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ELECTRICAL PANEL UPGRADE

An electrical panel channels electricity from the power utility company to the various spaces in your home or building where electricity is needed. Electrical panels spread out into smaller branches, and those branches split into even smaller branches. This ensures that electricity is safely and evenly distributed. An electrical panel that functions properly is essential for the proper running of a home or business.

Your electrical panel regulates the electricity coursing through your home. If too much electricity is demanded on a circuit, a circuit breaker is tripped in the electrical panel to stop the electricity from overloading the wiring. An overload can cause a fire, so it’s the job of the electrical panel to break the circuit and regulate the electricity in the system to keep your home and family safe.

Unfortunately, as your home gets older, the electrical panel could have a hard time keeping up with the increased electrical demands on the system. Your appliances, televisions, computers, HVAC systems, lights and other electrical gadgets are increasingly energy efficient, but the average modern household uses more gadgets than ever before. If your home is more than 10 years old, your electrical system may not be able to keep up with your electrical demand. How do you know for sure?

Symptoms of Sick Electrical Panels

Old electrical panels can malfunction, but most of the time the problem stems from overloaded circuits. At first you might notice flickering lights or you might have to turn off an appliance in order to use another plugged into the same circuit. But if the panel is malfunctioning or defective, the breakers will trip often, or they will fail to trip and someone might be shocked. In the worst case, a breaker that fails to trip may cause fire, smoke and melted wires from overheating.

Checking Your Electrical Panel

Your electrical panel needs a checkup, especially if it’s more than 25 years old. Here are the signs to look for to see if you might need a new electrical panel:

  • You hear crackling sounds from the electrical panel.
  • You see corrosion and rust on the circuit breakers.
  • The interior of the electrical panel feels warm.
  • Appliances are running at less than full power.
  • Outlets near water sources – such as sinks, tubs, dishwashers and clothes washers – are not GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters). These outlets stop the electricity if an appliance comes into contact with water, preventing electrocution.
  • You’re always using extension cords.
  • Your home has a 60-amp electrical service.
  • Your home has 100-amp electrical service, but it still can’t operate some appliances.
  • Your older home has a fuse block panel or split-bus panel, which do not have a main breaker.