An electrical panel upgrade at the right time is necessary to protect your home from several electrical accidents. The board connects to various circuits, each of which has a circuit breaker that distributes power to all the electrical components throughout a building. The breaker trips and disconnects the electricity supply when there’s a surge of current, posing the risk of overheating the lines and catching fires.
When Do You Need an Electrical Panel Upgrade?
The service panel is smart enough to automatically turn off the power supply when there’s an overload or danger of overheating. Basically, it’s the breaker that trips and cuts the connection. Nevertheless, it can be fickle and sensitive to various factors, and there could be other factors determining when you need an electrical panel upgrade.
A major percentage of residential fires in the United States happen because of faulty wires. The risk is proportionate to the age of the building. You should upgrade the system if the cables don’t meet the standard code or the insulation and other parts deteriorate. The warning signs include flickering lights, minor shock or tingling sensation upon touching an appliance, sparks in the sockets, discolored power outlets, and a burning smell near electronics.
Older homes built before 1960 have a few circuits that rely on fuses. These fuses can only handle 30, 50, 60, or 90 amps for the entire house. Such system won’t work in a modern residence that needs something between 100 and 400 amps of power. The fuses will only increase the fire risk. You will need to replace them with circuit breakers.
A Remodeling or New Appliance
Your energy requirement increases when renovating the living place or purchasing a new appliance, such as an air conditioner or hot tub, that consumes a huge amount of power. If the system’s amp capacity doesn’t meet the electrical needs, the circuit breaker will trip frequently and cut the power connection.
Extension Cords and Power Strips
It’s better to go for an electrical panel upgrade if you don’t have adequate outlets for plugging all the electronics. Excessive use of additional strips and cords increases the risk of fire hazards. Contact an electrical contractor to install new outlets and circuits to safeguard your home from electrical accidents.
Unusual Behavior of the Electrical System
When it’s related to electricity, anything different than normal is worrying. It’s necessary to take immediate action when your electronics don’t run at full power or when the service panel makes crackling sounds. Sometimes, the breakers don’t trip if there’s a loose connection within the circuit. So, even if there’s no apparent problem, you should conduct a safety audit at regular intervals.
Don’t wait for the sparks to fly! Don’t make yourself regret later by delaying an electrical panel upgrade. In addition, electricity is not something to be a part of your DIY project; never try to change or install anything unless you are an electrician.
If you are unsure just what an electrical panel is, it is basically your Command Center for the electrical system in the home. The power may be turned off and on and sent throughout your home to the various outlets from the panel. It is also referred to as your breaker box. In the electrical panel box there are fuses or breakers that will “blow” or “trip” in response to an over current or short. The capacity of the panel is measured in amps and the normal for residential electricity needs use to be sixty amps.
The reason that you may need to upgrade the electrical panel is that with today’s electronic devices and supersized appliances it may not be strong enough to handle all those electrical needs. There are several indications that it is time to upgrade, or replace, your old electrical panel. This is something that you cannot do yourself so you will have to hire a residential electrician to do the upgrade.
One of the indicators is your homeowner’s insurance is demanding the installation of a new electrical panel. Another indicator is having frequent bugs in your electrical system. When mentioning bugs, this means fuses blowing, lights flickering or burning out rapidly, or breakers tripping. The third indicator is having a plan to add to the load of the electrical panel significantly by purchasing a new major appliance, installing an electrical-powered hot tub, or doing a remodel causing an increase in the square footage of your home. The last indication is if you decide that you want to put your home up for sale, it will bring a higher selling price if there is upgraded electrical capacity, especially for your bathroom and kitchen. However, the main reason to do an upgrade is safety. The older electrical panels are more apt to cause a fire due to being overloaded.
Today, the minimum allowable amp for an electrical panel is one hundred amps but you can get amperages in one hundred fifty, two hundred, and four hundred. Your electrician will help you decide which amperage you need by either measuring how much electricity you use or performing a home energy audit. Both are done using a special electric metering system referred to as power analyzer. You may also need to replace old wiring and other upgrades. The cost will vary according to how much amps you need, any additional upgrades or equipment is required, and the cost of a local building permit. In some areas, a master electrician who is licensed can only do this type of electrical work.Source by Lora Davis