Should You Go DIY or Pro for Electrical Panel Maintenance?

For the most part, electrical panel maintenance is something that must be completed by licensed professionals. However, there are a few things you can do to proactively monitor and identify potential problems that can then be addressed by an electrician. Before describing these DIY maintenance items, let’s review their functionality for a better understanding.

How Electrical Panels Convert and Distribute Power

The electrical appliances and devices in your house are the endpoints of the grid maintained by your utility provider. They draw power from the electrical panel, a component designed to convert the flow of current and distribute it across various circuits. If you consider the order of the grid, the panel in your house is two steps removed from the endpoint. For example, your refrigerator plugs into an outlet connected to a wiring circuit managed by the breaker. That, in turn, connects to the main service switch and ultimately to utility poles or underground cables.

The electricity delivered by the service provider must travel at high voltages to cover long distances, but the voltage is reduced along the way at substations and through various transformers. The main service switch is the first transformer, while the electrical panel is usually the second, unless it’s preceded by a surge protection upgrade. Each breaker is rated for sufficient amperage to convert the voltage into the 110/120 and 220/240-volt lines that run across your house.

Proactive DIY Maintenance of Electrical Panels

Your electrical panel needs visual inspections, cleaning, easy access, and testing. These are all maintenance items you can do on your own. If you carry them out regularly, you’ll be able to know the panel needs professional service.

Clear at least 3 feet of unobstructed space around the panel box. You don’t want to keep objects with flammable materials near the panel, which should be easily accessible in an emergency. Get into a good household habit of completing a visual inspection every few months. If you notice rust, corrosion, burning odors, or loose wires, close the panel and contact our office to have an electrician check it.

Keeping the panel clean is a matter of dusting it. Soft brushes and feather dusters are ideal for this maintenance task. You don’t want to wipe down the box or the switches. Allowing dust and grime to accumulate can result in a fire hazard that’s easy to prevent.

Finally, the breakers should be tested for functionality during a visual inspection. Flip the switches on and off to test that they’re doing their job. A breaker that doesn’t interrupt the circuit when turned off may have been degraded by overloading.

If your electrical panels are due for maintenance or repairs, then contact The Electric Company in Modesto, CA today. Our electricians take pride in the excellent service we provide to our clients.

For a professional electrician to service your lighting in Modesto, CA, call our team at The Electric Company today: (406) 760-1818!

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