Five signs you may need a new electrical panel - and why it matters.
Updated: Feb 28
Most of us don’t really think about the electrical panel in our house until a breaker trips and we’re stumbling over stuff in the dark to reset it. In fact, if we’ve got electricity when we turn on a light or plug in an appliance, it’s pretty easy to forget all about it, unless you happen to be an electrician.
But just because it’s hidden away in the basement or the corner of your garage doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be paying attention to it, especially if it's nearing the end of its lifetime.
The reality is that if your electrical panel is too old, it may malfunction and leave your house susceptible to everything from burnt outlets, melted wiring, and damage to electronics, to serious catastrophes like electrocution and house fires.
How do you know if your electrical panel is too old?
You live in an older home. Yes, older homes have more character than new ones. But they were also built for smaller electrical loads than we use now. Your panel may not be covering your home’s current usage very well, or the wires may have worn down and corroded over time, making them susceptible to shorting.
Your circuit breakers keep tripping. It’s not normal for your breakers to trip all the time. If you’re suddenly resetting them more than just once in a blue moon, it’s likely that your home’s electrical usage has outgrown your current panel. You’ll need an electrician to come take a look.
You have fuses, not circuit breakers. If your home’s electrical hasn’t been updated since the 70s, you might still have fuses instead of modern circuit breakers. Fuses serve the same basic function as circuit breakers--breaking the circuit when it’s overloaded--but fuses are not designed to handle today’s higher electrical loads. They can melt, blow, or short-circuit instead of working properly.
You’re upgrading your home or your appliances. Many of us don’t really think about our electrical circuits when we are planning a new bathroom or updating our air conditioner. But chances are you’re adding electrical load to your house that wasn’t there before--and it’s quite possible you’ll overload your current electrical panel. Always plan on updating your electrical panel to support any changes.
Your electrical panel shows signs of a fire. This is where it gets scary. Sometimes worn wires in an electrical panel cause small electrical fires. If you see signs of melting or charring, or you smell that electrical fire smell coming from your electrical box, it’s time to call in a trusted electrician, at once.
Any of these signs sound familiar? If they do, it’s time to call in a licensed electrician and have them perform a home safety check. Electrical failures and malfunctions are the second leading cause of U.S. home fires. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
And as always, feel free to give us a call at 972-562-7724 to learn more or set up an appointment with one of our licensed electricians for one of our 33-point home safety checks.
IES Home Electrical Services is a McKinney-based electrical company dedicated to providing area homeowners with the best quality of work and unparalleled customer service, backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Proudly serving McKinney, Frisco, Prosper, Celina, Gunter, Anna, Aubrey, Bonham, Crossroads, Melissa, Sherman, Farmersville, Little Elm, Princeton, Prosper, Van Alstyne, Hackberry, and Denison.
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