The electrical demands in an average home have never been greater. Now, you have high-powered air conditioners and furnaces, large water heaters, tricked-out refrigerators, space heaters, computers, and more all putting a lot of demand on your system. How can you tell if you need an electrical panel upgrade? Here are five signs to look out for in your home or building.
The Building Is Older, Yet Has Never Had An Upgrade
An electrical panel is your connection to the main power line; it distributes electrical currents to the circuits throughout the building. Inside, breakers prevent the circuits from being overwhelmed by the various appliances and systems making demands on the electrical current.
In the early days of electrical appliances, a home could get all the power you needed in a 60-amp electrical panel. Some older models are also known as split bus panels, and they can have up to six main breakers: one for the individual circuits in the building and others for major appliances. Unfortunately, unlike contemporary panels, these have no single disconnect to turn off all the power.
These days, you’ll need a 100 or even 200-amp panel to use modern electronics and appliances! If your devices aren’t performing up to the expected standard or your lights flicker when you turn on multiple devices, the building probably has a panel that isn’t big enough for all your needs.
Your Panel Doesn’t Have Circuit Breakers
If you’re still on a fused-base system, you should call J.D. Patrick for an upgrade as soon as possible. Fuses can perform a similar function to circuit breakers, but they won’t trip if they become overloaded; instead, they’ll melt, short-circuit or blow, after which you must replace them.
Should they do any of the preceding, they can pose a small (but very real) fire risk. It’s best to upgrade to a panel with circuit breakers.
The Breakers Keep Tripping
Circuits will trip when too much electricity overloads them. It’s a safety measure that makes your home less susceptible to fires. However, if you find yourself constantly venturing into your basement to reset the circuit breaker, it’s a good sign that your panel isn’t up to the job for your current needs. An expert upgrade could solve the problem.
There’s Evidence Of Overheating
When your breakers or outlets feel warm, have scorch marks, or emit a burning odour, it’s probably time to upgrade your panel. All of these are signs of overheating, which could lead to an electrical fire. A professional inspection will be required to determine the extent and severity of the damage.
You’re Making A Major Appliance Upgrade
New appliances can require more energy than your panel is ready to give. When replacing older fridges, HVAC systems, stoves, laundry machines, and dishwashers, it might be necessary to make a panel upgrade. If you’re bringing in energy-intensive items like a hot tub, you should upgrade your electrical panel before hooking them up. A certified J.D. Patrick electrician will ensure you have the power you need for all your new appliances and devices to function safely!