Your home’s electrical panel is a critical feature of your home’s infrastructure. It is essential to get electricity from outside your home into your appliances, devices, and anything else that requires electricity.
However, electrical panels are known to have issues. Many homes have older panels designed for a different era and can’t handle modern levels of electrical usage. Nowadays, these panels can be less effective, can experience issues, and can be dangerous.
Knowing if your panel needs to be replaced means looking for the warning signs. This article will explain the signs you must watch out for to know when electrical panel replacement is on the horizon.
Signs You Need to Replace the Electrical Panel
Paying attention to the following signs will give you time to start planning your electrical panel replacement. If you see any of these, make sure to call your trusted local electrician to replace your electrical panel.
Your Electrical Panel Is Over 25 Years Old
Electrical panels don’t last forever. Even the best panels on the market will fall victim to everyday wear and tear. This is even more true in the present, where there are more electrical appliances than ever before and, thus, the strain on the panel is greater.
Once a panel reaches age 25, it starts to become less reliable. At this time, you should have your panel inspected to determine if it needs to be replaced soon or if it still has a little life in it.
Your Electrical Panel Doesn’t Have the Amps Required to Power Your Devices
In the past, most homes were built to accommodate what was thought to be a normal amount of electrical devices. However, the number of devices people use and rely on has increased. So, many panels are now incapable of meeting modern demands.
If your panel is under 150 amperage, you may need a new one. Most newer panels are rated for amperage levels of 150-200. So, if your panel can’t keep up with your home’s needs, it will need to be replaced.
The Electrical Panel Uses Fuses Rather Than Breakers
Newer electrical panels use breakers rather than fuses. A panel with breakers will simply flip the breaker when the electricity flowing through it becomes too much. This can be resolved by simply flipping the breaker back to normal again.
Meanwhile, a fuse will burn out when dealing with the same issue. When this happens, it will need to be replaced entirely. Fuses can also be a fire hazard and raise your insurance bills.
Even if your panel is alright otherwise, you may want to swap it out for a new one if it still has fuses. Doing so will save you time and energy while making your home safer.
Your Electrical Panel Smells Like It’s Burning or Is Always Warm
An electrical system can’t get too hot, or it will cause a fire. In most systems, the panel takes the brunt of this regulation. This can cause it to get a little warm sometimes.
However, this can become a problem. An electrical panel that runs extremely hot will burn its surroundings. It can burn the plastic holding it in place, the insulation around it, or even the wall holding it. This will create a burning smell. If this happens, you should call an electrician before the problem starts a fire.
The Breakers on Your Panel Are Constantly Tripping
There is always a chance that a circuit breaker will trip occasionally. This is a natural part of how an electrical panel works.
However, it shouldn’t happen on a regular basis. When this happens, it is a sign of other issues with the system. It often indicates that your panel needs to be upgraded to handle the electricity level your home uses.
You Are Planning to Add to Your Home
When your home expands, your electrical needs expand as well. The new addition will have more lights, more outlets, and more devices within it. Because of this, an electrical panel upgrade is an essential part of every home add-on.
This is true for any kind of expansion. Adding a new section of the home is an obvious example. However, finishing a basement or attic is an expansion too. Doing so will require redoing the electricity in those rooms, thus changing the home’s electrical needs.
You Recently Bought Larger Appliances
Larger appliances have larger electrical needs. Sometimes, the additional electrical draw is enough to require a new or upgraded electrical panel.
This is true for all sorts of large appliances. A refrigerator, dishwasher, or washer/dryer combo takes up large amounts of electricity. Even revamping a home’s electrical air conditioning or heating systems will often draw more electricity.
The Panel Is Rusty
Rust is generally an indicator that something is wrong. If you see rust on your electrical panel, take it as a bad sign.
In some cases, it may be because the panel is getting older. Other cases, it may be an indication of water damage. In any case, you should have a professional look at it to determine if you require an electrical panel replacement.
The Lights in Your Home Flicker or Dim
Have you ever noticed that your lights dim for a moment when you turn on an appliance? Maybe your lights flicker when you have many electrical devices going at once. If this is the case, it may indicate that your electrical panel is taking on too much.
The same is true if you have other appliances that seem to struggle sometimes. Examples are a blender that doesn’t seem to get the job done or an electric stove that never seems to get as hot as it should. In any of these cases, the electrical panel is struggling and must be examined.
Call an Electrician
If you are experiencing any of the electrical panel issues listed above, call the experts at 4 Service Pros to get the electrical services you need.
At 4 Service Pros, we offer a range of electrical services and are able to use our expertise to help you with any job. We also offer electrical services 24/7, so we’re also there in case of an emergency. So, if you’re in need of an electrical contractor in Northern Virginia, parts of the DC area, or Maryland, make sure to reach out to 4 Service Pros and book your appointment now.