Over time, things break or get old it is inevitable. There’s a good chance your electrical panel is painfully obsolete compared to current day technology. You may even need to upgrade your entire electrical panel. But what exactly is an electrical panel and how do you know when it’s time for a modern-day update?
Well, if you’ve had any difficulties with appliances working correctly or frequently blow fuses, it may be time to upgrade your system, but there are many indicators pointing you towards improving your electrical panel that you might not even be aware of.
What is an Electrical Panel?
An electrical panel is a central location in your establishment that connects all of the electrical wirings from both the interior and the exterior areas of your building. This also includes any installation that was added by your electric service provider. You might also call this your breaker or fuse box and is where you go whenever you need to turn the breakers on or off when you’ve lost power during a thunderstorm. Your electrical panel likely has a “main” circuit that controls your entire building’s electricity, but they also have individual breakers dedicated to the various parts of your building. Each should be correctly labeled so that you can accurately identify the area of your professional space that is affected.
The electrical panel is usually located either in a basement or utility/maintenance area, but it can be anywhere that’s mostly of sight, hence why you don’t think much about it. However, just like everything else in your building, electrical panels eventually need to be upgraded or, in some cases, replaced completely.
Why Should I Upgrade or Replace My Electrical Panel?
Most electrical panels made to support a small machine shop are made to operate at around 350 amps. However, as technology grows, power requirements will also continue to increase, and most modern spaces require more power than they were built to provide. If you’re not sure about the electrical capacity of your current electrical panel, look on the inside of the panel door. In most cases, your electrical panel will have a tag which lists the panel’s maximum voltage, current, and power dissipation capability for the panel and busses. Without a properly functioning electrical panel, you not only run the risk of electrical fires, but this could also affect access control systems, employee productivity, and video surveillance cameras which could result in a loss of revenue and/or compromise your workforce’s safety.
How Do I Know It’s Time For A New Electrical Panel?
If your building is more than 20 or 30 years old, you may need to make improvements to your electrical panel or, at the very least, schedule an appointment with a trusted electrician to look into it for you.
However, there are also a few ways that you can look for yourself to see if your electrical panel is functioning correctly.
4 Ways to Check the Functionality of Your Electrical Panel:
- If your electrical panel feels warm or gives off a burning smell, this could be a sign that the panel is overloaded or improperly installed and puts you at risk of an electrical fire.
- Your electrical panel often trips, makes a crackling sound,
- You notice that your lights dim or flicker frequently; this could be a sign that the panel may need to be replaced.
- Lastly, if you ever find that your computers or machines are not running at full capacity.
No matter what scenario you find yourself in, it is necessary to ensure your electrical panel is functioning correctly. While the process of updating, upgrading, or replacing electrical equipment can sometimes be a headache to do, improving your electrical panel can often make a world of difference in the quality of electricity in your building recieves, as well as prevent future hazards. If you suspect that your electrical panel is outdated or obsolete, hiring a professional electrician to ensure that everything is up to code is in the best interest of your employee’s safety.