Unlike many systems in an older home that can be kept in good working order with regular maintenance your electrical panel can become unstable and even dangerous if it is outdated or overworked. Older panels that are no longer working correctly should be updated to a new panel that meets the latest standards. At D.O.C. Electrical Services, we are often asked “Should I upgrade my electrical panel?” and, before we can make any recommendations, we always ask a series of questions to determine the best course of action for our client and their home.
While asking questions can certainly be a good start it is often better to have a professional inspect your electrical panel to determine if there is a need for an upgrade.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Electrical Panel
Over the years, people have come up with many new and safer ways of supplying homes with electricity. One of the biggest upgrades when it comes to your home electrical system is a new electrical panel. Upgrading your electrical panel can help protect your home from overloaded circuits and reduce the potential for an electrical fire. A new panel may even save you time, money and make your home more environmentally friendly. Peace of mind can also be one of the biggest benefits associated with a new electrical panel.
What is an Electrical Panel?
An electrical panel is also called a load center. It is a metal electrical service box that accepts the main power to the home and distributes electrical current to the various circuits within the home.
The distribution of power to the various circuits are protected from over-current by the use of circuit breakers or fuses.
Once you open the door to the panel you can access all the circuit breakers or fuses. Usually one of these panels feeds all the circuits in the home but there may be a situation where there is another “sub-panel” serving a dedicated area like a new kitchen.
Do I Need to Upgrade?
Before you can determine if your panel is a good candidate for an upgrade you should have it inspected and tested by a licensed, experienced professional electrician. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself the following questions when considering an electrical panel upgrade:
• Is the home over 20 years old? • Does your panel use fuses instead of breakers? • Does the electrical panel ever feel warm to the touch? • Is there ever a strange smell coming from your panel? • Do the fuses or breakers in the electrical panel break or trip often? • Are all of your home’s appliances running at full capacity? • Do the lights in the home dim or flicker when an appliance turns on? • Are there any plans to do a renovation or addition to the home?
If you answered yes to any of these questions a panel replacement is likely worth at least considering. To avoid shock or electrocution, it is very important to contact a licensed electrician to make any changes to or to upgrade your panel.
Experts you Can Trust
Price is important, but when choosing an electrician judge the entire picture an electrician is showing you character, expertise, the ease of working with him or her, and overall value. A large part of an electrician’s value is that he/she gets the job done right and safely without taking too much of your time and inconveniencing you. A very competent electrician can save you money by suggesting more efficient ways to do a job or to save on electricity. When you enjoy a good relationship with your electrician, it can save you both time and money. Give us a call about your next electrical project and we will be happy to help.