In most homes and commercial properties, you should replace your electrical panel every 25 to 40 years. But this is just an average, not a clear cut rule for all panels. So, how do you know if you need electrical panel upgrades? Below, we provide some of the signs that indicate it is time for your own upgrade.
In electrical wiring, safety should be of the utmost concern. Bad wiring is too often the cause of household fires. If your home has old wiring, it is much more likely to prove faulty than newer wiring. Have a professional electrician inspect your electrical panel and find problems that necessitate replacement or upgrades.
Some signs of faulty wiring in your home include:
- Flickering lights or power
- Burning smell
- Tiny electric shocks when you touch appliances
- Sparking power outlets
- Scorch marks around outlets
- The electrical panel or area around it is warm to the touch
Installation of New Appliances
When installing new appliances, you must check your electrical panel to ensure it has the ability to handle modern power needs. You possibly need an electrical panel upgrade if you are installing a major appliance, hot tub, air conditioner or other electrical product. Otherwise, you face the ongoing issue of tripped circuit breakers and the fire risk associated with power surges.
You Need More Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers function similarly to fuses once used in electrical panels. Both of these serve the same purpose of stopping electrical flow when the current exceeds circuit specifications. The main difference between circuit breakers and fuses is that fuses melt in instances of high current. You then must replace these fuses, unlike circuit breakers that merely require a reset.
Fuse boxes have many safety concerns, unlike the more modern circuit breaker. In fact, you may struggle to obtain a property insurance policy with fuses. These are two very good reasons for considering electrical panel upgrades.
Excessive Use of Power Strips and Extension Cords
Older homes were not designed for today’s high powered lifestyle. If you live in an older home, you likely struggle with having too few outlets and many devices requiring electricity. Your charging laptop, smartphones, tablets, televisions, DVRs, kitchen appliances, laundry appliances, hairdryers, video game consoles and other devices are a drain on your electrical system.
Using power strips and extension cords only adds to your fire risk. This is also a clear sign that your home’s electrical system does not meet modern usage demands. It is important to upgrade your electrical panel and install more outlets to keep up, rather than risking a fire.
Need to Keep Up with the Future
As explored above, older homes usually cannot keep up with modern electrical demands. This is why it is important to perform electrical panel upgrades once every generation. In fact, this upgrade should be part of any big remodelling project.
If you plan to put your home on the real estate market, having a recently upgraded electrical panel will improve your odds of selling. This upgrade shows that you put care into your home’s infrastructure. It also takes one less task off of the plate of any prospective homeowner who wants a home that is move-in ready.
Talk to Your Electrical Expert
To understand whether your home needs an electrical panel upgrade, contact your local electrician. They will provide an inspection and make recommendations regarding the state of your electrical system. Overall, replacing or upgrading your electrical panel is one of the best investments you can make in your home. It enables you to enjoy greater safety and convenience for another 25 to 40 years.