Is It Time to Replace Your Electrical Panel? Here’s How to Tell

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The electrical panel is undoubtedly a crucial element in your home. This needs to be regularly monitored so that you can be sure that it’s running efficiently. Most of us don’t realize the importance of keeping an eye on the electrical panel; we only check it when we need to flip a circuit breaker. 

To avoid potential accidents, you need to be aware of exactly when you need to replace or upgrade the electrical panels in your home. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will help you to identify when Electrical Panel Upgrades need to be done.

Breakers Often Trip

The circuit breaker is designed to trip and protect you from any circuits that may be drawing too much power. They do this by tripping and turning off the flow of electricity to that circuit. This keeps you protected from having to face an accident that is caused by your electrical system pushing too much power. This can also mean that you need to upgrade your electrical panel. 

Breakers can get frequently tripped if your electrical panel cannot allow the electrical flow to continue adequately. The solution might be to hire professionals to get your panel replaced as it has clearly become insufficient.

You’ve Recently Installed a Large Appliance 

You might need to upgrade your electrical panels when you install a new appliance that draws significantly higher electrical power than your old appliances, such as an air conditioner or something in your kitchen

Just like getting newer outlets, you will need to replace your electrical panels for your new appliance to function properly as the panels might be running at full capacity already. Get help from a professional instead of trying to do it yourself as this work is tricky and requires expert knowledge. 

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The Panel Is More Than 25 Years Old

The average lifespan of an electrical panel is affected by certain variables but can range usually from 25-40 years. Some of the factors that affect this lifespan are defects from the manufacturer, wear and tear, and power surges. The panel does become less than perfect after it has crossed 25 years. This is when it becomes crucial for you to perform regular checks to see if it is functioning properly. If you don’t want to replace it, be sure to get the panels inspected at regular intervals by professional electricians to avoid any unfortunate situations. 

Required Outlets Are Not There

If your electrical panel is permitting very limited electrical flow, you won’t have as many outlets as you need. And you should not try to fix this issue with a power strip as overtaxing a single outlet is never a good idea. It is recommended to add dedicated circuits to your electrical panel, provided it has the room. 

If you see that the current electrical panel is not able to allow new circuits, then replacing it is the best alternative. This way you can add dedicated circuits and run your outlets as you require. But be sure to have professionals undertake this task as it is to be attempted by someone who does not have adequate experience with upgrading electrical panels.

A Burning Smell

Any burning smells in or around your electrical panel should always be the reason for concern. You need to be very cautious about this as serious house fires may result when a circuit breaker panel fails. Your entire property can be destroyed from fires that were caused by circuit breaker panel fails. 

The burning smell you get will likely be coming from the plastic jacket or the electrical wire melting. This is very serious as it means that the insulation or the wood of your walls is melting. You must not delay if you smell any burning smells; call an electrician instantly to replace the electrical panel.

The Panel Is Hot to the Touch

An electrical panel is supposed to trip when your electrical system gets too hot, protecting your home from any fire-related accidents. But if your electrical panel is warm or hot when you touch it, this indicates a serious problem, and you should be considering getting the panel replaced altogether. Call in an electrician to check out the panel if you notice that it is getting too warm when you touch it.

Plugging Something in Causes the Lights to Flicker

When you plugin and start any electrical appliance such as a microwave or vacuum cleaner, other lights should not flicker. But if you do notice that this happens, it indicates that the electrical panel is not able to handle the required power draw. This is a potentially risky situation, and you should seriously consider replacing your electrical panel.

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You Hear Strange Sounds from the Panel

Ideally, if an electrical panel is performing well, it should be completely silent. If, however, you do hear any hissing or buzzing sounds from the electrical panel, you need to realize that something is not correct. 

You should not ignore those sounds as they are not normal. Rather you need to have an electrician inspect the electrical panel instantly as the sounds indicate there is an electrical connection that has become loose or there is a faulty wire. Your electrical panel can be damaged by faulty wires, so you need to immediately get the panel inspected when you hear any strange sounds coming from it.

There Is Rust on the Panel

If you notice any rust forming on the electrical panel, it indicates that the panel has been damaged. Rust forms when there is water damage, and any such indication is a very serious issue for the electricity of your home. Rust on the panel is telling you that the panel has been damaged and needs replacing. You must determine the cause of the water damage. 

You need to ascertain if the water damage is being caused by issues with the pipes or the roof leaking. Fix the root cause along with replacing the panel so that the new panel does not suffer the same damage again.

Final Words

Do not take any chances when it comes to the safety of the electrical system of your house, and the electrical panel is at the top of the list. If you notice any of the signs mentioned in this article, do not waste any time and call an experienced technician to check it out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Is It Time to Replace Your Electrical Panel? Here’s How to Tell was last modified: by