Make sure your electrical panel is safely wired, accessible
No one thinks about their main electrical panel until the power goes off to the house or in a certain room or appliance. That’s when panic sets in and everyone tries to locate the main shutoff or specific breakers.
Main electrical panels are located either in the basement or an attached garage, usually just opposite the meter on the outside of the house.
Sometimes during inspections we find that storage items or cabinetry is blocking the access to the panel. The clearance for the main panel should be 30 inches either side and 36 inches in front of the panel.
This is for safety: if someone is working at the panel and it arcs, or sparks, they can step away without tripping on something.
When inspecting electrical wiring inside panels, a common wiring flaw we find is double circuitry, also know as a double tap. This can cause wires to overheat or the breaker to fail. If the breaker is carrying too much current, it will normally trip, or shut off.
If there is a double circuit, a licensed electrician can repair this be adding another breaker if there is room on the panel.
One of the other issues we frequently find is double circuitry at the main shut-off. This happens when a wire is added to run power to a sub panel. This problem should be corrected immediately by a licensed electrician.
If you have overhead service lines, make sure that tree limbs are pruned away from wires. If the limb falls, it could be a while before power is restored.
The line should also be no lower than 10 feet in most areas around the home, 12 feet above driveways and 18 feet above alleys and streets.
If you have questions about your electrical service contact a licensed electrician or your local utility provider.