Knowing when your home needs an electrical panel upgrade is important for your family’s safety and the preservation of your electrical appliances. Use the following signs to tell when your home’s electrical system is outdated and when to call a professional electrician.
What Is the Purpose of the Electrical Panel?
The electrical panel is a metal box mounted on the wall usually in the basement, laundry room or a utility closet. In some cases it is located on your home’s exterior. Electricity provided by the local utility company flows through this panel, which directs voltage throughout the home.
Rust and Corrosion Buildup
The first sign of the need for an electrical panel upgrade is a buildup of rust inside the box. The breakers and other components can corrode when water leaks into the panel. This threat will damage the equipment and it may overheat, leading to an electrical fire. It is important to not only replace the panel in this case, but to also address the source of the leak and repair it immediately, moving the new electrical panel to a safer location if necessary.
Outdated Fuse Block Panel or Split Buss Panel
Older homes may use fuse block or split buss panels, neither of which provides an adequate level of protection for your home. In a fuse block panel, when too much current passes through the fuse, the fuse completely blows out, opening the circuit. If the incorrect fuse is put in, too much current can overload and overheat the wire, causing it to melt or start a fire. In modern panels, fuses have been replaced with circuit breakers. Instead of blowing when coming into contact with an overcurrent, the circuit breaker trips and can be reset instead of requiring complete replacement.
A split buss panel does not include one main switch which shuts off all electrical power to the home. While these types of panels were legal according to code at the time of installation, they are not installed today due to their tendency for the smaller breakers to overheat and potentially start a fire.
Insufficient Amp Service
Many older homes have electrical panels offering an insufficient level of power to supply the range of modern appliances common today. If you notice appliances running at less than full power, if you have an insufficient number of outlets in your home, the lights flicker constantly or you must turn off one appliance in order to run another, you may need an electrical panel upgrade to address these issues. In addition, consider upgrading amp service if you are constructing a home addition or adding a major home system such as a spa or a central cooling unit.
Contact Stanger Electric to receive a professional yet affordable electrical panel upgrade and protect your home from the risk of electrical fire.