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Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric Blog

How a Professional Replaces an Electrical Panel

The heart of every residential electrical system in Sutton is the electrical panel. Most of the time, electrical panels operate smoothly without any need for human interaction. Sometimes, though, you’ll experience a problem with your panel that will require it to be replaced. When that happens, it’s good to know the steps the pros take to swap out your old electrical panel for a new one. It’s worth mentioning here that replacing an electrical panel is absolutely not a do-it-yourself project. Here is a basic guide to the process that electricians follow when they replace an electrical panel.

Understanding Electrical Panels

Your home’s electrical panel serves two primary functions. One purpose of the panel is to distribute the power supply coming into your home. Stepping down from the large supply wire into individual circuits, the electrical panel sends electricity to the different switches and outlets in your home. This prevents you from having to run a thick electrical supply line to each outlet. Instead, you can run a relatively thin wire that’s easy to handle. The other purpose of an electrical panel is to house the circuit breakers. Circuit breaks can stop the flow of electricity to a circuit if an electrical overload occurs. This greatly reduces the risk of death due to electrocution.

Electrical Panel Problems

Two big problems often require a new electrical panel to be installed: The first is when your panel becomes more than 25 years old. After this point, the circuit breakers, insulators and other components in the panel tend to break down to the point that they can no longer safely carry electricity. The second is any type of damage to the electrical panel. If the panel becomes exceptionally rusty, hot to the touch, or if you notice that multiple breakers are tripping frequently, it’s a good time to consider having Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric replace your electrical panel. It’s always important to consult an electrician regarding panel replacement because the electrician may be able to replace individual components without replacing the entire panel.

Panel Upgrades

Additionally, you’ll need to upgrade your electrical panel if your current panel can no longer supply sufficient amperage to power your home. This occurs most frequently if you add another room to your home or put in a pool or other outdoor feature that consumes a lot of electricity. Trying to run excess electrical devices on an undersized panel is a serious fire risk that’s not worth taking. When upgrading, it’s important to talk to your electrician about the size of the panel. It’s a good idea to install a panel that’s large enough to accommodate your current needs as well as any future growth.

Turn Off the Power

Before replacing the electrical panel, either you or your electrician will need to call your local utility company to shut off the power to your home. Since replacing an electrical panel requires working past the point where any breakers can interrupt the flow of power, this step is an absolute must. With complicated wire routings and large amounts of electricity involved in the project, it would be easy to cause injury to yourself or damage to your home if you’re not a well-trained electrician.

Remove Electrical Connections

After the power is off, our electricians can begin removing the electrical connections. First, they will remove the main connection from the utility company to your home. If your home has above-ground power lines, this is done at the top of a riser, which is a metal conduit through which the main electrical supply cables pass. Underground service lines must be disconnected at their termination point underground. Typically, the utility company will have to locate the termination point to avoid slicing into the main service line. With the main electrical connection broken, our electricians will then remove the connections in the meter box and the individual connections on the breaker panel.

Take Down Existing Equipment

With every electrical connection broken, our electricians will then proceed to remove the existing riser, meter box and breaker panel. When removing the breaker panel, they will pay special attention to protecting the electrical wires so that these wires can be used again on the new electrical panel. After the old equipment is down, the electricians will fill in any holes that won’t be covered by the new equipment and take any necessary measurements in case you need your panel moved to a new location.

Attach New Equipment

When installing the new equipment, our electricians will make sure that the equipment is level before attaching it to the wall. They must also make sure to screw into studs so that the heavy equipment doesn’t come loose over time. If you have above-ground utilities, most locales require that the access point for the main electrical supply line is at least 10 feet off the ground to prevent accidental contact with the exposed wire. Another important step in the installation process is making sure that proper stress-relief couplings are in place so that the metal in the panel and conduit doesn’t wear through the insulation on the wires.

Install Main Supply Lines

The main electrical supply lines are thick and can be unwieldy. Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric takes time to carefully route these wires to provide a neat and organized finished product. The lines have to be routed through the meter box and attached to the correct terminals in the box. The electrician has to pay careful attention to the arrangement of the positive, negative, and neutral wires so that the utility company can correctly connect the supply wires to the power line.

Make Circuit Connections

After attaching the main electrical supply lines to the main breaker, our team can make connections to the individual circuits. In some cases, the lines running to the outlets and switches in your home may not be long enough to reach the correct circuit breakers. An electrician from Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric will carefully study your specific situation to determine whether new wires are needed or if spliced wires will suffice. In some cases, by carefully routing the neutral wires, an electrician can find enough slack to overcome the problem of short wires.

Finishing the Project

Once all of the electrical connections are made, one of our electricians then has to install the front cover of the electrical panel and meter box. These covers prevent accidental electrocution caused by touching bare electrical wires. The final step in the process is to test the individual circuits to figure out which switches and outlets they control. After figuring out which circuits go where, our electricians will label each circuit going into the electrical panel to allow for easy circuit identification.

Your Electrical Experts

At Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric, we take pride in every job we do. Whether we’re installing new electrical panels, repairing or maintaining air conditioners and furnaces, repairing sewer pipes or performing one of our other services, you can be sure that we won’t stop until the job is completed correctly. For over 10 years, we’ve been serving the Sutton area with top-notch home maintenance and repair services, earning countless five-star customer reviews along the way.

To learn more about upgrading your home’s electrical system, contact Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric today.

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