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How To Know When It’s Time For A Panel Upgrade

Although you may not realize it, the electrical panel in your home performs a very important task.  The electrical panel is responsible for taking the incoming power and distributing it to where it’s needed. The number of circuits within your panel is also what determines your home’s overall electrical capacity.

What most people don’t know is that your electrical panel can get damaged or ineffective due to age and normal wear and tear. If this happens, your electrical system may not be running as safely as efficiently as it could otherwise.

Signs It’s Time For A New Electrical Panel

Typically, the problem isn’t that homeowners don’t want to upgrade their electrical panels, they just don’t know that they need to. To help you better identify a panel that needs replacement, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you identify the warning signs.

Your System Uses Fuses

Fuses were common in electrical panels for a long time, but they are outdated by today’s standards. Not only are fuses a dated technology, but they can also be a safety hazard. When a fuse blows, the electricity to the circuit inside the panel does not always get shut off. This can pose a very serious fire risk, especially in older homes. If your home or electrical panel is still using fuses, you should give us a call today to talk about a panel upgrade.

Flickering Lights

Have you noticed the lights in your house flickering? Has the problem become progressively more noticeable over time? It’s possible that this is a result of a faulty electrical panel. When electrical connections begin to come loose, one common result is flickering lights. It can also be indicative of problems like damaged wires or another failure, but the best bet is to start with an electrical panel inspection and upgrade.

Burning Smell

Is your electrical panel giving off a strong burning smell? As I’m sure you’ve figured, this is not a good thing. More often than not, a burning smell means a bad circuit or a bad connection. Is your electrical panel also giving off heat? If any of these things sound familiar to you, you may be at risk of an electrical fire. The best thing to do is to call an experienced electrician to inspect your electrical panel as soon as possible.

Breakers Won’t Stay On

Does it feel like you’re constantly resetting or flipping your breakers? If you’re constantly resetting the circuit breakers, this could also be a sign that it’s time for a panel upgrade. Even though more often than not, the problem is confined to one or two circuit breakers, it’s usually a good idea to replace the entire electrical panel together when possible.

Home Is More Than 20 Years Old

You’ll also want to upgrade your electrical panel if your home is more than 20 years old and you haven’t upgraded the panel in that time. Older homes have electrical panels that are typically between 60 and 100 amps. However, modern panels run at 200 amps as many newer electronics require 200 amps to fully operate.

Benefits of A New Panel

Replacing an electrical panel can have a number of positive benefits. So what should you expect?

For one, your home will be safer as you won’t be nearly as prone to electrical fires and other safety hazards.  Further, you won’t be at risk of overloaded circuits and other problems that can damage electrical equipment or your entire electrical system.

Upgrading your panel will also increase the value of your home. Aside from the inherent value addition from the upgrade, it also gives you the opportunity to install newer, more modern electrical equipment.  This ensures that you’ll not only be able to use more expensive equipment but that it’ll be better protected during use.

Upgrading your panel will also improve energy efficiency and lower your monthly costs. When your electrical system and appliances are running more efficiently, you’re using less energy overall. In addition, these types of upgrades can also lower your monthly insurance costs.

Electrical Panel Upgrade Process

Upgrading your electrical panel is no easy task, so it should always be done by an experienced electrician. It also can require some amount of communication and coordination with the electrical service provider.

Here’s a general overview of the process we follow, of course, every job can have its unique requirements:

      1. We start by auditing the current panel, determining the size of the new panel needed, and how many circuits will be added.
      2. We then work with the utility company to discuss timing and secure any permits that may be needed for the work.
      3. When it’s time, the utility company will cut the power to your home.
      4. We then replace the panel, the wiring, and the circuits as per our plan.
      5. We then make sure the panel passes any required inspections.
      6. Once the panel is inspected and approved, the power company will turn the power back on.

Getting Started With A Panel Upgrade

If you have noticed any of these warning signs, it may be time to upgrade your panel. Since the panel upgrade process is a complicated one, it’s always best to contact an experienced electrician to handle the job.

At the end of the day, if you think it’s time for an upgrade, it probably is. If you’d like to learn more about how Tess Electrical can help with any of your marine electrical services needs, give our customer support team a call to talk to them about how we can help.  We will talk to you about your upgrade options, the types of problems you’re currently facing, and any options we may suggest for your home.

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