Most of the items you rely on daily are electrically powered. Your televisions, cell phones, air fryers, and even your vacuum cleaners rely on your home’s electrical panel, making that panel an essential part of your home.
Within this panel are circuits that carry electricity throughout your home to the outlets and your other electrical devices.
The number and size of the circuits determine how much electricity your home can handle. If your home isn’t equipped to meet the demands of your devices, it may be time for an electrical panel upgrade.
When you replace your old electrical panel, your home can handle more power and distribute it throughout your home. Should you decide to have an electrical panel upgrade in Northeast Ohio, you have several options, including:
- Upgrading the panel to pull more power from the utility into your home
- Full breaker box replacement
- Replacing old or damaged components
- Adding more circuits to support additional outlets in your home
- Removing electrical dangers by replacing problem-causing circuits
- Upgrading circuits to meet current electrical codes
Making any of these changes or upgrades to your electrical panel will help equip your home to meet the electrical demands modern life is placing on your house’s electrical system.
How Long Do Circuit Breakers Last?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that the average electrical panel lifespan is between 30 and 40 years. However, some experts believe modern circuit breakers last between 15 and 20 years. The reason for this disagreement around the lifespan is due to the different conditions surrounding these electrical safety devices.
Any home that doesn’t experience a lot of electrical disturbances can expect its electrical panel to last longer.
Signs You Need Electrical Panel Upgrade
Keep your eyes open for any of the following signs that you have a possible bad electrical panel. If your home is experiencing any of these symptoms of bad electrical panel issues, contact a professional for an electrical system inspection. Don’t ignore the signs that indicate when to upgrade an electrical panel:
Electrical Panel Is Outdated
After 25 years, there are several things that can cause an electrical panel to malfunction, including power surges and manufacturer defects. Regardless of the reason, an electrical panel that is older than 25 years can be dangerous.
If you’re not ready for a total replacement, it’s a good idea to have a certified electrician complete an inspection to make sure your panel is in good working condition.
Frequent Breaker Tripping
Circuit breakers work by tripping and turning off the flow of electricity to protect you when a circuit is drawing too much power. This action protects you from too much power moving through the electrical system, but can also be a sign that your electrical panel needs upgrading, especially if it happens often.
An outdated electrical panel may not support the amount of electricity you need to have flowing through the system, making the breakers frequently trip. Instead of endlessly turning breakers back on, you can have your old electrical panel replaced.
Smells Like Something Is Burning
Whenever you notice a burnt or burning smell coming from your electrical panel, you should be concerned. If your circuit breaker panel fails, it could lead to a house fire that could destroy your home as well as your neighbors’ residences.
The burning smell comes from plastic or wood. This odor is usually the smell of the plastic jacket of the electrical wires melting or the wood and insulation in your walls becoming scorched. If you notice any of these smells, your electrical panel needs to be replaced immediately.
Any mild shock or tingling can signal defective wiring or improper installation. In this instance, the risk of “electrical leakage” increases when you touch a switch or outlet. If you notice shocks, call an electrician!
Dimming Lights When Using Other Appliances
Lights that dim are signs that your electrical system is overloaded by your current electrical needs. When this occurs, the circuit works overtime to funnel electricity from other rooms in your home to power larger appliances.
When to Replace Your Electrical Panel
If you notice any of the signs listed above, it is time to upgrade your electrical panel. This crucial piece of equipment must be in good working order to avoid dangerous fires.
You’ll also know it’s time to upgrade your electrical panel if your home still operates with a fuse box. Fuses are more dangerous and not as reliable as circuit breakers, and many insurance companies are penalizing homeowners for having an outdated system.
You should also check your panel for physical signs you need electrical panel upgrade. Physical signs include:
- Burn marks
- Buzzing noises
- Abnormal smells
If you notice any of these physical signs you need a panel upgrade, contact a professional electrician to schedule an inspection.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Electrical Panel
Besides the ability to power more devices, having your electrical panel upgraded brings a lot of added benefits:
Increased Home Safety
One of the best advantages of an electrical panel upgrade is the safety it provides in your home. When your panel malfunctions, it increases the risk of an electrical fire. This type of fire happens in thousands of homes across the United States each year.
Replacing an older electrical panel brings new technology into your home that is designed to be safe and ensure your electrical system works properly. As a bonus, your homeowner’s insurance premium may be reduced because your home is at less risk for a fire.
If you’re planning to sell your home, upgrading your electrical panel may add value to your house. It helps build buyer confidence because it is one less thing they will need to repair or replace after the sale is complete. Additionally, it shows potential buyers that you took the initiative to maintain your property and keep up with repairs.
More Consistent Power
With an older panel often comes inconsistent power. This inconsistency can cause circuits to overload and circuit breakers to trip. The amount of energy people use today with their devices and appliances is too much for older panels to handle. Electrical panel replacement can create a steadier flow of daily power.
Electrical Panel Upgrade Near You: The Process
Replacing an electrical panel is a complex process that requires a skilled electrician. It involves coordination between the electrician and the utility company. Some states require a new panel to have a state electrical or utility inspector review the work before it can be used.
The electrician will decide which size panel and how many circuits are best for your home. They will coordinate with the utility company and get any permits that are required for the job, as well as schedule any necessary inspections.
The utility company will disconnect the power to your home while the electrician updates the panel and installs any wiring. Once the job is complete, the utility company will restore the power to your house.
It can take between eight and ten hours to complete the upgrade, depending on the complexity of the situation. Because of the numerous steps involved with an electrical panel update, it’s best to hire a qualified and licensed electrician to complete the job.
If you’ve noticed any of the signs that it is time to update your home’s electrical panel, call Jennings Heating and Cooling to check out your system. They’ll help you understand your upgrade and update options and the long-term benefits of moving forward with upgrading your electrical system.
When you’re looking for the team that will give you the best electrical panel upgrade, you can count on us to be your trusted electricians.