How to Troubleshoot Electrical Panel Sparks

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Never lean on an electrical panel to avoid inadvertently getting electrocuted.

Electrical panels distribute power to the rest of the electrical circuits in the house. If you have problems in your electrical panel that involve sparks, you must quickly troubleshoot the issue. In some cases, sparks in the electrical panel can lead to an electrical fire. Also, in most cases when an electrical panel is sparking, it will most likely indicates the electrical circuit is failing and power to that circuit is not being received. With the right tools and directions, you can quickly troubleshoot the issue.


Step 1

Open the electrical panel and turn off the main circuit breaker. Remove the panel cover by removing the screws with the screwdriver.

Video of the Day

Step 2

Turn on the main circuit breaker with the panel cover off to identify where the sparks are occurring. If you cannot see any sparks, turn each circuit breaker off and on and check to see which lines are sparking. The spark will most likely come from the wires on the circuit breaker. If the spark comes from the panel itself, immediately turn off the main circuit breaker and call an electrician. When the panel is sparking, it will need to be replaced by a licensed electrician.


Step 3

Turn the main circuit breaker to the off position. Tighten the screws on the circuit breaker holding the electrical lines. Turn back on the circuit breakers and see if it is still sparking. If it is still sparking, you must continue to troubleshoot it.

Step 4

Turn off the main circuit breaker. Remove the black or red wire leading to the circuit breaker that is sparking. Place a wire nut at the end to prevent the wire from touching a live part of the box. Turn on the main circuit breaker and see if there are no more sparks. If there are no more sparks, the electrical line has a short somewhere and needs to be replaced. Do not reconnect the wire to the circuit breaker until it has been replaced.

Video of the Day



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...