Your electrical panel is an essential part of your home. It regulates your electricity to make sure that you get the power you need, without the risk of overheating and causing a fire. At the very least, an old or malfunctioning electrical panel can be inconvenient. At the worst, it can be a safety hazard. Here are some signs that it might be time to update your electrical panel.
- Your home is built before 1960. While most modern homes need at least 200 amps of power for all of their electricity needs, older homes may has as little as 30 amps available. Older homes may also have worn out wires and parts, and outdated fuse boxes. This may mean you can’t use the electricity you need–or worse, that your worn out panel puts you at risk for an electrical fire.
- Your electrical panel is more than 25 years old. Electrical panels usually last 25-40 years. Parts naturally wear out, or become less effective over time. If you can’t remember having your breaker looked at, or if you’ve been in the same house since the 90s, it’s time to take a look at it.
- Your breakers trip often. Do some of your breakers trip when you plug in certain appliances? Does part of your power occasionally go out? Do outlets not work if you plug in one too many things? These are all signs that your panel doesn’t have enough capacity, and definitely needs an update.
- Your electrical panel smells burnt or like melted plastic. This is a dangerous sign that it’s time to update your panel for the sake of safety. Any burning signs or smells are a sure sign that something’s wrong, and that you might be in danger of a fire.
- You’ve recently added a new appliance. If you’ve recently added something new, especially something high-powered like an air conditioner or hot tub, you might need more power to accommodate it. Make sure your electrical panel is up to date to ensure that you get the most out of your new item!
- Your lights dim when you plug in something new. If your lights dim when you use the microwave or vacuum, then your electrical panel isn’t strong enough for your home. Consider updating to higher amps and newer equipment to make sure you have all the power that you need.
- You have a fuse box instead of an electrical panel. Fuse boxes, common in pre-1960 homes, are an older method of controlling your home’s electricity. Instead of tripping a breaker, fuse boxes “blow a fuse” when the panel overheats. This means having to go out and replace blown fuses instead of simply turning the breaker back on. If you have a fuse box, it’s definitely time to upgrade.
- Your panel feels warm or hot to the touch. Of the main purposes of an electrical panel is to prevent overheating, which can cause a fire. If your panel is often hot or warm, it may not be doing its job correctly, and could be putting you at risk.
- You need more outlets than you have. Do you find yourself wishing for more outlets? Do you use a lot of power strips to fit everything? This could be a sign that your electricity system wasn’t designed for what you need, which likely means the electrical panel isn’t enough.
- Your electrical panel hisses or buzzes. Strange sounds are never a good sign. Hisses or buzzes could mean a bad wire, or that something isn’t connected properly.
There’s no reason to risk losing power or not having the electricity that your home needs. There’s especially no reason to risk something as dangerous as an electrical fire. Call us at NexGen today, and we’ll take a look at your system. We’ll work with you in deciding if an update is a good option for you and your home, and to get you the power that you need.