The electrical panel is considered the nucleus of your home’s electrical system as it is the distribution point of power from the primary source to every other electrical component in your house or building. The importance of having a high-capacity, well –functioning electrical panel cannot be overemphasized.
How do you know when your panel needs to be upgraded or replaced?
There are a number of reasons that spur you towards replacing or upgrading your electrical panel. Read on to find them.
1) Obsolete Electrical Panels
Old panels mostly have a 60-amp electrical service compared to the higher capacity of newer models which have 150 to 200 amps. This limits the amount of load they can carry and are not suitable for modern homes which often have higher electrical demands.
2) Faulty Wiring
Generally speaking, the older a home’s wiring is, the higher the likelihood of it being faulty. Faulty wiring is perhaps the most notorious culprit in electricity-related fire outbreaks in American homes. Exposure of the panel to moisture (from water leaks) can cause corrosion or rust on the wiring and would require the panel to be replaced as well.
3) Having low-powered Panels
There is a maximum power rating for every electrical panel which determines the space available for breakers. Old electrical panels offered only 60 amps of power and had limited space for additional circuits. 200 amps is the recommended amp power for modern homes, thus upgrading an underpowered panel is a priority.
4) Flawed Manufacturing
Some electrical panels leave the factory with defects that may not be so obvious immediately. These flawed panels usually have problems which include breakers often falling out of place or refusing to trip, and substandard designs leading to improper installation. A panel replacement is needed in cases like this.
5) Installing New Appliances
If you intend to add a new appliance with high energy requirements (e.g. an air conditioner or a water heater), it is imperative that you upgrade your electrical panel to provide enough power for the addition and to prevent your circuit breakers from tripping constantly.
What are the advantages of upgrading your electrical panel?
Upgrading your electrical panel allows you to use more power without having to worry about possible fire outbreaks from wires overheating. As a rule of thumb, an electrical circuit should not sustain loads greater than 80% of its maximum capacity.
- More Circuits
Even if your current electrical system has adequate capacity to address your home’s needs, the individual circuits are oftentimes limited. Having additional circuits enables you to run more gadgets on the same electrical capacity without overloading any circuits.
- Room to Grow
Upgrading your electrical panel gives you a great starting point to embark on that major house upgrade – such as having a bar or home theatre in the basement – without having to worry too much about cost implications of the added energy requirements.
If you find yourself in a situation where your home’s electricity needs just aren’t been met like before, contact an electrician at Elcon Electric. Your safety and satisfaction is our number one priority!