If you find yourself making that frustrating trip to the circuit breaker often enough to remember, there’s a good chance your electrical panel is overworking itself. An outdated electrical panel is a hassle no homeowner should have to put with. It’s not just an issue of faulty outlets and tripping over extension cords. An outdated electrical panel is a serious fire hazard.
What’s Wrong with Your Outdated Electrical Panel?
It’s outdated for one, and that can cause a lot of problems, especially for any home improvement projects. An electrical panel’s job is to determine how much electricity is distributed to all appliances, lights, and outlets in your home. If your electrical panel is outdated, not only is it unfit to meet your electrical needs, it puts you and your home at risk. An up-to-date electrical panel has a circuit breaker, which trips or turns off when the wiring is overworked; this prevents your electrical system from overheating and starting a fire. An outdated electrical panel isn’t only a fire hazard; it’s harmful for the following reasons.
- An outdated panel is an insurer’s nightmare. Some house insurance companies won’t even cover a home with an outdated electrical system. It’s important to make sure your home fits all the requirements, so if something happens, you’re covered.
- Good luck selling your house. All homes have to pass inspection before they can be sold. It’s not just a matter of passing inspection though. Homeowners are smart, and they only want a house that is safe and reliable.
- A faulty electrical system is a money pit. Any home repair is going to get expensive, especially if you can’t pinpoint what’s causing the problem. Utility bills can already get costly, there’s no need to add to the bills with an outdated electrical panel.
Here’s What to Look For
The electrical panel in your house can only decide how much electricity it can send through your house if you end up replacing or updating the panel, but you’re still experiencing problems, there might be an issue with your home’s electrical wiring. Fixing the wiring in your home is not as straightforward as replacing an electrical panel, but before you start diagnosing the problem. Here are a few things to consider:
- How old is your house? If your house is at least 30 years old, it’s likely that there’s a faulty, outdated electrical system installed. Homes built 30 years and up ago, simply weren’t built to meet today’s electrical demands.
- Is there a lack of outlets? Sometimes you need an extension cord, but that doesn’t mean it should get to the point that you’re tripping over them. A scarce amount of outlets is generally a sign of an outdated electrical system, especially if the only outlets available are two-prong outlets.
- What type of electrical panel do you have? Some electrical panels are guaranteed at this point to be unsafe. If you have a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panel, a Zinsco panel, a split-bus electrical panel, or a fuse box, then you need to get your electrical panel replaced. Usually, all electrical panels will have the company name somewhere on the panel. To tell if you have a split-bus electrical panel, open your panel and see if the breakers are divided into two groups. If they are, then you have a split-bus electrical panel.
What Are The Warning Signs of An Outdated Electrical Panel?
If your house has some history, then it’s a good idea to start watching for the warning signs. If you suspect there’s something wrong with your electrical system, contact an electrical immediately. Don’t wait until you smell smoke. The problem is what exactly are the warning signs of an outdated electrical panel? The good news is that a home with an outdated electrical system is hard to miss. Here’s what to look for.
- Dimming or flickering lights. If the lights in your home dim or flicker, especially when you’re using another appliance, it’s time to replace your electrical panel.
- Circuit breaker trips frequently. It happens to all of us, tripping the circuit breaker. An updated electrical panel shouldn’t trip really more than maybe a couple times a year, not even. If the circuit breakers trip enough that you remember those frustrating trips to the basement, call an electrician.
- New major appliances. A new washing machine, air conditioner, or refrigerator is going to overwhelm an outdated electrical panel. If you plan on purchasing a new major appliance, check your electrical system first.
- Appliances aren’t up to snuff. If an appliance isn’t working like it should, it might not be the appliance, but how much electricity is directed into the outlet. Outlets that are discolored or charred are another key indicator of an outdated electrical system.
It’s Time for an Upgrade
If your home needs an electrical upgrade, it can be as simple as replacing a few circuit breakers or replacing the entire electrical panel. It’s best to contact an electrical technician as the wiring in your home is a complicated mess, and a professional knows what to look for. They can inspect your home and provide the best suggestions on how to upgrade your electrical system.
All homeowners deserve to rest easy without the worry of a spontaneous electrical fire. Don’t hesitate and call Beacon Home Services today at (703) 343-9884 for electrical panel installation or upgrade!