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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

How Do I Read My Electrical Panel?

This is a great question and one that we get from many different customers. Some electrical panels are poorly labeled and homeowners are practically searching in the dark for the right switch for a circuit. Other homeowners might have strange numbers or symbols on their electrical panel that can correspond to different types of industry jargon.

As your local electrical experts, we’d like to do a deep dive on reading your electrical panel. The more you know about how it operates and how it should be correctly labeled, the better off you’ll be when something goes wrong or when you’re diagnosing a problem.

Remember, knowing this kind of information does not replace professional electrical panel service in Cedar Rapids, IA. In fact, customers can seriously injure themselves or ruin electrical components of their home if they’re not careful. This guide is meant to inform you so you can better know when a pro is needed, or if you just need to flip a switch.

Location Labels

First, let’s talk about one of the most useful aspects of your electrical panel–the labels for which circuits go where. These labels are great for when you accidentally overload a circuit and the outlet in your home stops working. You can quickly travel to your electrical panel and locate which circuit that might be, just to flip it back on.

That can work in many cases of a tripped circuit, but sometimes that’s not going to be enough. If you’re flipping panel switches to no avail, then call a professional electrician to locate the problem and diagnose it. You could have some faulty wires or a problem with the panel or outlet.

Make sure you keep these labels up to date! If you add on any sections to your home, or remove outlets, be sure to reflect these changes on your electrical panel so you’re not confused in the future.

Amperage Capacity

If you see numbers on your electrical panel, this could be the amperage capacity of the panel. Simply put, this is going to identify the capacity of the system, like 100 or 200 amps. Typically, panels today have an average capacity of 200 amps, but this number can vary depending on the type of panel you have and your home.

This is an important bit of information to have, because it should influence any electrical changes you make in the future. If you see numbers that you don’t understand, or that are way outside of this boundary, then call a professional to have a look.

There’s Nothing Written

Uh oh, there’s nothing written on your electrical panel! This can be bad news because all of those switches need to be labeled properly in order for the panel to be looked at correctly. This can be done pretty easily by a professional electrician, and it will save you a lot of time from trying to do it yourself.

You’ve Still Got an Old Fuse Box

Fuse boxes haven’t been used in a while, and for good reason too. They’re dangerous and downright bad at keeping electrical systems running in a home. Make sure you get your old fuse box replaced with a new, high-tech electrical panel that can handle the load of your devices.

At Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc., your comfort is our promise! To set up an appointment in the Cedar Rapids area, give us a call at the number above, email or schedule an appointment online. 

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