As we become more reliant on technology, we require more energy than ever before. A home’s electrical panel, also known as a breaker panel, is the essential hub of electrical activity in your home. Electrical panels connect the main power line to your home through a series of circuits and fuses or circuit breakers, which control and distribute electricity throughout your house to power appliances.
However, as with most parts of your home, your electrical panel will become unsafe and ineffective with age. At some point, you’ll have to upgrade your panel to a more modern and advanced system to keep up with your energy demands.
What Is an Electrical Panel Upgrade?
7 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Electrical Panel
Faulty wiring and tripping circuit breakers pose a substantial danger to homeowners and are some of the leading causes of residential fires. If you observe any of the following signs, upgrading your house’s electrical panel may be best.
1. Flickering Lights
2. Burning Smell
3. Electric Shocks
4. Warmth From Panel or Outlets
5. Strange Sounds
If your electrical panel is over 25 years old, it could be at higher risk of power surges or succumb to wear and tear or a manufacturer defect. These issues are also more likely to arise in older homes, as wiring insulation and other materials will degrade with time and become obsolete. Many older homes use fuses, which are single-use and can present a fire risk, whereas newer homes use circuit breakers that are far more safe and efficient.
To ensure that your home meets modern safety codes, an electrician can inspect your panel for any issues. We recommend regular inspections for your electrical panel every two to three years. If your panel has also received any direct damage, this can increase your risk of electrical problems.
Rust is another sign of internal damage to the panel. Any rust on the panel indicates water damage, which is a serious concern for your home’s electrical system. You will need to replace a rusted panel, and you must determine the cause and source of the water damage to protect your new electrical panel from the same issue.
Types of Electrical Panel Upgrades
If you’re wondering how to update your electrical panel, you can choose from several options to optimize your home’s electrical performance.
- Circuit breaker replacement: Replacing your circuit breaker can help your home handle a greater electrical load and keep your panel safely updated.
- Panel upgrades: Older homes can face many electrical issues as they use more electrical appliances. Upgrading your panel will ensure it has enough capacity to handle new appliances and prevent an overload when you run new electronics.
- Additional circuit installation: Circuit installation and upgrades can help improve your electrical panel’s functionality and efficiency and reduce the chance of a tripped circuit breaker.
- Panel relocation: If you are remodeling your home or your existing panel is in an area susceptible to water damage, relocating your panel is an excellent opportunity to bring it up to code.
- Busbar replacement: Your panel’s busbar is a metallic strip or bar that collects electric power. Replacing your busbar will increase your panel’s power distribution and improve your home’s overall electricity system.
- Rewiring: Updating your wiring and rewiring your electrical panel can enhance your home’s safety and your electrical system’s reliability. Rewiring your panel can reduce your risk of electric shocks, tripped breakers and residential fires.
How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade an Electrical Panel?
The cost to upgrade an electrical panel can be anywhere from $800 to $4,000, but the total cost will depend on the type of home, the number of circuits and the amperage level. On average, sub-panel installation costs range from $500 to $1,000, whereas upgrading a 200-amp service panel can be more expensive. The cost to upgrade an electrical panel to 200 amps is $1,300 to $1,600 or between $1,800 or $2,500 for a new service panel.
The price to replace a fuse box with a breaker panel is $1,100 to $4,000, depending upon the capacity the new breaker can handle. In addition, it can cost between $800 to $2,000 to move an electrical panel and around $40 to $100 to replace the main circuit breaker panel.
When it comes to your safety, upgrading your house’s electrical panel is worth it. Dream Team PA guarantees affordable and reliable electrical services and eliminates the expenses of multiple contractors.