Your electrical panel box is likely something that you don’t give a lot of thought to unless you’re dealing with a tripped breaker. In reality, electrical panels are not constructed to last forever. Their average life span is about 25 years. As a homeowner, you should pay attention to the various indicators that signal it’s time to upgrade your electrical panel box so you can make the change when necessary.
It’s Over 25 Years Old
If you know that your electrical panel box is over 25 years old, it’s time to think about investing in an upgrade. Over the years, power surges, manufacturer defects, and wear and tear can wreak havoc on your electrical panel box. While you might not notice it, there may be rusting and corrosion of the wiring within the panel box. It’s best to consider an upgrade before you experience major problems with your panel box.
One of the most obvious signs of a defective panel box is having a burnt smell. Electrical wires create a distinctive smell when they burn. This is the scent of burnt plastic that is melting on the wires and possibly wood from the inside of your walls. Whenever you smell burnt electrical wires, it’s necessary to contact a professional to see if your electrical panel needs to be replaced.
Your Breakers Trip Often
Circuit breakers are specifically designed to trip to turn off the flow of electricity whenever the circuit becomes overloaded. This is a safety feature that shouldn’t be utilized very often. However, if you start to notice that your electrical panel box has breakers that consistently trip, then you have a problem with adequate electrical flow. This occurrence is very common in older homes where there isn’t enough electricity being brought into the home to be dispersed to handle all of the modern appliances that we utilize today.
There Are Not Circuits Left
One of the most common times that homeowners will realize that they need to upgrade their panel boxes is when they’re trying to have new outlets installed. A licensed electrician may evaluate your panel box and find that there are no open circuits left. This means that all of the power that is coming into your home is being disbursed to the existing outlets.
While you may be tempted to add new outlets onto an existing circuit, you don’t want to end up overloading it. Instead, upgrading your panel box to bring in more power can be the solution so that you have more open circuits to add outlets and other appliances.
It Uses Fuses
If you look in any modern home, you’ll notice that it has circuit breakers. Many of these are encased in plastic and simply have a toggle switch on the front where you can turn the breaker on and off. Whenever the breaker trips, the toggle switch is flipped to the trip position.
If you have fuses in your electrical panel box instead of circuit breakers, whenever the circuit is overloaded, it will pop the fuse. The major downfall of having fuses inside of your panel box is that you have to physically replace the fuse every time the circuit is overloaded. However, with a circuit breaker, all you have to do is simply turn the breaker off and back on again to reset the circuit. With such a simple fix, it becomes overly clear why it’s much more beneficial to have circuit breakers over fuses in your panel box.
Rust Is Present
If you’ve noticed that rust has developed on your panel box, it’s necessary to call in a professional. Rust forms because water comes into contact with your panel box. This can be a serious problem as water and electricity do not mix. In most cases, rust will require a complete replacement of your panel box. Additionally, you’ll need to fix the water damage problem before having a new panel box installed so you don’t end up with the same problem.
Flickering and Dimming Lights
If you start to notice that your lights tend to flicker or dim whenever you plug in one of your appliances, like your vacuum, it’s an indication that there’s not enough power on the circuit. Again, this is an issue where your need to have your electrical panel upgraded to bring more power into your home to run the appliances.
Reliable Electrician Services
Beck Electric, Generators & Plumbing offers reliable electrician services for the Canton, OH region. We’re also here for all of your generator, commercial, EV charging station, smart home, surge protection, and outlet installation and repair needs. Call us today to set up your next appointment.