How to Safely Service an Outdoor Breaker Box

outdoor breaker box

Is your outdoor breaker box showing signs of wear and tear? Perhaps you’ve noticed flickering lights or a power outage in your home that could signal potential issues with your electrical system.

An outdoor breaker box, also called a fuse box or circuit breaker panel, is vital to your electrical system. It is the control center for distributing electricity throughout your home and protects circuits from overloads and potential hazards. If you suspect any problems with this unit, addressing them quickly and safely is vital.

This guide will take you through the necessary steps to effectively service your outdoor breaker box. Keep reading for information to ensure the continued safety of your home’s electrical system.

Signs Your Outdoor Breaker Box Needs Maintenance

Recognizing when your outdoor breaker box needs attention will prevent electrical malfunctions and ensure your safety. Look out for the following signs that indicate potential issues:

  • Flickering lights 
  • Appliances intermittently lose power
  • Crackling sounds coming from the breaker box
  • Tripped breakers or blown fuses frequently occurring
  • Visible signs of damage like rust, corrosion, or burnt marks

If you notice any of the above, address them immediately. This will prevent more damage and potential safety hazards.

Safety Precautions Before Servicing

Working with home electricity can be hazardous, so it’s crucial to prioritize safety when servicing your outdoor breaker box. Before proceeding with any maintenance tasks, ensure to:

  • To avoid an electrical shock, turn off the main power supply to your house
  • Wear safety goggles and insulated gloves for protection
  • Keep the area around the breaker box clear of obstructions
  • Use insulated tools specifically designed for electrical work to limit the risk of accidents

Steps to Safely Service Your Outdoor Breaker Box

Now that you’ve taken the necessary precautions, let’s walk you through the steps to service your outdoor breaker box. Just remember to always keep an eye out for any potential danger.

Visual Inspection

Begin by inspecting the outside of the breaker box for any signs of damage, such as rust, corrosion, burnt marks, or loose wires. Check for any unusual odors, sounds, or heat coming from the panel. If you notice any abnormalities, it’s best to call a professional electrician for further inspection.

Keep the Area Clear

Make sure that the area around the breaker box is clear of clutter and debris. Avoid storing items in front of or around the panel to ensure easy access in case of emergencies.

Trim vegetation, such as bushes or tree branches, to maintain a clear space around the panel. This also reduces the risk of debris causing damage during storms or high winds.

Check Electrical Wiring

Carefully examine the electrical wiring inside the breaker box to ensure it’s securely connected and free from fraying or damage. Loose or damaged wiring can pose significant safety risks and should be addressed promptly by a qualified electrician.

Inspect Breakers and Fuses 

Test each breaker and fuse within the panel to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Test these breakers regularly by pressing the “Test” button to ensure they are functioning properly. If the breaker does not trip when tested, or if it fails to reset afterward, it may need to be replaced.

Look for any signs of wear or damage, such as melted plastic or tripped switches. If you encounter any faulty breakers or fuses, replace them with new ones rated for the appropriate amperage.

If you notice a tripped breaker, reset it by moving the switch to the “Off” position and back to the “On” position. If the breaker continues to trip, it may indicate an underlying electrical issue that requires professional attention and possibly new breakers.

Clean the Panel Exterior

Periodically dust and clean the exterior of the breaker box using a dry cloth. Avoid using water or liquid cleaners, as moisture can pose a risk of electrical shock. Keeping the panel clean helps prevent dust buildup, which can contribute to overheating.

Ensure Proper Labeling

Make sure that all circuits in the breaker box are correctly labeled to identify their corresponding areas or appliances. This makes locating and identifying circuits during electrical work or troubleshooting easier.

Upgrade as Necessary 

If your outdoor breaker box is outdated or cannot meet your electrical system’s demands, consider upgrading to a newer model with enhanced safety features. Upgrading your breaker box can:

  • Help prevent power outages
  • Reduce the risk of electrical fires
  • Ensure compliance with current building codes

Regular Maintenance

Even if you haven’t noticed any specific issues, scheduling regular maintenance inspections with a professional electrician is a good idea. Here are some crucial reasons for keeping a breaker box in good working order:

  • It limits electrical hazards
  • It ensures your system operates efficiently
  • It ensures adherence to safety codes and standards 
  • It extends the lifespan of your breaker box and other electrical components.

Call the Professionals

You should call a professional electrician for maintenance of your breaker box if you notice any of the following:

You’re unsure about the condition of your breaker box or if you’re experiencing electrical problems. They can evaluate the problem and recommend the correct maintenance or repairs.

You notice any signs of damage, such as burn marks, corrosion, or unusual sounds coming from the breaker box.

Your circuit breakers frequently trip. This could point to an underlying issue with your electrical system that needs professional attention.

You’re planning to add new appliances, upgrade your electrical system, or renovate your home. It’s a good idea to check that your breaker box will be able to handle the increased load safely.

Outdoor Breaker Box Maintenance Essentials

Servicing your outdoor breaker box is essential for maintaining a safe and reliable electrical home system. By following the steps in this guide and prioritizing safety, you can effectively address any issues and ensure your breaker box works well. Remember, when in doubt, always liaise with a qualified electrician to safely handle any electrical maintenance or repairs. 

Protect your loved ones and home by staying vigilant about outdoor breaker box maintenance and partnering with Parking Electric. We pride ourselves on our excellent services to customers in the greater Portland Metro Area, Washington State, and other cities.

Contact us for assistance.

Look To The Experts

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Take a look at what our clients have to say about our services.

B. Rhoads

Randa demonstrates the height of professionalism and perfectionism. Her attention to detail and response to my fire worries was exceptional finding a breaker that needed replacement as well as something outside that could be a potential hazard. Please share.

N. Schaefle

We Thank you for the work that was done to get power to our garage/shop area and wanted you to know that it was a pleasure to work with Mike.  He was considerate and easy to have here… he did his job carefully and cleaned up where he worked.. He certainly is competent!

D. Peterson

Just wanted to let you know Ben was great. He was professional and personable and helpful with showing us how things worked. I can't remember the name of the other guy (Cristian) but he was great too and they did a great job and cleaned up the area where the generator is. And of course we were so impressed with Tammy and appreciated her help, with our somewhat drawn out process. Very impressed with the service at Parkin.

David D.

Worth every penny, Parkin is the best! 

D. Kost

We were impressed by Dave B’s service and professionalism… I am sure he is not unique to the other techs and employees at Parkin.  We are very satisfied with how we were treated from the point of making an appointment through all of the service.  There is no doubt we will be returning customers for future needs, as well as highly recommending Parkin Electric to everyone we know. 

S. Wilson

I found Brian and Steve to very professional and very skilled electricians.  (Generator Install)

Jeanine K.

Thank you for the great service and responsibility to detail.  I greatly appreciate all the work & customer service that your company gave us.  Kudos to Amanda, Tonya & Chad they are truly an asset to your company.  Our mini split works great &  our inspection passed with flying colors.