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Breaker Panels

What is a Breaker Panel?

A breaker panel is the electrical box that contains your circuit breakers.  Sometimes it is referred to as a fuse box (because before there were circuit breakers, there were fuses in these boxes), the manufacturers commonly refer to it as a “Load Center”, many people also call it a junction box (but technically that could be any electrical box used for splices).  The breaker panel contains the “homerun” for each circuit, (the wire that feeds each circuit). It is the heart of your electrical system.

Fuse Box / Breaker Panel Upgrades

A Circuit Breaker Panel is the heart of your electrical system.  ALL of the power for your home or business passes through this box.

The life expectancy of a Circuit Breaker Panel is 30 years MAX!  And this is if it is in proper working condition. Many times this breaker panel is exposed to moisture in the air by being located in a basement or a garage. If a Circuit Breaker Panel gets wet, even once, it is damaged and must be replaced. It is very common for moisture to enter the panel through the main cable coming in from the outside. This can be from a deteriorated cable, bad seals, or an improperly mounted head on the top of the cable, just to name a few. In most cases, when replacing a circuit breaker panel, the exterior cable and all related components most be replaced which is called a Service Upgrade.

Why it’s important to have your breaker panel inspected by POPS ELECTRIC

Lets face it, nothing lasts forever.  Breaker panels included.  Let’s think back to the technology of over 30 years ago…..the time when VCR’s were state-of-the-art!  No smart phones.  No cell phones.  No Cordless phones! The world was a different place.  Do you feel safe knowing that your circuit breaker panel was installed in or BEFORE that era? You shouldn’t.  Your circuit breakers are the only part of your electrical system that can prevent a fire.  All other parts of the system can potentially cause a fire.  Your wiring, receptacles, switches, light fixtures, can all be potential fire hazards if your circuit breakers do not limit the amount of current going to them.

Other than age, there are a couple of brands of circuit breakers/panels that are also a concern.  Federal Pacific and Zinsco circuit breakers and breaker panels are known fire hazards.  If you have either of these brand panels in your home or business, it should be replaced immediately.  Here is a video showing how it can cause a fire in your home.  Instead of the circuit breaker tripping when the load reached 20amps, it allowed up to 60amps of power over this wire and the result was fire.

Finally, the physical condition of a breaker panel is important.  It could be brand new and a quality manufacturer, but if it gets damaged in any way, it needs to be repaired or replaced immediately.  Water damage is the most common.  If any part of the main electrical service on the exterior fails, and allows rain water into the cable, the water can travel through the inside of the cable, directly into the breaker panel.  Many times directly onto the main breaker! It doesn’t take an electrician to know that this is not good.

If you feel that your breaker panel may fall into one of these categories, immediately call our office or fill out the Contact POPS to schedule a free estimate!

Whole House Surge Protector

Whenever you buy a computer or TV, the salesperson will always recommend a surge protector. It’s like a small insurance policy to protect your investment. Well just like the surge protector strip that you plug your computer or TV into, a whole house surge protector is just what it sounds like. It is an electronic device that connects directly to your breaker panel, to protect all of your electrical and electronic devices in your home or business. It’s a first line of defense, right where your power enters the building. And nowadays, everything contains sensitive electronics: computers, TV’s, heaters, air conditioners, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, microwaves, well pumps, sump pumps, ceiling fans, LED lights, dimmers, and the list goes on and on!

Mike Holmes approval of Whole House Surge Protectors:

100 & 200 AMP Service Upgrades

A Service Upgrade is when you replace your Main Breaker Panel / Fuse Box and all related components.

A Service Upgrade includes:

  • a new Circuit Breaker box
  • all new circuit breakers
  • label what each breaker works
  • a new main cable on exterior of house
  • new meter socket (yes, you own the meter socket, the utility company owns the meter which unplugs from the socket)
  • 2 – 8′ ground rods wired into main panel (required by code)
  • new water pipe ground from water main to panel (required by code)
  • bond hot and cold pipes at water heater

Service Upgrades come in 2 sizes, 100 AMP and 200 AMP. There is a third size, 150 AMP, which is obsolete. Either you have a home that is on the smaller side and only requires a 100 AMP, or, for most homes nowadays, 200 Amp is the new standard. At POPS ELECTRIC, we can complete the entire job in just 1 day!