Electrical Panel Upgrade Needs and Benefits
While most home or building owners don’t interact too often with their buildings’ electrical systems, one common exception here is the electrical panel, or breaker panel. Responsible for housing the circuits and fuses that connect to every important part of your home, electrical panels are vital components in any structure — and they may need to be replaced from time to time.
At My Buddy the Plumber, our services extend from the plumbing and HVAC realm all the way to many electrical needs of our clients, including both commercial and residential electrical solutions. What are some of the risks associated with continuing to utilize an older or worn-down electrical panel, and what are some of the reasons you might consider such a move in the near future? Here are several concepts to consider down these lines.
What the Electrical Panel Does
As we noted above, the electrical panel is the central hub for all circuits and fuses in your home. It’s where the main power line enters the home, and it’s also generally where you’ll find the circuit breakers that can be flipped off or reset as needed. In short, this component plays a vital role in ensuring that electricity flows throughout your property as safely and efficiently as possible.
Over time, however, even the best electrical panels can become outdated or damaged. Wiring may loosen and deteriorate, breakers may begin to trip more frequently, and the whole system may simply become overloaded as your power needs have increased over the years. All of these risks can lead to serious problems down the line.
Possible Hazards of a Worn Down Breaker Panel
There are a number of risks your home or building may face if you’re using an older or worn-down breaker panel, including:
- Common outages: If your electrical panel is frequently tripping the breaker or blowing fuses, this is a sign that it’s become overloaded and can no longer handle the amount of power being sent through it. This can cause widespread outages throughout your property, leaving you without heat, light, or other essential services until the problem is resolved.
- Fire hazards: One of the most serious risks associated with an electrical panel is the potential for fire. If wiring is loose or frayed, this can create sparks that may ignite surrounding materials. This is especially dangerous if your electrical panel is located in a cramped or crowded space, as the fire may then have trouble spreading and could cause extensive damage to your property.
- Shocks and sparks: In addition to the risk of fire, loose or damaged wiring in your electrical panel can also lead to dangerous shocks or sparks. This is not only a potential hazard for you and your family members, but can also damage appliances or other electronics connected to the system.
Signs of Wiring or Other Breaker Issues
Here are some of the telltale signs that your home or building may be dealing with breaker panel issues, whether in terms of wiring concerns or any others:
- Flickering, dimming or inconsistent lights: If the lights in your home or building are flickering, dimming or otherwise behaving inconsistently, this may be a sign that your electrical panel is overloaded and can’t handle the current being sent through it.
- Frequent outages: As we noted above, if your electrical panel is frequently tripping the breaker or blowing fuses, this is a good sign that it needs to be replaced or upgraded.
- Hot spots on the electrical panel: If you notice any hot spots or discoloration on your electrical panel, this is a sign of a serious problem that should be addressed immediately by a qualified electrician.
- Continued issues after resetting the breaker: If you find that the power continues to go out even after you’ve reset the breaker, this is another sign that your electrical panel needs to be replaced.
- Small shocks: If you or anyone else in your home or building experiences small shocks when touching the electrical panel or any of the wiring connected to it, this is a serious safety hazard that needs to be addressed immediately.
- Sparks: If you see sparks coming from your electrical panel, this is an extremely serious problem that should be dealt with as soon as possible.
While most of the above issues refer to specific instances, here are a couple broader themes that also may signal your structure is a good candidate for an electrical panel upgrade:
- You’re using power strips everywhere: If you find that you’re using a lot of power strips to plug in appliances and other electronics, this is a sign that your electrical panel isn’t providing enough outlets.
- Constant power surges: If you experience a lot of power surges, this may be another sign that your electrical panel isn’t up to the task of handling all the current being sent through it.
- Aging property: If your home or building is quite old, it’s likely that the electrical system is also outdated. In this case, you may want to consider upgrading to a new one.
- Increased power demand: If you’ve recently added new appliances or electronics to your property, this may be putting too much strain on your electrical panel.
While there are a number of signs that may indicate it’s time for an electrical panel upgrade, the best way to know for sure is to consult with a qualified electrician. They’ll be able to assess your system and determine whether an upgrade is necessary.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your electrical panel, or if you have any other questions about your home’s or building’s electrical system, contact the experts at My Buddy the Plumber today. We’ll be happy to help you ensure your property is safe and up to code, plus make recommendations on how to proceed.
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