Like many of the inner workings of your home, your electrical panel is probably not something you think about regularly. However, electrical panels have a finite lifespan, and if yours is getting close to the end of its life, it is time to consider an electrical panel upgrade. You don’t have to guess whether it’s time to consider an electrical panel upgrade. If you ever feel unsure, it is a good idea to ask a professional and licensed electrician to come and inspect your electrical panel. Circuit breakers prevent electrical fires. We recommend replacing panels and circuit breakers more than 30 years old.
These signs should not be ignored and may indicate that it’s time to consider an electrical panel upgrade:
- Use your senses: Your electrical panel should operate silently most of the time and it shouldn’t generate a smell. If you hear buzzing or hissing around your panel or if you smell a new or burning smell, you should immediately contact someone to check out your panel. Feel your panel with your hand. It should not be warm, and it definitely should not be hot!
- Poor performance: Fuses were common in electrical panels 50 years ago, but if you have fuses in your panel, chances are you are due for an upgrade. Adding onto your home or getting new large appliances may exceed the capacity of your current panel. If your lights flicker or dim when you start the microwave or turn on the vacuum, this is an indication you need to update your system. Older houses often have fewer outlets as well and adding power strips and extension cords is not a good long-term solution.
- Obvious damage: Does your panel have rust on it? This indicates that water has or is coming into contact with it, which can be very dangerous. If the panel gets damaged in any other way, have it inspected right away.
If your electrical panel is more than 25 years old, have it inspected periodically and invest in an electrical panel upgrade when it is needed. This key electrical point in your home should not be ignored and can be the source of a house fire if left neglected for too long.