One part of your home that you may not pay much attention to until something goes wrong is your home electrical panel. However, knowing how it works is crucial to troubleshooting problems and knowing what to do when things do not work as intended. Here are a few key things to know about your electrical panel.
Know Where The Main Shutoff Is Located
When you open up your electrical panel, there is going to be a grouping of switches on the left and right sides of the panel, and then a switch that is separated in the center will be on top of those switches. That top switch is the main electrical shut-off. Flipping it is going to shut off all of the power in your home if you need to act quickly. Turning the power back on is as easy as flipping the switch in the opposite direction.
Understand Your Circuits
There are going to be multiple circuits in your home that flow into a single circuit breaker. When your home was originally wired, the groupings of the circuits were determined based on the expected usage so that a single circuit can operate with a safe amount of electricity. For example, your bedrooms may all be on the same circuit because most people only have basic lights and alarm clocks running in those rooms. However, a kitchen may require its own circuit for the microwave and refrigerator because of how much power they use.
It is ideal to have the circuits labeled so that you know exactly what each one controls. If your circuit breakers are not labeled, it's a good idea to take the time and make sure you know what each circuit breaker controls.
Know Why Circuit Breakers Trip
A circuit breaker can trip for a variety of different reasons. The most common one is because too much current is flowing through it, but circuits also trip when there are power surges as well to prevent too much electricity from flowing to your devices.
If a circuit breaker trips, the switch will turn off in the circuit breaker panel. There may be a color that indicates that the circuit has tripped, or the switch is now in the opposite direction. You'll need to manually flip the switch back to the on position to get electricity flowing again.
Do you find yourself constantly flipping circuit breakers back on? You will definitely need an electrician to fix the problem. They can rewire parts of your home so certain outlets are on a different circuit, which should disperse the amount of electricity flowing through a single circuit and prevent circuit breakers from tripping.
For more information, contact a local electrician.