What to Look for When Inspecting the Breaker Panel

Eugene Vargas

It is advisable to check the electrical panel regularly for signs of defects that may threaten the safety of your home. This article discusses some of the things that you should look out for during that inspection.


Be on the look out for any signs of corrosion within the breaker panel. Any corrosion that you see may be an indicator of a moisture problem within the electrical panel. The moisture may be due to condensation. Alternatively, a leak could be causing water to seep into the breaker panel. Moisture problems can pose serious safety risks because they can cause short circuits within the panel. Turn off the power supply immediately and avoid touching any section of the wall that is wet. Try to identify where the water could be originating. For instance, a leaking section of the roof may be causing moisture to move down the wall until it gets to the panel. Fix any leaks before you restore the power supply to your home.

Missing Clamps

Electrical wires should be anchored within the panel using clamps after connecting the wires to the breakers. Any wires that are not clamped can become loose and cause a short circuit. You should therefore observe the breaker panel and identify any wires that do not have clamps on them. Buy clamps and install them where they are missing.

Missing Knock-Outs

Electrical panels usually have segments that can be knocked out in order to allow wires to be inserted into the interior of the panel. Sometimes, those knock-outs may become loose and fall out. Alternatively, someone may remove them without inserting a wire through them. This creates gaps that can allow moisture to enter the panel in case it is in an area that is exposed to rain. You should check and confirm that there is a wire inserted in each hole created by a missing knock-out. Get knock-out replacements and block all the holes that have been left open.


Over-fusing refers to the use of a fuse whose capacity is so high that it cannot trip when more power than the wires can handle is drawn through it. This check may be beyond the abilities of many homeowners. You should therefore invite a professional to check the appropriateness of the fuses in the panel if you lack the skills to perform this check.

Electricity is very dangerous. Remember to have the correct safety equipment, such as rubber gloves, when you are doing any inspection or repairs. Don't hesitate to call an electrician if you feel unequipped for the job.