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Serving The Chicagoland Area Since 1998


ServiceMax Blog

Signs You’ve Got a Damaged Electrical Panel


Your electrical panel is like a traffic conductor. It takes all the electrical current that comes to your home and makes sure it is sent to the correct locations. These days, even though most of us have circuit breaker panels, electricity usage is rising to the point where they often need to be upgraded to accommodate a higher flow of electricity. (And if you have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker panel, it definitely needs an upgrade!)

Sometimes, the need for electrical work doesn’t come from wanting to upgrade to a bigger or newer system. Sometimes, electrical panels are actually damaged. This requires an electrician immediately to avoid power outages and fire hazards. How can you tell if that’s what you’re dealing with? Here are some of the key signs.

Tripping Breakers

It’s common for a single circuit breaker to get overloaded from a specific appliance. For example, if an air conditioner is using a lot of power, that circuit may get tripped whenever you try to plug the vacuum cleaner in on the same circuit. But when the problem occurs with a variety of circuits around the house, the issue is the breaker. Perhaps it’s just not supplying enough power for your home’s current needs, but it can also indicate that damage has occurred. For more specific signs of damage, pay attention to your senses.


While a localized electrical issue can often be spotted by noticing that an outlet or light switch plate is warm to the touch, an issue with the electrical panel that could affect the whole house can also be detected by feeling for warmth coming from the panel. Because this could mean that there is damaged, broken, or fraying wiring, it poses a serious risk of electrical fire. You need to call in an expert in electrical panels in Park Ridge, IL immediately. 


An electrical fire has a distinct smell that is sometimes described as acrid, hot, dry, sharp, and unpleasant, and may smell like burning plastic because of the coating of the wires being burned. If the area around your electrical panel smells like this, there may already have been a small electrical fire inside the panel. Call in a professional electrician ASAP.


Look at the interior of your electrical cabinet. If there are scorch marks, blackened areas, or soot, it’s a sign that an electrical fire started and, thank goodness, went out. Because this could happen again at any time, it’s critical to get electrical repairs. And if you see any sparks, shut down the power to your house immediately and call the electrician right away.


A quiet buzzing is a normal sound for an electrical panel to make. If the buzzing gets much louder than the usual sound, as though more and more bees are infesting your electrical panel, it’s likely that a circuit has overloaded but the breaker was unable to trip. 

Keeping customers safe from electrical hazards has been our business for 25 years. Please help us to keep you safe by reaching out whenever you have an electrical concern.

Contact ServiceMax for qualified, experienced electricians.

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