Your home's breaker box, sometimes also referred to as an electrical service panel, is the location in your home where the main power line is routed to all of the outlets and wiring of your home. If your breaker box begins to malfunction, you may begin to experience a multitude of electrical issues throughout your home, as well as the increased risk of an electrical fire. In order to prevent this from happening, there are a couple of things you should look out for to determine when you need to contact an electrician to have your breaker box replaced.
As your breaker box ages, it becomes less effective at handling power surges, which means that you will likely experience more consistent tripped breakers. If you notice that you have to reset certain circuits in your home, but have not increased the amount of electricity usage in your everyday life, your breaker box has probably begun to reach the end of its lifespan. However, it should be noted that if only a single breaker continually trips, the issue may lie with only that breaker, which is easier and cheaper to fix.
Scorch Marks in the Panel
If you notice that there are burnt sections within your breaker box, you should contact a local electrician immediately. Worn wires and components can cause heat to build up within the panel and cause electrical fires. Usually, these fires are fairly small and will burn themselves out due to a lack of fuel, but they are still extremely dangerous, because if they are able to spread into your walls or find another fuel source, they can quickly become serious house fires. Avoid any excessive electricity usage until a professional can take a look at your breaker box.
If after a breaker trips, you find that you are not able to reset it—or that resetting it does not allow electricity to continue flowing as normal—your breaker box has probably begun to fail. Most of the time, this will occur to a few specific breakers that have experienced the greatest amount of wear first, but will quickly spread to other breakers as well until your entire home is left in the dark. You should contact an electrician as soon as you notice that you can't reset a breaker before this happens, as a complete blackout can be a major disruption to your life.