What You Need to Know about Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

There are two main reasons homeowners choose to upgrade their electrical panel. Typically, we get calls when a customer needs electrical work, like adding a new circuit for an electrical appliance like a new range, hot tub, or electric car charging station. A panel upgrade is often required when the existing circuits cannot handle the additional loads safely.

Another common reason is the age of the electrical panel. Electric panels typically need replacing every 25-40 years. Even if the panel has not reached this age yet, there may be warning signs that it needs replacement. These signs include:

• Lights flicker

• Circuit breakers that keep tripping

• Small electric shocks when touching appliances

• A burning smell

• Scorch marks or sparks coming from power outlets

• Warmth around the electric panel

If you notice any of these problems, call Streb Electric. We can inspect your electrical system, track down the source of the problem, and recommend solutions to ensure the system works correctly.

Even if the panel is in good working order and not very old, it may not meet the demands of today’s tech-filled home. With Smart devices, continual phone and laptop charging, screens in every room, and new electrical gadgets being added regularly, there’s more electricity demand than when the panel was installed twenty years ago. And electrical codes have changed over the past 40 years.

Do you find yourself using power strips or extension cords around your home? A lack of outlets is a common symptom of a home with an undersized electrical capacity. 

Fuse Box versus Circuit Breaker Panel

The significant difference between circuit breakers and fuses is that fuses are single-use. They work by melting when the current is too high. Replacing fuses is more costly and time-consuming than resetting a circuit breaker. Fuses can also present a fire hazard if not correctly matched to the circuit. 

While electricians no longer install fuse boxes, they are still found in some older homes and are a genuine safety concern. Sometimes insurance companies may refuse to cover your home or payout if you get coverage in the event of an electrical malfunction and fire. Having a fuse box in your home is one of the main reasons you should consider upgrading to a modern electrical panel.

Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

1. Remodeling

When different parts of your electrical system are updated while remodeling your home, you must replace your breaker.

Replacing junction boxes and any old wiring can be a blessing in disguise. You’ll have a safer, more efficient electrical system that boosts your resale value.

2. Adding Appliances

In older homes, historically, there have been modest appliances installed. Your breaker will need to be updated as you remodel certain areas.

If you install an additional large freezer in the basement, your current panel may be unable to handle it.

An electrician can determine if your new home demands match your panel’s amps.

When a Larger Electrical Panel is Needed

Home size determines what size your electrical panel needs to be. Usually, the decision comes down to a 200-amp electrical panel versus a 100-amp panel. 

You may be able to use the 100-amp panel for a small home. Particularly if you do not have an HVAC system. 

The best fit for large homes, especially those with AC systems, is generally a 200-amp panel.

An electrician will help you install the correct panel, and whether or not to go with the 200 amp panel.

What You Need to Know about Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

Is Upgrading my Electrical Panel Worth it?

Having a safe home is priceless, and if you upgrade your electrical panel, it is always worth the associated cost. Preventing electrical fires and other electrical hazards are a couple of benefits when upgrading your electrical panel.

Besides safety, energy efficiency, and increased peace of mind, this upgrade guarantees a continuous flow of electricity to all areas of your home. That way, you can constantly say goodbye to flickering lights and flipping breakers. 

Can I upgrade my electrical panel myself?

 Upgrading an electrical panel yourself without being familiar with electrical wiring can be extremely dangerous. 

Panel upgrades are a job that should only be undertaken by a licensed electrician. If your home requires electrical upgrades, be safe and call Streb Electric.