Upgrading the electrical panel is a home upgrade that’s often put on the back burner due to cost and inconvenience. However, overlooking this critical home maintenance task could put your home and family in danger. At some point, an outdated or damaged electrical panel becomes a liability and safety issue.
If you’re wondering when you should invest in a new electric panel, keep these sure signs that it’s time for an upgrade in mind.
You Still Have Fuses
If you still have fuses rather than circuit breakers, you were overdue for Panel Upgrades a decade ago. While some people still use fuses as a money-saving strategy, circuit breakers are much safer and reliable in modern homes. Modern circuit breakers tend to incorporate safety measures like Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) to turn off the power if water gets into your system, preventing costly fires and electrocution risks.
While fuses are affordable and easier to replace, there’s too much room for error to make the cost savings worth it. If you use a fuse that’s too small, it won’t last long before it blows. Conversely, if you use one that’s too large, it won’t overload when it should and cause a fire or explode. As a result, insurance companies charge more for homes that have fuses.
You Trip Breakers Often
If you notice the breakers tripping when you run multiple appliances at the same time, you likely need a system upgrade. While panels can last for 25 years, technology evolves so quickly that older panels don’t meet modern demands. Our fridges, dishwashers and laundry machines are larger and more powerful than they once were. We also have new appliances like air fryers and Keurigs that put a lot of stress on older systems.
While you can try to limit which appliances you use on the same outlet or at the same time, it’s likely more economical in the long run to get a panel upgrade.
You’re Doing Major Home Upgrades
If you’re adding rooms or outlets to your home, you may require a panel upgrade to handle the extra burden on your electrical system. This isn’t always the case, but you’ll want to consult with a skilled electrician regardless. They’ll be able to tell you if you need an upgrade and can wire your new additions correctly to ensure safety and efficiency.
The Panel Is Eroded
If there are any signs of direct damage or degradation on your electrical panel, you should upgrade immediately. Rust is a common sign of moisture or water damage caused by age or direct contact. If you notice rust, it’s essential to determine the cause to prevent future damage to your new panel.
The Panel or Outlets Are Hot
Neither your panel nor outlets should feel hot to the touch. This issue means that they’re overloaded and at risk of bursting into flames. If you have a breaker panel, it’s intended to flip a breaker and shut off the electricity if it gets overheated. Failure to do so indicates a deeper issue that puts your home and safety at risk.
Keep in mind that electrical fires tend to start within the walls and go undetected until it’s too late. If your panel or outlet bursts into flames, it won’t be in a dramatic, noticeable fashion; it’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with electricity.
You’re Selling Your Old Home
Finally, if you have an older home and you’re putting it up for sale, upgrading your panel could be a selling point. Many potential buyers will even incorporate this upgrade as a contingency to the sale. Being proactive here can get you a better asking price and limit your time on the market during colder selling periods.
If you notice any of these issues or signs, it’s time to book an electrical panel upgrade. Call a trusted electrician for a quote and get the work done as soon as possible.