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The electric panel, otherwise known as an electrical panel or a breaker box, is one of the most important parts of your home’s electrical systems. Like any other part of your home’s wiring, an electric panel will eventually wear out and need to be replaced, but working out when to replace it can be very difficult.

It is important to replace your electrical panel before it breaks down completely, as a malfunction of such a central part of your system can cause huge problems for your home life. It can also potentially lead to fires or other more serious problems! Let’s take a look at how to tell when your electric panel needs replacing, so you can stay safe at all times.


What is an Electric Panel?

You’ll probably find your home’s electrical panel somewhere in your garage, basement, or closet. It will take the form of a box with a removable cover. Inside the box, you’ll find a selection of fuses or breaker switches, which you’ll need to flip in the event that one of the systems in your home overloads.


What Does an Electric Panel Do?

The electricity delivered to your home comes in from a central supply cable. A branch from this cable is directed into your home, and into the electric panel. At that point, the panel splits it into separate circuits for different areas of your home. That means that if one appliance overloads its circuit, it will only affect the other appliances on that specific circuit, rather than your entire home.


How to Tell When an Electric Panel Needs Replacing

Knowing when to replace your old electric panel can be tricky if you don’t know what to look out for. Let’s take a look at some of the most common signs that your electrical panel might need to be replaced.

When an appliance overloads the system, it will trip the breaker for its circuit. Normally, this won’t happen often – it will occur when a lightbulb dies, or there’s a surge for some other reason. If you start to notice that you’re replacing fuses or tripping breakers more often than you used to, that’s a very strong sign that your electrical panel is starting to wear out.

As well as this, you should do audiovisual checks on your electrical panel on a regular basis. If you see anything change, it might be a sign of trouble. If your electric panel is hissing or making popping noises, or if there are visible burn marks, or smoke, or even a smell of burning coming from the panel, then you should call an electrician and get your panel replaced.


Calling a Home Electrician

Electrical panels can be quite dangerous, due to the high electrical currents running through the boxes. This means you should never try to replace one on your own, even if you are a confident DIY enthusiast (unless you are a professional electrician, of course). Instead, you should call in a professional. Any trained electrician should be able to replace an electrical panel fairly easily.



Electrical panels are an essential part of your home electric system. If you start to suspect your breaker box might be coming to the end of its life, get it replaced ASAP!