Today’s modern home is composed of many appliances, gadgets, and devices that all use electricity. Electricity is brought into a home from the electric company and is filtered through an electrical panel. An electrical panel manages the amount of electricity that is brought into your home through various circuits. When electricity runs throughout your home to power all your electronic devices, your main panel controls the electrical usage of all the devices. Without an electrical panel installation, your home would not hold any power, and some of your home’s basic necessities would not function. Because of how much electricity impacts a typical home, it’s crucial to have an electrical panel that is capable of handling today’s growing electrical needs.
Electrical panel, circuit breaker, breaker panel, breaker box, fuse box, etc.; there are many names for electrical panels, but they all mean the same thing: a homes electrical distributor and moderator. In today’s modern living, computers, game consoles, air conditioners, electric car chargers, water heaters, whole-home automation, and much more are staples in everyday households that require an immense amount of electricity.
Because of all these devices and any new appliances in the future, you might have an outdated electrical panel that can’t handle electricity for all parts of your home. It’s important for homeowners to understand the kind of electrical panel they have and its capabilities and know when it’s time for an electrical panel upgrade. Here are a few things to consider before deciding to upgrade your electrical panel.
1. The panel is 25+ years old
If you live in an older home with its original electrical panel, it may be time for an electrical panel upgrade. Families today use much more electricity to power their lifestyles than in previous decades. As technology grows, so does the load on your home’s electrical panel and circuits. As a general rule, electrical panels should be replaced every 25-40 years, so if your home is that age, there’s a likelihood that you will need to upgrade.
Homes built 25-40 years ago were equipped to service 60 amps to 100 amps. Today’s modern homes that are built are provided with a 200 amp service. A significant increase in amps that adjusts for today’s modern living. When homes have 200-amp panels built in, the home’s value increases due to the larger capacity of electricity the home’s electrical panel can handle. For larger homes, there are 400-amp service panels that handle twice as much electricity as a 200-amp service panel but are much more costly. Before upgrading your home's electrical panel, it’s best to speak with a licensed electrician who will recommend the ideal electrical panel for your home.
2. Adding new electrical features to your home
As mentioned before, with today’s modern living, new appliances and devices are available every day. Almost all of these devices require electricity. Suppose you want to upgrade your home with significant electrical work, such as a new hot tub, pool, electric car charger, or other major electrical appliance. In that case, it’s in your best interest to consult with a local electrician. If you planned to do significant electrical wiring work, a local electrician will perform an audit on your electrical system to determine if your panel and handle your electrical demands.
If the licensed electrician determines it that your electrical panel won’t be able to handle the new additions, then a new electrical panel may be required.
3. Your panel uses fuses
Because electric shock is always a concern at home, especially in the bathroom, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are outlets that are recommended in areas where water is present, such as the kitchen or bathroom. GFCI outlets stop electricity from continuing or surging through your electrical device if it comes in contact with water or overheats. Having GFCIs installed in a home is crucial for electrical safety and preventing fire hazards.
Suppose your home’s electrical panel is actually a fusebox that uses fuses. In that case, GFCI outlets are incompatible, so an upgrade to a new panel with modern breakers is highly recommended. A panel with breakers is more efficient for modern electrical loads and much easier to reset should a circuit pop. With no need to buy fuses, you’ll save time, money, and aggravation of ensuring you have fuses purchased and in stock when needed. Electrical panels that use main breakers are also easier for an electrician to repair if needed.
4. Other reasons
Besides simply upgrading or monitoring your electrical usage, there are clear signs when it’s time to upgrade or have an electrical panel replacement. The most common signs to get your electrical paneled checked out are as follows:
- Fuses keep blowing out,
- The home has flickering lights or dimming lights,
- Breakers trip repeatedly,
- There is a burning smell omitted from your panel,
- The electrical panel is overheating,
- You have frequent power surges
- You hear buzzing or crackling sounds from your electrical outlets or circuits.
Call a licensed electrician immediately if any of these sound familiar or are currently happening in your home. These could be symptoms or causes of an electrical fire. It could also mean that there are short circuits somewhere in your home that have the potential to cause an electrical fire. Do not delay. It’s better to be safe than risk the devastation of an electrical fire. Your local electrician can determine whether your panel needs to be upgraded or whether the issue is isolated to another area.
Who should upgrade my electrical panel?
Whether you’re upgrading your electrical panel at home or at your place of business, a qualified licensed electrician will be able to tell you whether you need to upgrade your electrical panel and what the appropriate size is for your current and future use.
Electricians know the dangers and are trained to set up your electrical service while remaining safe themselves and leaving the environment safe for your family. Without the knowledge and experience an electrician has with installing electrical panels, serious issues can arise from diy attempts. Electrical fires, electrocution, or worse. Trust in your local electrician to handle all your electrical installation needs.
A professional electrician will also be aware of local building code requirements and can be trusted to adhere to those codes for your safety.
Xcalibur Services can help you choose the right electrical panel for your home or business needs. Our licensed electricians will take care of all your electrical repair and installation needs. Call Xcalibur Services today and schedule an appointment for all your electrical, HVAC, or plumbing needs.