Electrical Service Box: Breaker Panel

Basic Maintenance Guide For Tenants

It is your responsibility, as a tenant of Advent Real Estate Services Ltd., to take all safety precautions necessary when operating the breakers inside the electrical service box in your property. If your electrical service box has exposed wires DO NOT touch them, contact Advent immediately through our Tenant Repair Request Form, and we will send a licensed Electrician to fix the problem.

Tool Tip:
A flashlight will come in handy if your lights go out!
Remember, most smart phones have flash light functionality.

If an appliance, electrical outlet, or light does not work, you should check the electrical service box, sometimes referred to as an electrical panel, to see if one of the circuit breakers has switched off or tripped.

Locate the electrical service box: In condos, the electrical service box is often located behind a door in a bedroom or kitchen. In houses, the electrical service box is usually located in the mechanical room, basement or garage.

Note: If you are renting a big house that has multiple rental suites in the same property, each legal rental suite should have its own electrical service box.

If the electrical service box in your property has been wired and installed to building code, it should look similar to the one in the images below. Some electrical service boxes maybe bigger, and some smaller, service boxes do come in different sizes, and shapes. Circuit breakers also come in different sizes, colours, shapes and styles.

A typical electrical service box looks like this:

Electrical Service Box - Electrical Panel

Note: Inside the electrical service box, individual breakers may or may not be labeled accordingly to identify which circuit they control eg. Kitchen Plugs, Kitchen Lights.

A circuit breaker has three (3) positions:

- OFF (when OFF sign is visible)
- ON (when ON sign in visible)
- TRIP (switch is in the center)

An example of a circuit breaker in the OFF position:

Circuit Breaker OFF

An example of a circuit breaker in the ON position:

Circuit Breaker ON

An example of a circuit breaker in the TRIP position:

Circuit Breaker TRIP

It should be easy to identify when a circuit breaker is in the OFF position. If any of the breakers are in the OFF position, simply switch them to the ON position, this should restore power.

See the image below for reference:

Circuit Breaker OFF

To locate a tripped circuit breaker, look for the circuit breaker that is in the TRIP position (center).

To reset a tripped breaker: Switch the breaker all the way to the OFF position, then switch the breaker all the way to the ON position. When the breaker moves back to the ON position, power should be restored. Sometimes a breaker might remain in the TRIP position (center) if it is not switched all the way OFF and back ON properly.

DO NOT force a breaker: If a breaker switches off immediately after it has been properly reset, there is a problem that needs to be fixed.

Note: Tripping of breakers is meant to protect tenants/homeowners. Problems can arise when the electrical load on a circuit breaker is too high. For example, you may have too many devices plugged into one circuit behind your TV, or too many appliances plugged in on your kitchen counters. Simply unplugging one or two devices/appliances can fix the problem of a breaker that keeps tripping. On the other hand, tripping could be a result of a more severe electrical problem, that a qualified electrician needs to fix.

If you are a tenant of Advent Real Estate Services Ltd. and have an electrical problem please report it immediately through our Tenant Repair Request Form. Electrical issues that are not fixed or reported may be deemed damages and charged back to you.

The information on this web page should be used for guidance purposes only. Advent Real Estate Services Ltd. will not be liable for any damages, personal injury, losses or causes of action of any nature arising from the use of this content. It is your responsibility as a tenant of Advent Real Estate Services Ltd. to take basic safety precautions before, during and after following the guidelines on this webpage.


ADVENT Real Estate Services Ltd. is licensed with the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), and a member of The Professional Association of Managing Agents (PAMA), LandlordBC, The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) and Greater Vancouver Realtors®. VADA® Asset Management Inc. / VADA® Property Management is licensed with the BCFSA, and a member of LandlordBC and the BCREA.