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Covenant Heating and Cooling Blog

What’s the Difference Between a Breaker Box and an Electrical Panel?


It can be hard for homeowners—especially newer homeowners—to decipher all the information they should have about their homes’ systems. You may have heard a lot of terms about heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and electricity without knowing exactly what each one refers to. But the more you know, the better you can care for your home, so it’s worth doing the research.

Sometimes, with a little bit of knowledge, you’ll discover that things are simpler than you’d thought they were. You’ve surely heard of breaker boxes and electrical panels. What exactly are they, and what is the difference between them? Here’s what you should know.

Breaker Boxes and Electrical Panels

The first, and perhaps most reassuring, piece of information is that breaker box and electrical panel are two different terms for the exact same thing. Imagine your home’s electrical system like an airport with airplanes constantly needing to land and take off. This panel is like the air traffic controller, making sure your home’s electrical needs are met, and preventing the system from being overloaded.

Keeping Your Home Safe

Your home’s electrical system is divided into circuits, sections of your home where the electrical wiring is all connected. Each circuit connects to a circuit breaker in the electrical panel. If there’s too much demand for power all on one circuit, the circuit breaker will trip, disconnecting the circuit from power. 

Why? Because too much electricity being conducted at once through those wires is a major safety hazard. It can cause havoc with fixtures, burn out lightbulbs, and even start an electrical fire. The circuit breaker can be reset, flipping it like a sideways switch. If a specific breaker trips frequently, try moving appliances in your home if possible, to reduce the demand on that circuit.

Electrical Panel Problems

If rearranging your electrical appliances doesn’t resolve your circuit breaker tripping problem, or if the tripping happens on multiple circuits throughout the home, you may need breaker box replacement in Nashville, TN. Today’s electrical needs, due to our many electronics and chargers and other appliances, are sometimes more than an electrical panel from decades ago can supply. 

Other signs that your electrical panel needs an upgrade are flickering lights, sparks when you plug things into outlets, or burning smells, scorch marks, or buzzing sounds coming from the electrical panel itself.

If You Don’t Have an Electrical Panel

The other term you’ve probably heard when it comes to a home’s electrical system is fuse box. Sometimes, people use these terms interchangeably. However, a fuse box is not actually the same as a circuit breaker box or electrical panel. If your home has a fuse box, with round fuses instead of sideways switches, you’ll need an electrician to update your system. These started to be phased out in the 1960s because electrical panels were safer.

If you have any questions or concerns about your home’s electrical system, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Covenant Heating and Cooling is your trusted resource for breaker box replacement in Nashville, TN. We are “Dedicated to the Promise of Serving You!” Contact us today.

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