Monthly Maintenance Reminder: Electrical Panel Upgrade

Monthly Maintenance Reminder: Electrical Panel Upgrade

Electrical
By Dikran Seferian September 01, 2022

With all of the home renovations that people do yearly, one maintenance project that most homeowners do not want to tackle is electrical issues — and for good reason. Electricity is all around us; it powers our homes, our computers, and even our water heaters to bring us hot showers and baths. But we all know just how lethal this force can be if mishandled. As such, any sort of renovation project that involves electrical work — such as an electrical panel upgrade — warrants a professional.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should shy away from electrical maintenance tasks altogether. It goes without saying that keeping your home’s electrical system in good working order is essential for many reasons. This often involves making sure the panel box and wiring system are in line with your everyday needs. And that is where an electrical contractor comes in. 

Why You Should Upgrade Your Home’s Electrical Panel

Just because your electrical panel is out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of mind. Seldom do homeowners think about their home’s panel box — until the breaker trips when you turn on the microwave when someone else has the hairdryer on. And when the time comes to replace the panel, the cost often raises eyebrows. But it is undeniably worth every penny, more so if you upgrade the component before you’re faced with a bigger issue. 

Safer Home

With nearly 51,000 cases reported each year, electrical fires are among the most common causes of house fires. Outdated panel boxes tend to increase the risk of a fire by a significant margin. As such, having it replaced with one that’s up to standards will ensure the safety of your home. 

Capacity for More Outlets and Circuits

Electrical work is anything but a piece of cake, and the costs involved are often on the higher end of the spectrum. However, upgrading the electrical panel will also give you the opportunity to place more power outlets throughout your living spaces. The additional outlets will provide substantial power to different rooms and household appliances. Having it all done at the same time will allow you to cut costs since it is more practical for the electricians to go about the project simultaneously. 

Upgrading the electrical panel allows you to add more power outlets throughout your home.

Upgrading the electrical panel allows you to add more power outlets throughout your home.

Energy Efficiency

Mainly thanks to advancements in efficiency, the amount of electricity needed to operate appliances changed a lot over the past decades. Upgrading your panel box and wiring system of your home allows for the appliances and power outlets to get the proper amount of electric current. This not only limits the strain on appliances but also reduces your energy bills, making it a win-win situation.

Signs It Is Time to Upgrade the Panel Box

Your Electrical System Consists of Fuses

While fuses were typical components in electrical panels for a long period of time, they are no longer the standard today. And besides being outdated, they also pose a safety hazard. The electric current leading to the panel box doesn’t always get shut off every time a fuse blows. This can be a fire risk, especially in the case of older homes. If your panel box still features fuses, you may want to upgrade it to one that uses breakers. 

There Is a Burning Smell from the Panel

A strong burning smell coming from the panel is one electrical issue you can’t take lightly. In most cases, a burning smell indicates a faulty circuit or connection. If your electrical panel is also emitting heat, your home might be at serious risk of an electrical fire. As such, you will want to call a professional electrician at once. 

A panel box that’s burnt or emitting a burning smell is a serious cause for concern.

A panel box that’s burnt or emitting a burning smell is a serious cause for concern.

You Notice Flickering Lights

Do the lights in your home seem to be flickering? Is the issue becoming worse over time? These are typical signs of a faulty electrical panel. Flickering lights are often the result of electrical connections starting to loosen up. While other possible causes can include damaged wires, your first course of action should be to inspect your electrical panel — and upgrade it if necessary. It also doesn’t hurt to conduct a full electrical inspection of your home just to be on the safe side. 

The Breakers Are Tripping Often

If the circuit breakers are tripping more often than usual and you’re constantly having to reset them, it may be time for an electrical panel upgrades. This normally happens when one part of your home draws too much electricity at the same time. While the issue most likely involves just one or two breakers, it’s often best to replace the panel box altogether if possible. 

If you find yourself constantly flipping the circuit breakers, you may want to consider upgrading the panel.

If you find yourself constantly flipping the circuit breakers, you may want to consider upgrading the panel.

Your Home Is Older Than 20 Years

Another cause to upgrade the electrical panel is if your home is more than two decades old and you’ve always been using the same panel. Homes that are older than 20 years normally consist of 60 to 100-amp electrical panels. Modern varieties of these electrical components, on the other hand, run at 200 amps because of the power requirements of newer appliances. 

How Much Does It Cost to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?

The cost of upgrading your panel box ranges between $850 and $2,500 on average. The exact price essentially depends on the amp requirements of your home, and whether you’re replacing the panel you have or installing a new one.

Most households are known to consume between 100 and 200 amps. Older homes containing a minimal number of outlets and appliances might not use more than 30 or 40 amps. A modern home with a state-of-the-art electrical system, on the other hand, might be using up to 400 amps.

In the case of an average 200-amp home, you can expect to pay around $1,450 for a panel upgrade. Replacing an electrical panel to have more outlets in a larger home may cost up to $2,000. Upgrading panels in older homes may set you back even more considering the entire electrical system might require a great deal of work.

While the cost of a panel upgrade might not be cheap, it’s still less than the cost of repairing damages caused by an electrical fire. Having said that, the peace of mind that you get by replacing the panel ahead of time is worth every dollar. 

With all the modern appliances we use today, having a panel that’s up to standards is a must.

With all the modern appliances we use today, having a panel that’s up to standards is a must.

Why You Should Hire an Electrical Contractor for the Job

Guarantee of Safety

It goes without saying that electrical work can be quite dangerous. You’ve probably heard of people who have been seriously injured due to improper — or downright reckless — handling of electricity. Licensed electrical contractors undergo special training to work with high-voltage electricity. As such, they have the skills and experience required to carry out an electrical panel replacement as well as other repairs in the safest way possible.  

Specialized Tools and Equipment

Besides the training and expertise to conduct electrical work, professional electricians also have access to the tools and equipment that allow them to carry out their job more efficiently. Moreover, specialized contractors know their way around their gear. And if you plan on handling the project yourself — which you definitely should not — you’ll be spending a lot more on the right tools than you would have if you recruited an electrician.

Professional electricians are equipped with all the right tools they need for repairs and installations.

Professional electricians are equipped with all the right tools they need for repairs and installations.

Insurance Coverage

As rare as it may be, there’s always the possibility of an accident happening when an electrical contractor is carrying out a repair or a panel upgrade. That being said, their insurance coverage will lift the liability off your shoulders. If you sustain an injury while trying to handle the electrical work yourself, however, you may face issues with your insurance — unless you happen to be a licensed electrician. Ultimately, it’s always a smart idea to reach out to a professional with the credentials and coverage required to conduct electrical work. 

Warranty of Workmanship

It’s not uncommon for even the simplest electrical work to need correction or a complete redo. This can be especially inconvenient if you handled the job yourself or hired an inexperienced amateur; you may likely end up having to spend more money on additional components. To save yourself the frustration, your best bet is to hire a professional. They normally offer a workmanship warranty, meaning that they’ll correct any mistakes they may have made for free or at a minimal cost.

DS

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian

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