Most people don’t spend much time thinking about their home’s electrical panel. However, this panel has a massive impact on the function of every electrical item plugged into the house. When it needs to be replaced, it can cause damage or prevent appliances from working.
So, how can you tell if the panel needs to be replaced? You can look for the signs. How can you learn what signs to look for? Just keep reading.
What Is an Electrical Panel?
An electrical panel is a device that diverts electricity from the power grid into your home’s electrical appliances and fixtures. It looks like a big metal box and is usually located in an out-of-the-way area of the home.
11 Signs You Should Replace Electrical Panel
When an electrical panel works properly, you don’t have to worry about it. However, as the world increasingly relies on electricity, the demand placed on electrical panels is greater than ever. This means that electrical panels experience problems and need to be replaced more often than before.
Because of this, homeowners need to constantly be on the lookout for signs of impending electrical panel replacement. Here are some signs that show you may need to replace your electrical panel:
The Panel Is More than 25 Years Old
Generally, when your panel is around 25 years old, it starts to experience problems that warrant a replacement. In addition, many panels that are this old tend to be unable to handle the amount of electricity that modern homes require.
Panel Warm or Smells Burnt
Sometimes, panels experience problems that cause them to overheat. This can cause the panel to become warm or, in some cases, even to burn its surroundings, causing a burning smell. Either way, this is a sign that the panel needs to be replaced or looked at. This should be done as soon as possible, as an issue like this can result in a dangerous fire.
An electrical panel should be reliable. If it is constantly tripping breakers, it is no longer performing in a way that fits this purpose. It may be unable to handle your home’s appliances or may be experiencing some other issue. No matter what the problem is, when this happens, it is time to consider replacing it.
Never Find an Outlet
Older homes and the panels that came with them generally feature fewer outlets. They weren’t built to consider the vast number of electronics people currently have and, thus, don’t have outlets to accommodate them. If this is the case for your system, upgrading can fix this problem and allow you to have more outlets.
Your home’s electrical panel was likely installed with the current condition of your home in mind. So, if you expand your home with an addition or a robust remodel, you will be pushing this electrical panel beyond what it was designed for. In these cases, you will need to replace your electrical panel to accommodate this change.
New Major Appliance
A new major appliance is another massive draw of electricity. Often, larger appliances like these are enough to push an older electrical panel beyond its capabilities. Luckily, newer panels are designed to handle this increase in electrical demand.
Rust on Panel
Rust is generally something you never want to see on any electrical appliance. If you see it on your electrical panel, it can indicate that something is seriously wrong. You should have the panel replaced or at least inspected quickly.
Sometimes, an electrical panel will create sparking or buzzing noises. This should not happen. It indicates that there is something faulty with how electricity running through the panel is handled. If left unaddressed, this small problem can evolve into something more serious, permanently damaging the panel or even sparking a fire.
When an electrical panel is overloaded, it has trouble handling everything plugged into it. When one device switches on, it can cause other devices to lose power temporarily. You may notice that the lights flicker or briefly dim when you turn something else on.
Faulty wiring can present in several different ways. You may smell burning, notice electrical problems, or even just suspect that the old wiring in your home has issues. Always follow up on these suspicions with a visit from a trained electrician, as faulty wiring is incredibly dangerous and not something you want to leave up to chance.
If you suspect that your electrical panel will need to be replaced soon, you may want to get ahead of the problem and make the replacement sooner rather than later. Doing so can prevent you from having to suffer from having an overloaded panel. It can also increase your home’s value if you are considering selling.
Should I Replace the Electrical Panel?
If you start to notice any of the signs listed above, your electrical panel may need to be replaced. When this happens, the best action is to call an electrician. They will be able to examine your panel and your situation. They can then let you know how serious the issue is and if the panel needs to be replaced entirely. Going about things this way also ensures that you don’t leave any dangerous issues that may be plaguing your panel unchecked.
It is technically possible to replace your home’s electrical panel on your own. However, doing so is incredibly risky.
A mistake puts you and your home’s entire electrical system in danger. You can be injured as you attempt the replacement. If you do something wrong, the electrical system can start fires in the future. Because of this, we generally don’t advise going down the DIY route for home electrical issues.
Call an Electrician Today
The best way to address your home’s electrical panel issues is with a qualified electrician. With professionals like those at 4 Service Pros, you can be sure that your electrical panel replacement will go smoothly. We’re on call 24/7 to ensure your home’s electrical needs are met at any time. This will put your home on the right path for both safety and efficiency.