The electrical panel, also referred to as a “breaker box, ” controls the electricity in your entire home. It comes with a range of controls that allow electricians to manipulate how electricity flows and ensure there’s balance in electricity flow throughout your home. It also allows you to turn off electricity in various parts of your home whenever you need to.
Your electrical panel may seem harmless, but it is one of the leading causes of fires in homes. In most cases, you may never know until it’s too late. In this article, we will discuss how you can care for your breaker box, prevent fires and protect yourself from financial ruin in case it happens.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Electrical Panel Fire?
Fortunately, yes. Home insurance covers fires caused by electrical panels. However, different insurance companies have different regulations that determine coverage eligibility. The type of panel, age and residential code in your area can affect your coverage eligibility. For instance, if your panel caused fire due to wear and tear, poor maintenance or age, your insurance company may not compensate you for the damages. You will only be compensated if the fire was purely accidental.
How Often Should You Have Your Electrical Panel Checked?
Your insurance company expects you to conduct regular panel maintenance to reduce the chances of filing a home insurance claim. How often you get your electrical system inspected depends on the age of the house, the number of appliances running and the number of people living in that home. Most electricians recommend having your panel checked at least every 3 to 5 years. If your panel is older than 30 years, you might need to get an electrical contractor to upgrade it to the latest safety standards.
What Are the Signs You Need to Upgrade or Replace Your Electric Panel?
You don’t have to wait until something bad happens to change your electrical panel. During an inspection, your electrician may recommend a breaker panel upgrade or individual circuit breaker replacement. For instance, if one of your circuit breakers trips even when it’s not overloaded, it might be faulty and may need to be replaced.
However, if you have more circuit breakers tripping for no apparent reason, you may need to change the entire box as this could mean either the panel is worn out or it can’t handle the current electricity needs in your home. Another sign is if lights are flickering or dimming, especially when you connect to another appliance. You also want to pay attention to burning smells around the panel. Check if the wires are warm to the touch, if there is fire residue in some parts of the panel or a plastic burning smell.
Keep Your Electric Panel in Great Condition With Walsh Electric
Now that we’ve established that your home insurance can only compensate you for a panel fire if it is purely accidental, why not take the initiative to have it inspected, replaced or upgraded? Walsh Electric can help you with any electrical service you need to keep your panel from causing fires. Call us at (703)-451-6622, and we will be happy to help.