Electrical service panels are an integral feature in every commercial or industrial setting, making a significant impact on the daily running of the business property in relation to its function, safety, and efficiency. If your facilities are showing signs of damage, or simply haven’t been treated for a long time, an electrical panel upgrade can help your organization prepare for the demands of operating a firm in the modern era.
An electrical panel is the metal box that you probably refer to as a fuse box, circuit breaker, or breaker panel. They are traditionally found connected to the building’s exterior, but may also be found in an electrical room or the basement. Their chief function is to facilitate a reliable supply of electricity to the commercial property.
All properties, including residential ones that receive an electricity supply, will boast at least one electrical panel. However, more extensive commercial settings may additionally use secondary service panels in other parts of the property or utilize switchgear.
Most electrical panels include a main circuit breaker that can control the electrical supply to the property via a simple ‘on’ or ‘off’ switch. Meanwhile, individual circuit breakers are used to control specific locations. For example, there may be one circuit breaker for the storeroom and another for the office reception. Other setups may use one circuit breaker for the lights, alongside another for appliances or machinery.
While the electrical panels may show some contrasts from one company to the next due to different manufacturers and building requirements, the fundamental features remain the same.
In addition to ensuring that the building receives electricity in a reliable manner, electrical panels additionally ensure that the current is provided in a safe manner. The most noteworthy safety feature is that each circuit breaker is designed to trip when it suffers from overheating. Essentially breakers are built to carry a current up to a certain level. Without the trip attribute, excessive currents could cause the wires to overheat and potentially catch fire.
It’s a key feature in residential properties, but is particularly vital for commercial buildings as electrical outlets, including equipment and machinery, may be continuously plugged in. The electrical panel’s ability to trip the switches when the current is too much can prevent a range of dangerous situations, protecting assets, and potentially saving lives.
Reliable electricity is something that business owners expect at all times and is often taken for granted until a problem occurs. All company owners know that electricity is essential to their daily operations. Still, the following stats should quickly highlight the impact that electricity has on the venture.
On average, businesses use between 15,000 and 25,000 kWh of energy a year. There are roughly 24,000 electrical fires per year in the U.S., covering both residential and commercial incidents. A huge 98% of organizations state that a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000 in lost revenue and increased costs.
While there are several contributing factors to consider, including your choice of electricity supplier, the electrical panel is what facilitates the electricity supply from the power grid. Its role in the business operations must not be ignored.
While electrical panels are designed to facilitate safe and efficient electricity supplies, they can encounter problems over time. The constant supply of current can cause individual breakers to overheat, which subsequently stops them from tripping when required. Once the trip facility does not work as it should, the threats posed by electrical overheating become severe.
Breakers can become damaged over time due to a wide selection of reasons. Perhaps the most common source, however, stems from the materials used. Aluminum heats at a quicker rate than copper, meaning any electrical panels using the former solution are at risk of damage over time. Unfortunately, there was an era when aluminum was the most common option, mainly due to copper shortages. These outdated units are the perfect candidates for an industrial panel upgrade.
An electrical panel upgrade can, therefore, be used to achieve a wide range of beneficial outcomes. The most telling attributes include;
Most electrical panels have a lifespan of 30 to 40 years, but this can vary due to a variety of issues. The fluctuations are a little greater in commercial settings compared to residential buildings due to the type of usage. However, electrical panels are very good at altering owners to potential faults, particularly if you know what to look for.
This can be due to faults or changing requirements within the business building. Issues associated with commercial electrical panels include, but are not limited to;.
Ignoring the need for a service panel upgrade, or trying to delay the inevitable, can lead to significant problems relating to various aspects of the business. Some of the most worrying and damaging repercussions are;
If you believe that your commercial building needs a new and improved electrical service panel, you are probably right to make this assumption. Even if it isn’t an emergency situation, taking action at the next convenient moment is advised, as leaving it untreated exacerbates the problems.
Electrical panels are made from various elements, which is why calling an experienced electrical technician to provide a comprehensive electrical panel inspection. This will analyze a full range of components, such as;
Whether identifying a simple issue relating to an incorrect setting or diagnosing the need to replace the electrical panel, this is the first step towards getting your systems back up to scratch. An electrical panel inspection is highly encouraged when making significant electrical upgrades or when you are having repeated electrical panel issues.
The next steps are heavily influenced by the results of the inspection. It is possible that a simple change of settings and rewiring could fix the situation. In the vast majority of cases, though, a service panel upgrade will be needed. While there are many potential pathways to follow, the most likely results are;
A thorough service includes lighting inspections and surveys of the company’s electrical usage to identify further upgrade opportunities while you should also seek advice on how to keep the energy supply in good health.
We are living in a digital age, and our reliance on electricity is greater than ever. Due to the increased demands, it’s very likely that your older work buildings need attention in this area. To find out more or arrange a consultation and audit, get in touch today.