Restoring Power to Your Room or House

By: Dusty Arlia
Published on February 12, 2012
Last Updated on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 5:44 PM
Total Updates: 6

Service panels are most commonly used for restoring power after a storm. Typically what happens is one of your circuits gets overloaded with too much current. This happens when lightening hits close to your house or when running too many appliances at once. When operating too many appliances, they all demand too much electricity for the circuit to handle.

When these circuits get overloaded the circuit breakers will "trip" or "pop" and fuses will "blow". This will depend on whether your service panel has circuit breakers or fuses, they will not have both. Usually fuses are found in older homes. Circuit breakers will look like toggle switches, whereas fuses will look like cylinders that you unscrew.

In order to restore electricity you must find the circuit breaker that is off and flip it to on. If you have a blown fuse, you will need to unscrew the bad fuse and screw in a new one. Do not replace the fuse with one of greater amperage. This may be tempting, but it may also be dangerous. Electrical wires can burn up before the larger fuse blows. This is an extremely dangerous fire hazard.

If you have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping or fuse that keeps getting blown, try reducing the load off of this branch circuit. If you have to keep the load the way it is, then increase the wire gauge and then the fuse size.

When restoring power in your home, there will be a couple things you will need to be cautious about. First, look at the floor by the service panel to make sure that the floor is dry. If the floor is wet, then you will need to lay down a wooden board or rubber mat. This will prevent you from grounding yourself and accidently getting electrocuted. For additional safety, you should wear rubber soled shoes.

Once you are safely in front of the service panel, you can carefully open its door. You should only have to touch the circuit breakers and service panel door. Do not touch any of the wires coming into the box and use the one hand rule.

Next, make sure that you are restoring power to the correct circuit. You can figure this out by looking at the circuit mapping index. This should be located somewhere on the service panel, usually on the door. The circuit you're restoring power to should have a circuit breaker in the off position, but you might have additional circuit breakers in the off position. You don't want to guess if you don't have to, so try to make use of the index to find the correct circuit. Having a second person to confirm that the power has been restored is helpful. This can save you time from running up and down stairs to confirm the lights are on.