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Are Your Lighting Circuits Overloaded?

Seeing the lights flicker in your home is something you can expect from time to time; this is often related to thunderstorms and lightning strikes, particularly during the afternoon and evening hours. Flickering could be a sign of a power surge caused by higher voltage delivered by a lightning strike or by tree branches falling on cables, poles, or other pieces of equipment maintained by local utility companies.

If you happen to see the lights flicker or dim during a perfect stormless evening, however, this could be a warning sign that the lighting circuit has become overloaded. It could also be a sign that your electric panel needs to be upgraded.

When Lighting Circuits Overload

The electric service delivered to your home or commercial property consists of a series of circuits connected to an electric panel. All the lights in your home are usually set on dedicated circuits; this makes the service more efficient and easier to troubleshoot. The panel is connected to the electricity meter and the grid.

Let’s say your home has two lighting circuits: one for the bedrooms and bathrooms and the other for the rest of the property. Each circuit is assigned a breaker at the panel, so if the bedroom lights are the only ones flickering, this could signal an overload.

Strange Noises and Weird Smells

Tripped circuit breakers and burnt fuses at the panel are the most obvious signs that a lighting circuit can no longer manage the required load, but there are others you can hear and smell.

  • Buzzing or humming noises coming from outlets or switches: This can be a sign of arcing, which is a type of electrical discharge that can cause heat, damage, and fire.
  • Burning smells coming from electric components, walls, or ceiling panels: This is a serious warning sign that there may be a fire hazard.
  • Discolored or melted switches or outlets: This is another sign of overheating or arcing, and the smell of melted plastic tends to be easy to detect.

The warning signs you can hear or smell are sometimes related to the wiring or the connections; however, they are more often part of an issue that can be traced to the electrical panel.

Electrical Panel Upgrades Solve Overloaded Circuits

Each year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes criteria for the various tax credits available to homeowners who wish to upgrade their residential properties. Promoting and facilitating energy efficiency is at the heart of the EPA’s mission, which is why homeowners should look into how these tax credits can cover the cost of an electric panel upgrade up to $600 or 30% of the project.

The easiest way to deal with circuit overloads is to ensure that the electric panel is not only in good shape but also adequate to handle the flow of voltage required by modern appliances. If you want to learn more about what an electric panel upgrade entails for your home or commercial establishment in Pasco, WA or the surrounding area, contact ESSCO Electric today.

Call today at (509) 366-2491 or contact us online for more information about our services.

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