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Like all other electrical components at home, the electric panel needs regular checks and monitoring.

If you’ve never had any need for electrical fixes, you won’t realize that an electric panel needs inspection.

However, you still must do it to look for signs of rust or scorching – both of which are indicative of potentially irreparable damage.

But even with sufficient attention and maintenance, you’ll eventually need to upgrade your electric panel to a newer (and better) system.

Is It Time for an Upgrade?

Electric panels must be replaced every 30-40 years. So, if you’ve been living in the same house that long and you haven’t replaced the panel once, it means you’re due for an upgrade.

It’s also important to be aware of other signs that let you know when your current system needs updating. Here’s what to think about when upgrading your electrical panel:

1 – Faulty Wiring

Safety is of foremost importance when handling the electrical system.

The most common cause of fires in North American homes is faulty wiring. The older your wiring is, the more likely it’ll produce a faulty connection. Regular electrical panel inspections prevent this from happening.

You have an issue with the wiring on your electrical system if you notice any of the following:

  • Burning smell
  • Minor electrical shocks when touching an appliance
  • Flickering lights
  • Sparks on the power outlet
  • Burnt or scorch marks on the power outlet
  • Warm temperature around or on the surface of the electrical panel

2 – New Appliance(s)

Consider upgrading the electrical panel if you’re bringing in new appliances, especially if it’s an energy guzzler like a central AC unit or heater.

An old electrical panel is ill-equipped to handle modern appliances.

Suppose you install a new AC without minding the electrical panel; you’ll notice that the circuit breakers constantly trip. It’s a telltale sign that the panel is no longer capable of handling the added load.

If a home improvement or renovation project requires additional electrical power, then the current electrical circuit may not be enough, forcing you to upgrade the panel.

3 – Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers are the modern counterpart of the standard electrical fuse.

Both break a circuit when currents increase to a certain point, thereby providing an indispensable safety feature within a building or home’s electrical system.

The difference is that the fuse is meant for one-time use – it works by melting as soon as the current exceeds what it can handle.

Out of all the methods for power restoration, replacing a fuse is the most difficult because it requires additional effort and can lead to fires. It’s the reason why builders no longer use fuse boxes in modern homes.

The fact that you’re still using a fuse box means that your home is certainly due for an upgrade.

You must realize that most home insurance companies use old fuse boxes as a valid reason not to cover your home in case of a fire.

4 – Limited Number of Sockets

Outdated electrical panels aren’t built and designed for modern devices and gadgets, i.e., computers and smartphones.

These things demand a lot more electricity, something that the electrical panel manufacturer couldn’t have anticipated two decades back.

You know that an electric panel upgrade is in order when you run out of wall sockets at home. That’s when you rely heavily on extension cords and power strips to accommodate all your devices.

Although it is convenient, using extension cords is always a safety risk. The solution is to upgrade to a modern electrical panel.

Investment for the Future

You think about what lies ahead every single time you throw your money on a home improvement project. Well, upgrading your electrical panel is no exception.

It’s one way of “future proofing” your home, especially when a renovation or remodelling project involves rewiring. The same holds true if you plan to sell your property. A recent upgrade to the electrical system is music to the ears of prospective buyers.

Upgrading the electrical panel is a pricey endeavour, but it’s something that homes require at some point.

It’s economically sensible to upgrade an electric panel when you think about the risks of getting denied a claim by your homeowner’s insurance company, not to mention the safety concerns.

Should You Be Doing It Yourself?

You can, but you shouldn’t.

It’s normal for homeowners to consider a DIY approach since labour comprises more than half of the expense in upgrading an electrical panel.

Nonetheless, you have no choice but to hire a professional if your state considers a DIY project illegal.

There’s a reason why it’s illegal – the job is awfully dangerous for anyone with no education or training in electrical wiring.

So, you’re doing yourself a huge favour by hiring an expert.

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