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The Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel
10 Signs It May Be Time to Install a New Electrical Panel
- Age: If you live in an older home and are not sure when your electrical panel was last replaced, consider calling for an upgrade today. Not only are older electrical panels less capable of fulfilling modern electrical needs, they may also be full of unsafe design flaws. Between the 1950s and 1980s, many homes were constructed using Federal Pacific Electric and Zinsco brand panels, which were later found to cause electrical fires and even electrocutions. AAA Service Plumbing, Heating & Electric can easily assess the condition of your current panel, and if necessary, upgrade you with one designed to last for years to come.
- Lack of Power: As we mentioned above, older electrical panels may have trouble supplying adequate power to the many electrical appliances you use on daily basis. For reference, the standard for electrical panels used to be 60 amps, while the standard for modern panels is 200 amps. And between your AC unit/heating system, water heater, washer and dryer combo, not to mention any other devices that require a 240V circuit, your old panel may simply not be up to the task of keeping your home safe and operational at the same time.
- Fuse Boxes: As mentioned above, modern electrical panels almost always have a circuit breaker to help prevent your system from short circuiting. However, some older panels have what’s known as a “fuse box” instead. These systems work similarly to circuit breakers, except that you have to replace a fuse every time your system trips. Moreover, fuse boxes tend to be less sensitive to overloads as they age. That’s why upgrading from a fuser-based system to a panel with a circuit breaker is the safer, more convenient choice for your whole household.
- Fire Hazards: The more electrical connections there are in your home, the bigger the chance there are that you will cause an electrical fire. However, modern electrical panels are less likely to become overloaded due to loose connections or wiring issues. If you find that you are using a lot of electrical devices and worried that you could overload your system, consider upgrading a new electrical panel ASAP.
- Poor Electrical Flow: Modern electrical panels are better equipped to ensure a steady flow of electricity throughout your house. This means you will not have to deal with inconveniences and hazards such as flickering lights or burnt out appliances nearly as often.
- Power Surges: Frequent power surges are one of the top signs of an old, out-of-date electrical panel. While a power surge only lasts a fraction of a second, they can still cause a lot of damage to your electrical appliances. Consider protecting your appliances by replacing your current electrical panel with a modern 200 amps model
- Partial Power Outages: While blackouts are usually caused by external factors, such as extreme weather and storms or an overloaded grid, they may happen more frequently if your electrical panel is old and outdated. If you notice your home is frequently experiencing partial power outages, consider what external factors may be contributing to this, and if you can’t think of any, call an electrician to see if your panel may the root of the problem.
- Insurance Issues: Upgrading to a modern electrical panel may help reduce the amount of homeowner’s insurance you are paying, especially if you are switching from a fuse-based model to a circuit breaker panel. Talk to your insurance provider about reducing your bill with a panel replacement, and make sure to inquire about rebates and discounts you may be able to receive from your local electrical company as well. And speaking of reducing costs…
- Rising Electrical Bills: Older electrical panels simply do not function as efficiently, which means that even if there’s nothing wrong with your appliances and your habits have not changed, you may notice yourself paying more for power over time. Keep an eye on your electrical bills, and if you notice them going up steadily, consider updating your electrical panel to reduce monthly energy costs
- Desire to Move: Updating your electrical panel is an easy and efficient way to increase your property value. It’s a good idea to do this before you move, as potential home buyers are going to be more interested in a house with a safe, modern, aesthetically pleasing electrical panel.