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Is It Time to Upgrade the Electrical Panel?

Common Symptoms of an Outdated Electrical Panel

The electric panel is used every day, so it should get the attention it deserves. On average,  electrical panels run smoothly for about 25-40 years, but this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get regular checks. Regular checks are encouraged mainly for safety, but it can also save homeowners money if they catch something earlier than what a huge accident could cost. Make sure to look for rust or scorching as they may have a problem that needs attention or a complete upgrade.

The following situations are instances where panels are likely due for an upgrade.

Signs of Faulty Wiring

The more frequently homeowners check their electrical panel, the more likely they are to catch any signs of faulty wiring. If they neglect panel checks, it’s possible that their wires are getting old and are in need of an update.
Some signs of faulty wiring to look out for include:

  • Flickering lights
  • Electric shocks when touching appliances
  • A faint burning smell
  • Scorch marks or sparking outlets
  • Warmth around the electric panel.

If they recognize any of these signs, it’s important to contact an electrician as faulty wiring is one of the leading causes of house fires.

Recently Installed Appliances

Technician installing a large appliance

When upgrading or adding a new appliance to the mix, homeowners are likely going to need more electrical capability for their household. This is especially true if they’re installing a major new appliance such as an air conditioner or a hot tub. When they add too many appliances to the mix on an old panel, their household electricity usage may exceed the amount that their electrical panel can handle.

Another common cause for people needing to increase their electrical panel capacity is a major home renovation project. If they’re planning on finishing a basement, that is a whole extra floor of electricity usage which adds up!

Adding Circuit Breakers

Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are considered a more modern version of fuses. Their function is to stop, or break, the flow of electricity when the circuit gets too high. The biggest improvement from fuses to circuit breakers is that circuit breakers are multi-use, unlike fuses which melt when the current is too high. This provides additional safety measures. It’s possible that home insurance companies will refuse to cover the home if it has fuses and not circuit breakers.

If they have a fuse box in their house, it is highly recommended to look into upgrading to a circuit breaker. This will also probably require an electrical panel upgrade due to the age that likely accompanies a fuse box.

By upgrading to circuit breakers and a new electrical panel, not only will the home be safer but it will also be more capable of additional electric appliances allowing them to upgrade as they please.

About Edison Electric, Inc.

Edison Electric, Inc. has been providing Minneapolis, MN and the surrounding area with expert service since 2007. Their experienced electricians offer on-time service and upfront pricing for all of their customer’s electrical repair needs.