A panelboard’s primary function is to manage power distribution throughout a residential, commercial or industrial facility. They divide an electrical power system into branch circuits while providing a protective breaker for each circuit in a single enclosure. Panelboards typically mount against a wall inside a cabinet or cutout box to control light, heat and other power circuits.

Throughout the electrical industry, panelboards are also called switchboards or distribution boards.

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How Do Panelboards Work?

The breakers trip when a circuit overloads, shutting off power while preventing shock and a potential fire. Each breaker typically controls one circuit corresponding to a specific area or an entire device, depending on the amount of power needed. After an overload, power restoration often involves simply flipping the switch back.

In facilities where significant amounts of power are required, switch gears and switchboards are typically the best distribution options. Panelboards work well with more moderate power requirements.

Types of Panelboards

Panelboards usually fall into two categories—panelboards for power and panelboards for lighting and appliances. Power panelboards are ideal for large-scale and heavy-duty commercial or industrial applications, while lighting panelboards work better for more minor power distribution requirements. Switchboards are freestanding, floor-mounted solutions for even larger scale buildings and job sites.

When a Panelboard Needs Replacing

Like many electrical components, panelboards have limited lifespans and require occasional replacement. Some signs indicating the need for a new panelboard replacement include:

  • Frequent breaker tripping: Frequent circuit tripping usually means there’s a fault in the breaker, the wiring or the entire electrical panel.
  • The panelboard’s age: Panelboards typically last 25 to 50 years, depending on the application and power distribution.
  • Odors: If a panelboard emits a burning smell, the wiring’s jacket may be melting and need replacement.
  • Rust: Corrosion often means water damage, indicating a severe issue and a potential hazard for safe system operation.
  • Odd noises: If a system produces a loud buzzing or hissing noise, those sounds usually mean faulty wiring or a loose connection.

When experiencing any of these issues, it’s essential to have a professional electrician examine your facility’s system to diagnose the cause of the problem.

Benefits of Installing a New Panelboard

Many advantages come along with replacing an old panelboard with a new one. Some examples include:

  • – Ease of installation.
  • – Improved energy efficiency.
  • – Multiple features in a single footprint save valuable space.
  • – New panelboards ensure a steady flow of electricity.

In addition, new panelboards from some of the industry’s leading manufacturers feature technology that features energy measurement capabilities and online energy management. Users can control many of these systems remotely and switch off lights during unoccupied periods. Custom reports let users know how their systems perform, including instant alerts for potential issues.

Find New Panelboards at Global Electronic Services Today

At Global Electronic Services, we stock millions of parts, units, replacements and other equipment from the market’s most trusted brands, including a broad selection of panelboards and switchboards. Regardless of your company’s size, type or location, we can deliver the parts you need on time. Call us at 877-249-1701 or contact us online today to learn more.

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