Hidden far away in some distant room, electrical panels aren’t exactly the most glamorous of home devices. While we’re sure you’d much rather explore your PVR or new home security system, none of those would work without your electrical panel. That panel is the place where electricity enters your home and is distributed safely throughout. Every homeowner should be familiar with their panel, it’s components, and have a general idea of how it works. In this article, we would like to do just that, get you acquainted with the grey box in your basement.
Hide & Seek
Before you can learn about your electrical panel, you have to find it. If you’ve ever been caught in an outage, stumbling around with a flashlight, you know that looking for it in the dark can be frustrating. If you’ve never looked at your electrical panel before, make time to check it out before a power outage. Typically, it will be encased in a metal box recessed into the wall, but it could have been painted a different colour to match the decor. Check the laundry room, basement, inside closets, or even in the garage. These panels tend to be in places far away from main household tasks.
Once you locate the panel, you’ll see the outer panel door that swings open. Look inside and there will be a protective cover overtop of numerous circuit breakers. Ideally, each breaker should be labelled with the area of your home it sends electricity to. If not, you may have to test them out yourself or have an electrician come in and do it for you. Just be sure not to switch off the main breaker unless it is an emergency like flood or fire. This one looks like the others but is bigger and usually placed in a unique location, such as at the very top of the panel, the very bottom, or mounted sideways.
Working with Your Panel
Most of the work you’ll ever do with your panel is labelling it and flipping breakers back on. Make sure the area is clear of any mess so that it’s easily accessible. Always keep a flashlight accessible so if the lights ever do go out you can use it to access and view the panel. If a single breaker has tripped, switch it all the way off, wait a moment, and then flip it back on. If your home is consistently experiencing tripped breakers, it could be a sign that your electrical panel needs to be upgraded or repaired to handle the current electrical load. In this case, call in a licensed electrician to assess the situation.
Just because your electrical panel is out of sight doesn’t mean it should always be out of mind. Spend a little bit of time getting to know your panel so you know exactly where to go in case of a tripped breaker. For maintenance, repairs, and upgrades, trust your local Okotoks experts at Westridge Electric. Contact us today to book an appointment!