Your electrical panel might not look like it does much, but it’s the hub of your home’s power. It’s responsible for bringing electricity into the home, then diverting it where it needs to go.
Today’s homes require more power than ever, and the electrical panel is sensitive to power demands. It’s entirely possible that your outdated panel needs replacing. Here are four key signs this is the case:
It Was Installed More than 20 Years Ago
Homes that are only a few decades old may have outdated electrical panels. This is because panels installed back then typically only had 60 to 100-amp capability. Today, it’s normal for a home to demand more electrical power, so modern panels are usually 200-amps, which allow bandwidth for multiple televisions, smart appliances and all of the regular electronic devices you use.
You’ll probably notice if your electrical panel isn’t able to handle demand because your lights might flicker or your appliances might not run at full capacity. You probably also have to use multiple power strips due to a lack of outlets! If there is a weakness in your home’s electrical power output, the first spot to look is the electrical panel. Check the amp rating on the inside door to find your electrical panel rating.
Panel Produces Heat or Burning Smell
When the electrical panel box feels warm or produces a burning smell, it could signify faulty wiring or an overloaded, defective panel. We highly recommend scheduling a service appointment and potential electrical panel upgrade because heat can mean a high chance of electrical fire.
You Have a Fuse-Based System
Many electrical panels in older homes built before the 1970s still operate on fuses. Unlike circuit breakers which you can reset, fuses either melt, burn out or blow completely when they’re tripped. This is a fire hazard, and for an older home that needs to meet modern power demands, it’s definitely unsafe.
If you’re building an addition onto an older home, don’t expect an older electrical panel to be able to keep up with the additional power demand. Adding square footage and appliances means your electrical system needs an upgrade too.
Be warned: there may be many DIY-videos online, but upgrading an electrical panel is not a task we recommend the average homeowner taking on! In fact, most cities and town require the project to be completed by a master electrician.
Our experienced electrical contractors here at Castle Electric provide quality upgrade and repair services for electrical panels. We will guide you to the best decision based on your situation. For a work order request, feel free to call or fill out our online forms.