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Your electrical panel, also known as a distribution board, DB board, breaker panel, or panelboard, is a crucial and almost central component of your property’s electrical system. The electrical panel divides incoming electrical power into multiple circuits throughout the building. When the electrical panel senses unusual electrical activity in any of the circuits, the respective "circuit breaker" trips OFF and cuts the electrical supply to that particular circuit. Older homes have fuses instead of circuit breakers. These fuses blow out and are troublesome and costly. Whether your electrical panel uses circuit breakers or fuses, there will eventually come a time to replace the unit. But when? Mr. Electric of Atlanta is here to break it down.
Fuses Vs. Circuit Breakers
The primary role of the electrical panel is to monitor the many electrical circuits for unusual electrical activity. Whenever there is a short circuit or electrical overload, the circuit breaker will shut off power to that respective power. This is usually done in one of two ways.
In some older homes, you will find small fuses inside of the electrical panel. These fuses contain filament that melts when it suffers a voltage overload. This cuts off electrical power to the respective circuit. To return power, you will have to replace the "blown fuse" with a new one.
Modern electrical panels use circuit breakers. In these electrical panels, you will find rows of switches. When there is a power overload in a circuit, the corresponding switch flips into the "OFF" position to cut the electrical supply to that circuit. All you have to do is flip the switch back into the "ON" position.
If your building has a fuse box, we recommend you upgrade to a circuit breaker panel as soon as possible. As you can guess, fuse boxes are costly and bothersome since you have to replace the fuse each time it blows out. Fuse boxes are also considered a liability for property insurance providers, meaning they will either not cover you or charge you a higher premium.
New Appliances, Electronics, and Devices
Each circuit has a limited capacity, meaning it can only support a certain amount of power. If you have ever plugged in one too many appliances, electronics, and other devices into one circuit and witnessed everything suddenly shut off, you have experienced an electrical circuit overload. This is a crucial safety feature of the electrical panel. If the circuit did not shut off, the electrical overload would cause the electrical wires to overheat and potentially lead to an electrical fire.
If you have bought new appliances, electronics, and devices but your circuits are not upgraded, then you will likely experience frequent overloads and circuit breaks. We recommend you add new circuits to meet the higher power demand.
The electrical panel is responsible for shutting off power to electrical circuits when it detects unusual activity in a certain circuit. If your circuits frequently trip off, then there is probably an electrical overload or something wrong with the electrical wiring or electrical panel itself. Do not force things by constantly flipping switches back on. Call Mr. Electric of Atlanta to have a dedicated electrician inspect your unit.