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Signs Your Electrical Panel Is Overloaded

Posted on: November 6, 2013

Every year, dozens of people are injured as a result of unsafe conditions created by faulty electrical panels. With winter fast approaching and more people plugging in space heaters and turning on heating systems, this is a perfect time to go over a few ways to make sure your electrical panel is working properly. Be on the lookout for the following signs that your panel is overloaded:

Power Outages

By this, we mean both full-on outages and things like tripped breakers and flickering lights. Your electrical panel is designed to handle only so much, and if your breakers trip frequently, this could be a sign that you’re overloaded. Storms with heavy rains, wind, and lightning can also cause panels to temporarily overload.

Sparks

Sparks when you go to plug something in or coming directly from the panel are a sure sign that something is seriously wrong with your panel. As soon as you see one, turn on the power and examine your panel for burning smells or indications of smoke. Even if you don’t see any, call an electrician just to be on the safe side.

Overheating

It’s natural for things like switch plates, wall outlet covers, cords, even plugs to get a little warm when current is flowing through them. If they get too hot to touch, however, this is a definite sign that something is wrong. Cut the power and contact an electrician as soon as possible.

Buzzing Sounds

If you can hear buzzing sounds coming from your electrical panel, there may be an overload or you may have worn parts in need of replacement. The buzzing can be a sign of mechanical vibration or electrical contacts arcing. It could also be coming from the bimetallic strip that trips the breaker.

Frayed or Damaged Insulation

If the insulation material on any of your wiring is cut, damaged, or cracked, this can be an indication of an electrical current overload. As soon as you notice this, replace the wiring—it can be a major fire hazard.

Electrical fires increase significantly during the winter, so now is a perfect time to take a look at your electrical panel and make sure it’s operating safely. And if you need electrical maintenance in Maryland, DC, or Virginia, call Kolb Electric today!

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