The electrical panel is often referred to as the brain of the home’s electrical system because it is the centre of all electrical activity. It dispenses power through each of the home’s circuits and works to ensure that power is automatically shut off to any interior wires that get overloaded in order to prevent electrical fires. In many older homes, electrical systems do not get updated nearly as often as they should be. Years of use can make electrical systems unstable and a danger to your home, so old systems should be updated to meet modern standards. When an electrical system begins to age, it can become an inconvenience at best and a fire hazard at worst. For this reason, it is important to know when to update your home’s electrical panel. At Expert Electric, we always do our best to determine the course of action that is in the best interest of our clients, their families, and their homes before beginning any electrical panel upgrade.
What is an Electrical Panel?
Your home’s electrical panel is the central connection point to the municipal power grid. It divides up the electricity sent to your house from the grid to distribute it through a series of fuses or breakers that regulate how much electricity is sent through each individual circuit. The electrical panel is often called the fuse box or breaker box and it is usually located in a garage or utility room.
Why You Need to Upgrade an Electrical Panel
Electrical systems are typically products of the time during which the house was built. Many older homes are equipped to only handle a very low amount of amperage which means that, if an appliance is big enough and places too much draw on the system, the breaker or fuse that the electricity flows through will trip more easily.
A common problem with older electrical systems is that breakers will cease to trip when they are overloaded, which frequently leads to overheating and fires. Sometimes, this is due to an old breaker, but it can also be because of a loose connection within the electrical system. Faulty wiring and loose connections can also raise the risk of electrocution. For these reasons, it is best to replace the electrical system in older homes.
Benefits of Upgrading Your Electrical Panel
Over the years, people have come up with new, safer ways of supplying homes with electricity, and one of these upgraded systems is a much sounder electrical panel. Upgrading your electrical panel can help your home to be safer from overloaded circuits and electrical fires, as well as save you money, make your home more environmentally friendly, and save you time.
Do I Need to Upgrade My Electrical Panel?
Before you can know whether or not your electrical panel needs to be upgraded, it is necessary to inspect it to determine its age and function. There are many signals that can tell a homeowner when their electrical system needs replacing, but the best way to know for sure is to ask a licensed electrician for help. Ask yourself the following questions when looking at the electrical panel:
- Is the home older than 20 years?
- Does the electrical panel still use fuses instead of breaker switches?
- Does the electrical panel ever feel warm?
- Is there ever a funny smell coming from the electrical panel?
- Do the fuses or breakers in the electrical panel break or trip frequently?
- Are all of the home’s appliances running at full capacity?
- When an appliance is turned on, do the lights in the home dim or flicker?
- Are there any plans to do a renovation or addition to the home?
If the answer to any of these questions was yes, then it is very likely that the electrical panel needs to be replaced. To avoid shock or electrocution, it is vitally important to always contact a licensed electrician to conduct any changes to an electrical panel.
Updating from a Fuse Panel to a Breaker Panel
The team of licenced electricians from Expert Electric can help you switch your home from a fuse panel to a much safer breaker panel. Over the years, our electricians have swapped out hundreds of old fuse panels in order to help prevent electrical fires from occurring. During our service panel upgrade process, our team will file all the appropriate paperwork with the local city department and BC Hydro. In most cases, we can complete an electrical panel upgrade with minimal disruption to your home’s daily routine.
If you would like to learn more about when to update your home’s electrical panel, or to find out about the services that we provide at Expert Electric, please contact our knowledgeable team so that we can help get you the information you need to keep your home safe.