How to Troubleshoot Arcing in your Main Electrical Panel

How to Troubleshoot Arcing in your Main Electrical Panel

Electrical arcing in your main panel can be very dangerous and lead to fires or electrocution. Here is how to troubleshoot and fix arcing in your main electrical panel.

Signs of Arcing in the Main Panel

There are a few signs that may indicate arcing is occurring inside your main electrical panel:

If you notice any of these signs, it likely indicates arcing may be occurring and repairs are needed.

Turn Off the Power

Before doing any troubleshooting inside the electrical panel, turn off the main breaker or switch that controls all the power to the panel. Make sure all the circuit breakers are completely off. Use a non-contact voltage tester to confirm power is off before working inside the panel.

Inspect the Main Service Wires

Problems with the main service wires coming into the house can cause arcing. Look for the following:

Any damaged, corroded or loose service wires must be repaired by an electrician.

Check the Breakers

Inspect each circuit breaker in the panel for problems. Look for:

Inspect the Bus Bars

Bus bars distribute power throughout the electrical panel. Check that:

Check Neutral and Grounding Connections

Loose neutrals or ground wires can lead to arcing. Make sure:

Inspect Wire Connections

Arcing often occurs due to loose wire connections. Check that:

Repair or Replace Defective Components

Any damaged, corroded or defective breakers, bus bars or wires you identified during inspection should be repaired or replaced. This may require having an electrician make repairs if you are unsure. Only replace breakers with identical models.

Clean the Panel Box

Vacuum out all dust. Carefully wipe down the panel interior with a dry rag. Remove any dirt, spider webs, insect nests or debris. This helps reduce the chances for further arcing or failures.

Thoroughly troubleshooting and inspecting your main electrical panel can help identify and remedy any arcing issues. This prevents potentially hazardous conditions that could put your home and safety at risk. If the panel arcing damage is beyond your skill level to repair, hire a licensed electrician.