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Case Study: Electrical Panel Fire Hazard

An expert technician examining your electrical system can save your life. No exaggeration there.

A recent Mister Sparky job underscored that fact.

In this recent case, the homeowner placed a service call to Mister Sparky about what he thought was a simple, electrical nuisance. That decision may have saved his family’s home —and lives— from the danger of a sudden electrical fire.

The Problem

Whenever someone in the home tried to use the electric oven, the power tripped offline. The homeowner wasn’t on the lookout for a catastrophe; he just wanted to cook dinner for his family.  He assumed the power tripping offline was a nuisance, not a danger.

He decided to call an expert. A very fortunate decision.

The Service Call

Mister Sparky electrician Ben Smith responded to the call.

When he arrived, Ben asked the homeowner to replicate the problem. Sure enough, the power kicked offline.

Ben had an idea of what was happening. To be sure though, he need to go to the source: the oven circuit breaker.

The homeowner assured Ben that he had a good circuit breaker. He was sure that couldn’t be the problem, but he led our technician to it all the same.

 

Ben knew the danger and investigated. The plastic panel felt hot, extremely hot, to the touch! He pulled back his hand.

He examined it with his infrared scanner: the panel had spiked to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, the wiring could burst into flames at any point—a volatile fire hazard. That’s when Ben snapped the picture.

Read more about electrical fires.

The Solution

Ben explained the possibility for a fire to the homeowner, who was aghast. The homeowner didn’t know; he thought he had a good panel. He never intended to expose his family to that fire hazard.

Ben laid out the situation: Getting rid of the fire hazard panel needed to happen immediately.

The homeowner didn’t hesitate and Ben replaced the panel on the spot.

Fire Hazard wrap-up

The panel Ben replaced burned so hot it almost started a fire. If they had hesitated to call, it might have gone up in flames at any time.

The scary part: That panel spiked 135 degrees Fahrenheit—it could have caught fire at any time.  It was one of the more dangerous panels Ben has replaced, but it wasn’t the worst. Not even close.

Danger can look innocent enough to the untrained eye. During a regular safety inspection or as a component in a service call, our Mister Sparky technicians find and solve danger—the same day.

If you have a question or concern about your electrical system, don’t hesitate to ask. It could save your life.

Contact us for a circuit breaker examination as part of your regular electrical safety inspection.

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