How often should electrical panels be checked?

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Electrical Panels are key to the distribution of electricity in the home, but can be easily put to the back of the mind in day-to-day life. In fact, our latest global survey found that 1 in 3 electrical panels were not reviewed in the past 12 months.

In the event of an unexpected issue, it will rapidly become an urgent priority, so it’s best to familiarise yourself with some simple maintenance checks and develop an understanding of how your electrical panel works to prevent any potential issues.

Here, we take a look into how homeowners can build an understanding of their electrical panel and have greater control over how electricity and electrical equipment in their homes is managed.

Meet your electrical panel

Electrical panels have been key to electrical distribution since the early 1900’s and have continued to develop around our increasingly sophisticated demands.

In the home, electric panels can often be found tucked away in garages or utility rooms, but their contribution to safe and effective electricity distribution is paramount.

Today, panels have advanced to reflect the widespread availability of smart technology and connected apps providing insight into key data and remote monitoring or control.

How often does it need to be checked and how should this be done?

Although there is no legal requirement, you should be checking your electrical panel at least once a year to make sure it is in good working order, much like you annually service your boiler or car.

If you know the electrical panel was installed fairly recently, or was recently inspected, this can simply be a quick visual check, to make sure that nothing looks faulty.

However, for older electrical panels, it is best to get in a professional, such as an electrical engineer, to inspect and test it. It is recommended that an electrical panel is professionally checked every 10 years.

If you are renting the property, you may find that the electrical panel is inspected more frequently, which will be determined by the regulations of the country you’re living in. For instance, in the UK, legislation sets out that electrical supplies must be checked every 5 years.  

When do I need to contact a professional to check my electrical panel?

How Often Should Electrical Panels Be Checked

With almost 70% of our survey respondents having checked their electrical panel in the past 12 months, 45% of those people checked it themselves, with a further 25% having someone else – such as a landlord or family friend – check it.

Under half of respondents (42%) contacted a professional to carry out the inspection.

Whilst it is safe to carry out a simple visual inspection of the electrical panel for wear and tear yourself, you could consider its age and when it last had a full electrical inspection before doing anything more than this.

If it has been a long time since the last professional inspection, or if there are clear signs of an issue, it is best not to risk carrying out any work yourself and in some countries like Germany, working on an electrical system without being qualified is not permitted. Instead, you should contact a local electrician to check the panel, making sure they are correctly qualified and certified for the work – this certification will vary depending on where you live.

How to tell if there is an issue with the electrical panel

An increasing number of appliances with larger loads, as well as general depreciation, can contribute to issues with an electrical panel. These can present themselves in the form of the circuit breaker tripping, where the electricity supply to your home, or certain circuits in areas of your home, is automatically switched off due current overcharge.

If a circuit breaker is regularly tripping, then the first point of call should be to contact an electrician, who can inspect the electrical panel and identify any issues. Additionally, the same should be done if your lights are consistently flashing or flickering.

If your electrical panel is more than 40 years old, then it is also recommended that an inspection is carried out as a precaution to identify any potential issues or carry out a replacement before it becomes a risk to your home.

There are many signs that your panel may need to be inspected and it is important to be aware and observant if you notice anything unusual relating to electricity distribution in your home. After all, many of these issues can occur directly on the electrical panel itself, which if located in a garage or basement may not be immediately noticed, highlighting the need to check in occasionally.

Ignoring any of these potential issues can lead to damage to expensive devices, which can be costly to repair. Plus, it is better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to the safety of you and your home – there is a lot we can all do to prevent risks of electrical fires.

However, during any replacement or upgrade, whenever you are selecting an new electrical panel it is important to ensure you buy from a reliable manufacturer, as installing cheaper ‘copy-cat’ imports from untrusted brands can leave your home vulnerable to the same risks.

To learn more about electrical panels, check out our blog which explores their history, or for more information on our range of electric panels, circuit breakers or switches, contact one of our experts today using the online contact form or support centre.

Are you eager to learn how to keep your home safe for the future? Watch our YouTube Video to learn about the technology keeping your home safe now, and for the future.

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