5 Signs Your Commercial Electrical Panel Needs An Upgrade

There comes a time when upgrading your commercial electrical panel or the circuit breakers, lighting and other electrical components becomes a necessity in a commercial property. The age and size of your building are not necessarily the defining factors here. Upgrading electrical components could very well be triggered by the need to save on energy costs or enhance workplace safety. The truth is that making different upgrades like replacing your commercial electrical panel can lead to significant improvements.

Just like in a residence, in a commercial building the electrical panel is the point where power from the utility provider reaches your property. In order to ensure that electricity is efficiently used, upgrading the electrical panel is sometimes necessary. It’s true that you can repair an outdated or faulty commercial electrical panel, but in the end, a full upgrade may be needed. Additionally, you always want to think about electrical safety in a commercial building.

As the panels age and the power required by a business changes, they become out-of-date. But just to be sure you are not rushing into anything, here are a few signs that an upgrade is necessary that you should be aware of. 

1. Your Workers Are Constantly Tripping Circuit Breakers

commercial electrical panel breakers

Probably the most obvious and common sign that your electrical system is having some technical issues and may need replacing is the fact that your circuit breakers trip. You’ve just arrived at the office, turned on the desk lights, and are getting ready to start the day by preparing a coffee in the cafeteria area. Just as you hit the coffee maker, everything shuts off. This is a clear sign that the individual circuit powering your office isn’t exactly up to the task. 

The most obvious solution to this particular issue appears to be replacing the circuit breaker, which is supplying your cafeteria area, with one that has a greater capacity. However, this may create difficulties if the wiring supplying the area is not fit to handle that load. 

If you are having problems with your circuit breakers, the best thing you could possibly do is contact a qualified electrician or contractor to learn about all your options. You might discover that changing the circuit breaker is enough, but you might need to install an additional circuit or upgrade the wiring. 

2. Your Commercial Electrical Panel Is Hot

If you notice that the panel is hot, or that one of your light switches or electrical outlets is unexpectedly warm when touching it, you might be facing a serious problem. When your electrical system is adequately designed and maintained, hot panels, receptacles or light switches are not common occurrences. You should contact an electrician as soon as possible and have them verify your electrical wiring. 

If your panel cannot handle the power requirements of your operations, it’s very likely that the excess heat will build up and your wiring’s insulation will melt. This can create sparks which can lead to a fire. 

Plus, if the individual circuit breakers aren’t fit to fulfill your business needs, they will most likely trip and shut the power off just when you need it. This is clearly a huge inconvenience, not to mention dangerous, as you are exposed to a significant fire risk. 

3. You’re Using Too Many Extension Cords

office extension cords

We’re all familiar with the jumble of cables under the desk. Sometimes extension cords make their way in conference rooms, hallways, break rooms and more, which means employees need to be cautious when walking around the office so they don’t trip. This is far from ideal. If you notice that you’re relying too heavily on extension cords, power strips, or multi-outlet power taps to plug in your devices, then you’re having a real problem. 

These are not only a messy solution, but they also increase the risk of overloading the circuit. In return, this could cause breakers to trip and the wiring to be overloaded. You need to consult with an electrician and ask them to add extra outlets in those areas that are heavily used. You might also consider upgrading the wiring and even the commercial electrical panel. 

4. Rust or Corrosion on Your Commercial Electrical Panel

If you’re experiencing any of the common signs mentioned above, then you should also check for signs of deterioration on the panel, like rust or corrosion. In an electrical connection, these create extra resistance to the electricity flow and consequently they create heat. In severe cases, excess heating and electrical arcing can occur inside the panel and both of these issues are fire hazards. 

If a panel is rusted on the outside, the electrician will also investigate the interior of the panel. Rust and corrosion are definitely red flags. If you notice any of these signs on the lugs, busbars, breakers, or wiring, you need to contact an electrician and have the panel checked. Corroded breakers: 

  • may fail to trip;
  • may be slow to trip;
  • may not come out with excessive force.

So, corrosion may cause the component not to operate adequately. Some may no longer function at all due to corrosion. 

5. Lights Are Flickering

office lights flickering

Another sign that could indicate potential issues with your business’ electrical system are flickering and dimming lights. To understand the type of problem you are faced with, you will have to categorize the behavior: 

  • When the load on the circuit is increased, your lights dim. If the lights in the cafeteria area dim when you turn on the coffee maker or if the lights in the office dim momentarily when you turn on different devices, it’s an indication that the wiring in that particular space cannot handle your demands. This can lead to overheating the wiring or the receptacles, which is of course a serious issue. 
  • A random flickering in your lights is yet another sign you should be aware of. First, you should pay attention to whether the flickering occurs with one or numerous lights. If the problem is limited to one light, then that wiring, in particular, is the problem. If there are numerous lights involved, then you might have a more complex problem. 

In any case, you need to pay attention to dimming or flickering lights. Consult a qualified electrician or contractor and have the panel and wiring checked. 

A Simple Electrical Upgrade Can Upgrade Your Quality of Life

The right electrical upgrade can dramatically improve the value and appearance of any home or business. You’ll be amazed at what a difference the right electrical upgrade can make for your home or business. Make sure that when you select an electrical company to do the enhancement of your home and you have decided to take your enhancement to the level where you require an electrical upgrade that the technician at the company has a good working knowledge and the experience to properly guide you in this area.

When you decide to upgrade, our well-trained and certified electricians have all the experience and training needed to complete your electrical panel upgrade project from start to finish, with a minimum of fuss or disturbance. Please contact us right away at 310-800-2401

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