen. If the electric current passing through one of the breakers reaches more than the maximum level, the switch will automatically switch to the off position and safeguard anything over that switch.
What To Do When The Electric Panel Trips?
A circuit breaker will fall short if the circuit has become heavily loaded. For example, you are using your hair dryer, and have the TV and the oven all operating simultaneously. Regardless they are plugged into different power sources, they are still on the same circuit. This could lead to too much electric power being used up, and the breaker will burst. If that happens, here are the things you need to do:
- Switch off the power to the devices that triggered the breaker to trip. In this case, turn off your hair dryer, or your oven, or both.
- Check out the electrical panel cabinet. This is located in the basement, or in the room with your furniture and water heater in a house. In an apartment, it is usually at the entrance near the front door.
- Look for the tripped breaker. The lever will be in between the on and off sets when it’s been tripped.
- Push the bar towards the off position, then switch back to the on position.
What Causes The Electric Panel Tripping?
Typically, circuit breakers do trip when a circuit is overloaded, but there are other several reasons such as short circuit and ground fault:
When a single hot wire contacts another, it will result in a short circuit. There could be something wrong with the wiring in your house or a defect with an electrical appliance unit or device you have plugged in. Turn off the power to the source. Inspect the power cord to check if there are any fused spots, or any other damage. Check the power outlet itself, and find out if there is a fiery smell or discoloration.
This is almost the same as a short circuit. It occurs when a hot wire gets in contact with the ground wire. It can also arise when a hot wire reaches the side of the outlet box.
Every year, several injuries are reported due to electrical accidents. Owing to this fact, it is essential to contact an expert when experiencing power surges and tripping. Maintaining your main electrical panel is one of the best ways to make your home a safe place to stay. Unless you have the knowledge and experience in doing some electrical work, it is highly recommended to seek professional help.
Whether you need a new electric panel installed, want an upgrade to a more modern circuit system, or just need a repair on your current panel, Electricians Service Team is your source for any quality electrical work.