How to Know When to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

The electric panel is one of the most important part of your home’s electrical system; it’s the place that controls the circuits that distribute power through the building. But as technology is rapidly evolving, your panel might not be up to the strain of distributing power in a modern home. So how do you know when it’s time for an electrical panel renovation?

Electric SocketUnusual Behavior

One of the biggest indications that your panel needs to be replaced is that it is behaving oddly or appears worn out. If you find rust or corrosion on your breakers or panel, if the box is overheating, or if you hear crackling sounds coming from it, then you should have the panel replaced as soon as possible. A damaged panel can represent a safety hazard to you and your home.

Poor Service

You should also have the panel replaced if it is not fully serving your needs. If your appliances are not running at full power, you do not have sufficient outlets, or you have recently added a new large appliance such as a stove, furnace, or spa, then you should probably have the panel replaced.

Age

Finally, panels should be replaced whenever they get too old. If your panel is older than thirty to forty years, it’s probably time for an electrical panel renovation. If you need to upgrade your outdated electrical panel, be sure to consult a qualified electrician to help guide you through the process.

A Homeowner’s Checklist for Electrical Inspection

When you buy a new home, own an older home, or have renovated or added a major appliance you want to make sure your home is safe. An electrical inspection in these situations should be done by a licensed electrician, but there are some things you can examine yourself.

room

  1. First locate your electrical panel. It is usually found in the garage or basement.
  2. Look for dark or smoky residue and wear and tear on the panel.
  3. Check the fuses. Round fuses are out-of-date and should be replaced.
  4. Examine the panel for any wear or rust and replace if necessary.
  5. Next look at your house’s wiring.
  6. Start by determining if your house was built before 1973. Older houses may have aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring which can be safety concerns and may need to be replaced.  The wiring should also be checked with an electrical inspection.
  7. Do a sweep of the outlets in your bathrooms and kitchen. These outlets should have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) which prevent overloading and accidental electrocution.
  8. Make sure that all lights in the bathrooms and kitchen are at least several inches away from water sources.
  9. Don’t forget to scan your outdoor outlets for GFCIs. Outdoor outlets are exposed to rain, snow, garden hoses, and other water sources.
  10. Indoor outlets should also be inspected even if they are not near water sources. Look for loose or malfunctioning outlets as they may need to be repaired or replaced. See if there are any scorch or smoke marks and listen for sounds such as humming or clicking sounds. If you see or hear marks or sounds, be sure to notify your electrician so he can be sure to take a look during his electrical inspection.