When it comes to home maintenance, an important question to ask is, “Should I upgrade my electrical panel?” It can seem challenging to answer this question. However, it is vital to ensure that a home’s electrical system is up-to-date to avoid expensive repairs or electrical fires.
To determine whether or not electrical panel upgrades are necessary, consider the following factors.
1. The Age of Your Home
Newer homes tend to have an updated electrical system. However, if the house or apartment is older than 20 years old, it is worth considering an electric panel upgrade.
Older homes typically have a 60 amp electrical panel. With the growing need for technology and power, the modern home requires a panel with 200 amps.
A home’s garage can also indicate electrical panels. However, older electrical panels may not support the power needs of a modern garage door.
2. The Costs of the Current Electrical Panel
Electrical panel upgrades can often save homeowners money. However, an outdated panel will require more power to function, resulting in higher energy bills.
Homeowners that are experiencing higher than normal energy bills should consider replacing their electrical panels. Not only can it save money on monthly energy bills, but it can reduce repair or replacement costs in the future.
3. Homeowner’s Insurance
The age of a home’s fuse boxes can affect homeowner insurance premiums. For most policies, replacing the old fuse box with a new one will lead to insurance discounts since a new electric panel is safer for the home and less likely to suffer from faulty wiring.
In addition to reduced monthly premiums, homeowners with new fuse boxes will often receive discounts from the electric company, saving them even more money.
4. Dimming or Flickering Lights
Flickering lights are common after a storm or power company issues. However, continuously flickering or dimming lights often indicate a problem with the fuse box.
In some cases, faulty lights are the result of issues with the utility company. This can include blown transformers or storm damage. If it is a problem with the power company, they will resolve the issue.
However, if the lights dim or flicker while using other household appliances, there is an issue with the electrical panel.
5. Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring is an easy answer to the question, “Should I upgrade my electrical panel?” Electrical wiring doesn’t last forever. The older the wiring is in the electrical panel, the less efficient a home’s power will be.
Some common indications of a faulty wiring system include a burning smell and discoloration near outlets and plugs. A burning smell results from burning wiring, which is an obvious indication of an outdated system. Discoloration around a plug is a sign of a more severe issue; in this case, it is critical to turn off the power and call a professional right away.
6. Circuit Breaker Failure
Circuit breakers work similarly to the fuse box. They protect the home from electrical fires by preventing short circuits and overloaded circuits.
A circuit breaker trip is an easy fix. However, if it trips frequently, it could be an indication of circuit breaker failure. If the circuit is malfunctioning or overloaded, it is essential to call an electrician as soon as possible.
Tripping circuit breakers can seem like no big deal. However, if they are frequently tripping, it could lead to an electrical fire if not addressed.
7. The Circuit Breaker Trips When an Appliance Plugs In
There are several appliances around the home that require power to operate. If the circuit breaker trips when plugging in a hairdryer or microwave, it could signify an outdated electrical panel.
Older electrical systems cannot support the power needs of a modern household. As previously mentioned, homes these days should have a 200-amp panel to function effectively.
When the circuit breaker is at risk of overloading, it trips to prevent an electrical fire. It may be time for an electrical panel upgrade if the circuit breaker trips when appliances plug in.
8. The Electric Panel Feels Warm
A warm electrical panel is an apparent sign of a wiring issue. Unlike other appliances in the house, an electric panel will not heat up when in use. If the electric panel feels warm to the touch, there is too much heat in the system.
Functional wires contain the heat to prevent the system from overheating. A warm electrical panel is a sign that the wires are no longer holding the heat and could lead to a potential electrical fire.
9. The Home Uses a Lot of Power Strips and Extension Cords
The more power a house uses, the better the electrical panel it needs. Although power strips and extension cords won’t directly harm an electrical system, they require more electricity. This increases the demand for the outlets.
Using too many extension cords or power strips can overload the system by using the outlets for more power than they were designed for. Updating the electrical panel may be necessary to prevent system overload and provide enough power for the appliances in the home.
10. New Appliance Installation
Should I upgrade my electrical panel? If you are installing new appliances, the answer is most likely yes.
Newer appliances often require more amps to operate. For example, a newer oven that requires more power to work will have a more significant effect on the electrical panel than the older model that requires fewer amps.
Every Woodstock professional electrician at Longview Lighting is passionate about helping families protect their homes by providing high-quality electrical panel upgrades. To learn more about electrical panels or for garage door maintenance tips, contact Woodstock’s trusted electrical repair specialists at Longview Lighting at (770) 790-3511 today.