Despite its small size, your electrical panel plays a big role in your daily life. If it does its job well, you’ll hardly notice its presence. However, you should never forget to examine your electrical panel several times a year to ensure that it does not show signs of wear or damage.
The safety of your home should be your top priority. This article will examine crucial information regarding when, why, and how to update electrical panels.
When Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel
Typically, technicians should upgrade an electrical panel as soon as it’s obsolete or damaged, as the lifespan of its components is not infinite. Therefore, it’s recommended to change it at least every 20 years while obeying the electrical panel replacement code.
However, there are other things to consider if determining when to upgrade electrical panels.
Houses built in the 70s and 80s were typically equipped with 100 amp electrical panels. But since our electricity needs have significantly increased since then, you may want to consider upgrading if you are building a new house or renovating your current one with new appliances.
Signs to Look Out for
Your electrical panel may not have reached its 20-year life span, but there are certain signs you want to look out for that will tell you it’s time for an upgrade, including:
If the Lights in Your Home are Weaker
Suppose the lights in your home are getting weaker and weaker. In that case, it’s a sign that your electrical panel’s amperage needs to be upgraded to meet the requirements of your electric appliances.
Typically, you’ll see that happen when you turn on powerful appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine. If the lights start dimming or flickering, it’s a sign that your electrical panel is working too hard to feed electricity to everything power operated.
If Your Circuit Breakers Keep Tripping
When your breakers trip off, it’s for a very simple reason. Your electrical panel is equipped with a safety system to prevent circuit overload, which in some cases could cause electrocution or fire. Therefore, it automatically shuts off any circuit that is being overloaded.
If you notice this happening consistently, it’s probably because something is wrong with the electrical panel itself, which either of two things could cause.
First, it may be because the wires inside the panel have worn and expanded due to the consistent exposure to heat. This expansion may create a space between cables and outlets and cause dangerous sparks that could start a fire.
In that case, you want to get your panel checked out and replaced as soon as possible.
As mentioned earlier in the article, the tripping could also be caused by an overload of power required by your appliances. In that case, you want to get your panel upgraded to a higher amperage.
If Your Electrical Panel Is Hot to the Touch
One of the key things an electrical panel regulates is the heat in your electrical system. Overheating triggers a circuit breaker to trip, protecting your home from a potential electrical fire.
If you notice that your electrical panel is hot, it may indicate a serious problem requiring replacing it.
If Your Electrical Panel Is Making Strange Noises
Electrical panels must operate silently. Only the circuit breaker should make a sound when it is reset after tripping. But sometimes, people hear buzzing or hissing noise coming from their electrical panel.
These sounds are not normal and should not be ignored, as they usually indicate a defective wire or a loose electrical connection.
If ignored for too long, this can cause a lot of damage. So you definitely want to get it checked out!
How to Choose the Best Option for Me?
When replacing or upgrading your electrical panel, you have several options to choose from depending on the size of your home and the requirements of your appliances.
Here are your options for replacement:
- Replace defective 100 amps panel with a new one
- Upgrade electrical panel to 200 amps
- Upgrade electrical panel to 400 amps
What Are the Costs?
If you’ve been searching online for “cost to upgrade electrical panel to 200 amps” or “upgrading electrical panel from 100 to 200 cost” and see a range of answers, don’t be surprised. Several factors come into play, such as:
- The size of your home
- Whether you need new electrical wiring
- If you plan to upgrade electrical panel without permit
To get the best electrical panel to fit your needs, you want to reach out to a professional who will conduct a full analysis of your home and secure a permit. They will determine the best option for you while respecting the electrical panel upgrade code requirements.
At Safe Electric, our number one priority is your safety. Our technicians are highly trained to provide you with the best service possible to fulfill your electrical needs.
Contact us now to learn more and schedule an appointment! Our licensed installers are ready to assist you.