Every home has at least one electrical panel or breaker box, as they were once known. It is where the electricity comes into your house and is distributed to the different rooms and areas on what is known as circuits. Using the circuit breakers in the panel, you can turn off the power to certain parts of your home or specific large appliances like your air conditioner or furnace. The circuit breakers also add a layer of safety by tripping when there is an issue with the incoming power like a spike or surge.
But just like every item in your home, your electrical panel can wear out or become outdated. And when this happens, there is an increased risk of electrical damage to your home’s electronics and appliances. But even more concerning is the increased potential for an electrical fire or electrical shock hazard when using your home’s outlets. So it is vital to know the signs of an electrical panel that needs to be upgraded.
A Dead Give Away
If your home is still using a fuse box rather than an electrical panel with breakers, you need to schedule an upgrade as soon as possible. Fuse boxes have not been used since the late 60s and are not designed to meet a modern home’s electrical needs. As we mentioned, a breaker will trip and open the circuit to stop the flow of a power surge or an electrical spike. But a fuse simply melts or blows when there are abnormal fluctuations in power being supplied to your home. This method of stopping the flow of electricity represents an increased potential for an electrical fire in your home. It is also more challenging to correct the problem because the fuse must be replaced instead of simply resetting a breaker.
The Age Of Your Home
Your home’s age will dictate the size of the electrical panel in your home. Most older homes were built with 60-amp service. But today’s houses have 100 or 200-amp service to meet the needs of larger appliances and the increased number of electronics. Also, the wiring in those homes was only designed to accommodate the 60-amp service. So it is very likely that you are overloading both your electrical panel and your home’s wiring. Both of these issues increase the potential for electrical fires and damage to your home’s appliances and electronics.
You Need More Outlets
This issue goes hand in hand with the age of your home. A few decades ago, there were no electronics and far fewer appliances in the average home. And that resulted in fewer outlets than you would expect to find in a newer home. Your solution might be using a variety of extension cords and power strips to keep everything working. But those are also increasing the chances of an overloaded circuit, damage to your home’s electrical components, and an electrical fire. Upgrading your electrical panel and adding outlets to a larger circuit is the only safe solution to having too few outlets.
Signs From Your Home
If you notice your lights flicker regularly or dim when an appliance is turned on, then you should be seeking a price quote for an electrical panel upgrade. These are signs that you do not have sufficient electrical capacity to operate everything in your home correctly. Other indications include singed outlets, frequently tripped breakers, sparks when you insert a plug into an outlet, and a burnt odor around outlets. For more information about upgrading your home’s electrical panel, call (703) 463-9866 to schedule an appointment with the pros at Circuit Doctors.