An electrical panel is a metal box installed in your home, typically on the wall. It receives the main electric supply from the electrical company and then distributes it to the smaller circuits within your house through circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are now widely used to protect your power system and prevent overheating, rather than fuses.
Years after installation, the panels become old and outdated. In this article, we share 5 signs to look out for that are an indication that your electrical panel needs an upgrade:
1. Look out for old and weary electrical panels
The first sign to look for is old and outdated electrical panels. The panels used in the 1950s-1970s are not as sophisticated or reliable as they are today. Very often parts of the panel become corroded and poor connections develop between the panel bus and breakers.
Additionally, new codes require special arc fault breakers that are even more sensitive and effective for life safety and building protection that are now available.
If you have an electrical panel that is at least 30 years old, you should consider upgrading to a newer electrical panel.
2. There’s a water leak near your electrical panel or it contains water
Water leaks near or inside your electrical panel can be extremely dangerous. If you experience this, stay away from the area of the leak. If possible, turn of the circuit breaker and contact an electrician right away.
3. Your electrical panel does not support modern appliances
Outdated electrical panels might not be able to support modern appliances or electrical loads. This includes car chargers, AC Systems, hot tubs, etc. So, if you are planning a house remodel or thinking of adding new appliances, you may need to add a new circuit to your electrical panel. If adding a new circuit is not a possibility, consider having your electrical panel upgraded.
4. Upgrade from a fuse box to circuit breakers
While the basic purpose of fuses and circuit breakers is the same, i.e. breaking an electrical connection in case of high currents, fuses used in old electrical panels have now become obsolete. As compared to circuit breakers, fuses are meant for only one-time use and pose hazards if you do not replace them. Investing in modern electrical panels using circuit breakers will not only provide protection from short circuits but also save you from the hassle of frequent replacement.
5. That buzzing sound can indicate faulty wiring
If you hear a buzzing sound from an electrical panel or see sparks near your electrical panel, whether occasional or frequent, it requires your immediate attention and action – any delay can have dire consequences. The underlying reasons can be deterioration of wiring installation or other electrical material, poor wiring installation, or poorly installed electrical wires. Therefore, consider the aforementioned signals as a serious call for replacement of your electrical panel.
We have listed some obvious signs to check to determine whether you need an electrical panel upgrade. An electrical panel upgrade will ensure a steady flow of current which will not only reduce the risk of electrical hazards and fire but also provide more energy at a lower cost. Still unsure? Call Chestnut Electrician and have a professional electrician look at your electrical panel.