Is it time to replace your electrical panel? You may not think about this vital part of your electrical system on a day to day basis, but the truth is you can’t afford to ignore it. Your electrical panel is the central hub of your entire electrical system—it is where your electric meter connects to the rest of your home’s electrical system, where that energy is broken down into the circuits that need it, and where safety-protecting circuit breakers are located. Your electrical panel plays a crucial role in keeping your home safe, your electrical system working smoothly, and your home supplied with the power it needs. Should your panel begin to falter in any way, you and your home could be in considerably more danger.
Electrical panels are designed to operate for decades, however some significant wear and tear can begin to set in after roughly 30 years or so. Is it time to replace your electrical panel? There’s a chance it might be. Here are four signs you can keep an eye out for that can help you determine if you should consider making this replacement in order to keep your home safer and your electrical system running smoothly.
Your Electrical Panel is Original & Your House is Over 30 Years Old
Under normal usage conditions, the average electrical system will last approximately 30 years before it becomes time for a full remodel. Remodel often includes replacing aged wiring, swapping out potentially dangerous hardware, and installing a newly-rewired electrical panel. Exposure to the elements, an almost constant flow of electrical current, and plenty of other factors all contribute to your electrical system slowly wearing out, much like your HVAC system or plumbing system will do.
We strongly recommend having your electrical system inspected in detail once every five years, particularly once it reaches the age of 20 years. If you don’t know whether your electrical system is original and your home is older than 30 years, our team should be able to help you figure out how old your system is and what services it may need, as well as whether or not you should consider a total panel replacement and electrical remodel service.
Your Circuit Breakers Frequently Trip
Does running your microwave, your dishwasher, and a hand mixer cause the breaker to trip in your kitchen? Does running the lights, television, and vacuum cleaner in your living room cause the power to shut off on that side of the house? This is a sign that you’re pulling too much current and overloading that particular circuit breaker. While this could be a sign that the breaker itself has worn out and needs to be replaced, it could also be a sign that it’s time to replace your panel completely. A new panel installation replaces all of your breakers with ones that can handle higher electrical loads—an important upgrade in modern times as our dependence on electricity continues to grow.
If you have just one particular room that happens to be sensitive to electrical overloading, then there’s a good chance that a simple breaker repair will resolve your problem. However, if multiple rooms in your home struggle with this same issue, then there’s a good chance you may benefit from a total panel replacement. Reach out to us and our team will help you make that decision with confidence.
Your Outlets & Switches Feel Warm to the Touch
Outlets and switches feeling warm to the touch is a sign that there is a lot of resistance in the electrical lines running to them. In isolated cases, this is a sign you need to replace that outlet or switch. However, if all or several of the outlets and switches in a particular room or on a single circuit feel warm, then there’s a chance your panel may actually be to blame. Resistance in an electrical line is what creates overheating, breaker tripping, and potentially even dangerous conditions that could spare a fire. This is why you need to regularly replace worn-out equipment and why your panel ultimately has a finite lifespan as well.
Your Panel is Made by Zinsco or Federal Pacific
Finally, one thing to look out for is an electrical panel produced by a company called either Zinsco or Federal Pacific. Both of these manufacturers produced millions of electrical panels that were installed in homes built between the 1950s and 1980s. However, a class-action lawsuit from 2002 established that these panels were prone to defects that could ultimately cause them to fail, resulting in serious danger including fires, injuries, and more. While many of these panels have been replaced, there are still millions more out there. Federal Pacific panels are found particularly in homes that still have original electrical equipment from their construction anywhere from the early 1950s through the mid-1980s. Zinsco panels were frequently used in homes built throughout the 1970s.
Do you need an electrical panel replacement? Call All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical at (909) 253-0664 to request an inspection and we’ll send one of our professional team members out to you!