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Is Your Electrical Panel Ready for an Upgrade?

Is Your Electrical Panel Ready for an Upgrade?


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?

An electrical panel upgrade is when you update your existing panel’s breaker box to one with new electrical circuit breakers. Circuit breakers are automatically operated switches that prevent electrical fires by creating gaps in the flow of the electrical current and provide a significant safety feature for your home. Compared to past generations, your electrical system may require more energy to power all of your appliances and devices.
If you have circuits that frequently overload or your home’s breakers are outdated, your electrical panel is probably not enough to keep up with the sufficient electrical load. A malfunctioning electrical panel can put your entire house’s system at risk. An electrical panel upgrade can eliminate tripped circuit breakers, increase your home’s safety and help you avoid high energy bills for inefficient electricity usage.

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

If your lights dim or flicker when you plug something in, it can indicate that you’re putting too much stress on your home’s electrical system. Flickering lights mean that your electrical panel cannot handle the power draw you require, which can have dangerous outcomes. Outlets and light switches that fail to work may also be signs of an electrical panel in need of an upgrade.

2. Burning Smell

Smelling something burning is cause for immediate concern as it can mean a wiring or overloading problem. A burnt or burning smell around your electrical panel may be due to the plastic of an electrical wire melting the wood or insulation of your walls. Melting or burning wires may result in severe house fires and substantial damage to your property as well as your neighbors’.

3. Electric Shocks

Static shocks are a regular occurrence when crossing carpet, especially in the winter. However, experiencing small electric shocks or tingles when you touch appliances or outlets is a significant sign of faulty wiring, a ground fault or too many appliances overloading your electrical system. If you experience electric shocks around electrical outlets or your panel, you should contact an electrician about repair or replacement.

4. Warmth From Panel or Outlets

If your electrical panel or outlets are hot to the touch or have traces of scorch marks, there may be a serious problem with your panel that requires immediate replacement. One of the critical functions of your electrical panel is its ability to regulate the temperature of your electrical system. Overheating may trigger circuit breakers to trip, putting your home at risk of an electrical fire.

5. Strange Sounds

Electrical panels operate silently, so if you hear any buzzing or hissing coming from your panel, something is wrong. These sounds are a critical indicator of a bad wire, a loose electrical connection or damaged circuit breakers, which can cause greater damage to your electrical panel. To remedy the problem, you must replace the affected wiring and the panel.

6. Age

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.

7. Rust

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.
When you need to update your electrical panel, contact a licensed electrician to avoid accidents and injury.

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.

Call Dream Team to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel!

At the first sign of trouble, it’s best to contact a professional to modernize your home and keep your panel easy and safe to maintain. You can count on Dream Team PA for efficient panel replacement or installation throughout Delaware Valley. Our expert, licensed electricians are devoted to providing an excellent experience, and with our convenient same-day electrical service, you can get back to life as normal sooner.
Contact Dream Team PA today to schedule your electrical panel upgrade!
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