Electrical Panel Upgrade Basics
YOUR RESIDENTIAL ELECTRIC PANEL EXPLAINED
Routine checks on your electric panel is imperative according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Signs of rust or burn marks reveal hidden deterioration. This is why it is important to regularly check and maintain electric panels, regardless of any perceived damage. In some instances, it may be prudent to upgrade to a more advanced electric panel.
Here are some guidelines for discerning when it’s best to replace your electric panel and how to do it safely.
REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR ELECTRIC PANEL
Electric panels that are 25-40 years old, usually need to be upgraded. There are some important indications to look for when your system is becoming out of date.
FAULTY OR OUTDATED WIRING
One of the top causes of house fires is faulty wiring. Older wiring is more likely to be damaged, but having your panel inspected regularly by an experienced electrician who will diagnose any issues that arise, keeping safety first.
If you notice any of the following, occurring in your home, it is likely caused by faulty wiring:
- Miniature electric shocks when touching appliances
- Flickering lights
- Burn marks or sparking from electric outlets
- A burning smell
- Heat around the electric panel
INSTALLING NEW APPLIANCES? IT’S TIME TO UPGRADE YOUR ELECTRICAL PANEL
The biggest reason for upgrading electric panels is solely to keep up with the requirements for newer appliances. When planning to add a new major appliance, like a hot tub or air conditioner, an older electric panel may not be sufficient. If this is the case, you will encounter tripping circuit breakers. Also, if you intend to do some remodeling, such as adding or extending square footage and increasing your electrical needs, an older panel may not suffice.
USE OF POWER STRIPS AND SURGE SUPPRESSORS
Older electric panels and fuse boxes were not designed to meet today’s electrical needs. Older homes will usually have fewer electric outlets per room. There is just a greater demand for electricity because we use electronics more than ever before. All our mobile devices need frequent charging, we have multiple televisions, appliances and even furniture that uses electricity.
Using power strips and extension cords in your home, is a good indication that you are using more electricity than your electric system was designed for. If so, then it may be time to upgrade.
FUTURE PROOFING – UPGRADE MAKES SENSE
Preparation for the future is also a great reason to upgrade your electric panel. Ultimately, electric panels need to be replaced at least once each generation. If you are intending to do any rewiring or remodeling, it would be wise to include an electric panel upgrade.
WHAT IS THIS GOING TO RUN ME $$$?
If you are hiring professionals to do some remodeling, and you plan to upgrade your panel, doing so at the same time can save you money on labor. Labor is the highest cost of upgrading, typically ranging from $1,300 to $2,500. Exact prices for an upgrade will depend on the specific project.