It is impossible for any home to function properly without a working electrical panel. Basically the heart of your electrical system, your panel is what sends power to the receptacles throughout your home and flips the circuit breaker if a particular appliance is drawing too much electricity. That’s why if you are experiencing any problems with your electrical panel it is essential to replace it ASAP. Keep reading for the top ten signs you need to upgrade your electrical panel, and remember that our experienced electricians at Carter Services are here 24 hours a day for your emergency electrical needs.
The Top 10 Reasons to Replace Your Electrical Panel
- You Live in an Older Home: If you live in an older house and do not know when your electrical panel was last replaced, it is a good idea to have an electrician take a look at it. Older electrical panels are often unable to keep up with modern homeowners’ electrical needs. On top of this, many American homes were built with Federal Pacific Electric and Zinsco brand panels between the 1950s and the 1980s. Over time, it became apparent that these panels were manufactured with certain design flaws, making them more prone to cause sparking, shocks, and electrical fires. So if you do find that you have an FDE or Zinsco panel, call our electricians at Carter Services for an upgrade right away.
- You Are Not Getting Enough Power: We mentioned above that older electrical panels may not be able to supply the power to meet your modern electrical needs. In the past, the standard for electrical panels was 60 amps, but over time that has doubled to 120 amps. Keep in mind that by using any appliance with a 240V circuit, you are more likely to draw high levels of power on a regular basis. That’s why to keep your home safe and operational, replacement is usually the best case in this scenario.
- You Have a Fuse Box Rather Than a Circuit Breaker Box: As mentioned above, modern electrical panels almost always use circuit breakers to prevent the flow of excess current. However, older panel boxes are more likely to be equipped with fuses. While fuse boxes theoretically work just as well as circuit breaker panels, they can be a big hassle, as every time you blow a fuse, you then have to replace it. Fuse boxes also tend to be less effective as they age, and may lead to sparking in some cases. To make it easier and safer for everyone in your household, replacing your fuse box with a circuit breaker panel is usually the right call.
- You Use a Lot of High-Drawing Electrical Devices: For the sake of the planet and your power bill, you should try to limit electrical use as much as possible. That said, as we’ve already stated, older panels sometimes just can’t handle our modern electrical needs. Running a lot of appliances on a regular basis, such as your HVAC system, water heater, or washer/dryer combination, can overexert older electrical panels. When this happens, the panel can cause a fire. Therefore, to prevent your panel from becoming a fire hazard, replacement tends to be the best option.
- You Have Trouble Getting Enough Power: Have you noticed your lights flicker when you use certain appliances, or that some of your electrical devices get burned out before they should? This could mean you have an older panel that is struggling to supply you with enough power. For more consistent performance, replacement is the way to go.
- You Have Experienced Frequent Power Surges: Power surges occur when the flow of electricity in your home is interrupted or when too much current flows through your system at once. When this happens, you will temporarily lose power, your electrical devices may be damaged, and you can find that data on your computer or other devices has been deleted. Upgrading to a panel with 120-200 amps capability should stop this from happening so much.
- You Have Experienced Partial Power Outages: Power outages usually occur because a storm or other external factor has overloaded the power grid, causing it to shut down and cut off the supply of electricity in your home as a result. For this reason, there’s usually no way to stop a power outage. However, you may be more prone to experience partial outages, where one part of your home loses power for a period of time, if your panel is old and stretched too thin. Examine what external factors could be causing these outages in your home, and if you can’t find the root of the problem, call an electrician to see if your panel is at fault.
- Your Homeowner’s Insurance Is Too High: Some insurance providers may charge higher for coverage if you live in an older home with a fuse box. It’s worth talking to your insurance company for this reason to see if you can reduce your rate with a panel replacement. You should also check to see if this will make you eligible for rebates and discounts from your municipal electrical company.
- Your Electrical Bills Keep Going Up: High electrical bills are often a sign that your panel’s performance is declining. If you are not drawing an extremely high amount of power and your utility expenses are still rising month by month, you may want to consider upgrading to a new, more energy-efficient electrical panel, especially if you live in an older home.
- You Are Planning on Moving: If you are leaving your current home, and know that your electrical panel is old, you may need to consider replacing it before you move. We know this might seem like a pain, but new buyers are going to be less interested in a house with an inefficient electrical system, plus this may increase your property value so you get more money in the sale.