What You Should Know About Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

Your electrical panel is a box that provides electricity to different areas of your home. Every time you turn on a light switch, plug in your cell phone to be charged, or turn on an appliance, the electricity is coming from a fuse in the electrical panel. If you have an older home, there may come a time when it is time for an upgrade. Here is more information about panel upgrades and tips on deciding when it is a good time to do them.

Outdated Electrical Panels Cause Issues

One of the first things you should know is that if you forgo the upgrade, you might start experience a variety of issues. Old electrical panels can start with small problems like causing your lights to flicker, but you might eventually end up with larger problems, such as melted electrical wires. If you fail to upgrade it, you also risk breakers or fuses that blow, not being able to plug in multiple appliances at one time, shocks or overheating of circuit breakers, and possibly even the risk of an electrical fire or electric shock.

There Are Many Advantages to Upgrading the Electrical Panel

Aside from the aforementioned risks, there are many other benefits to upgrading the electrical panel. One good reason is if you currently use high-definition televisions or computers in your home. These devices tend to use up more power, so you may experience more power outages or blown fuses when you are using them frequently. With advancements in technology, upgrading your electrical panel can be very beneficial.

It can also be cost-effective and seen as an investment. If the old electrical panel causes damage from a fire or melted wires, it could cost more to repair your home and install a new electrical system than it would have cost to upgrade the panel. In addition, since you are improving your home and making it more modern, you might also be raising its resale value if you ever decide to sell your home.

New Panels Can be Costly

The biggest drawback to upgrading your electrical panel is that there are multiple costs involved. While this can be seen as an investment, you should still be aware of the approximate costs. This begins with the material and labor costs for an electrician to come out and replace your old panel with a new one. It should be done the same day, with labor costs usually being charged by the hour. If new electrical wiring or grounding work needs to be done, expect to pay a little more. You may also want to get re-wiring of certain lighting components or appliances in your home, which will also add to the overall cost.

Signs That You Need a New Electrical Panel

Lastly, pay attention to your home's electrical system as it can tell you when it is time for an upgrade. Some common signs that you need a new electrical panel include:

  • Frequent blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers
  • Sparks coming from electrical outlets
  • Having to unplug appliances to plug in other ones
  • Two-pronged outlets
  • Constantly in need of extension cords
  • Crackling sounds from the panel

Consult an electrician to discuss upgrading the panel and having an inspection to determine how much it will cost.