Your electrical panel is perhaps the most important part of your entire electrical system. Your panel is responsible for distributing the electricity that enters your home to the various circuits that need it, in addition to ensuring that those circuits are not overloaded. Overloaded circuits can cause damage, and that’s why your electrical panel has circuit breakers that shut off to protect those circuits. While panels are built to withstand years of constant use while handling high voltages, they do eventually wear out. Likewise, with our ever-increasing reliance on electricity, our demand on our panels continues to grow seemingly with no end in sight.
All of that means that eventually you will need to replace your electrical panel with one that is better designed to handle the demands of modern-day electrical systems. How do you know when this time has come for you? Here are four common signs that perhaps it’s time you should start considering a full electrical panel replacement.
Constantly Tripping Circuit Breakers
Do you have to be extremely careful about the number of appliances you use all at once? Does running the vacuum cleaner at the same time as your air conditioner cause both of them to shut off and you to have to make an obnoxious trip to the panel to reset the circuit breaker? This could be a sign that that particular circuit isn’t built to withstand that kind of current demand, and that’s usually a sign of an outdated or inadequate electrical panel. This is particularly common in older homes that still have their original electrical panel installed.
Upgrading your panel to a more modern model will give you greater current capacity, and that means you can safely utilize more energy, thus meaning you can run multiple high-demand appliances without worrying about tripping the circuit breaker.
Flickering or Dimming Lights
While it may not be the most noticeable during the day, flickering lights can become an unavoidable annoyance during nighttime hours where you depend on that light for your comfort. Flickering lights are usually caused by fluctuating current and voltage levels, usually caused by the demand in your home going up and down as you use things. For example, if you’ve ever turned on the vacuum cleaner and noticed all of the lights in a particular area of your home get a little bit dimmer, then you very well could have this issue.
A new electrical panel or a panel rejuvenation service can generally help solve this problem by installing a more durable breaker that is capable of handling higher demand. When a breaker is capable of handling higher demand, it creates a more even and stable power feed, thus getting rid of that obnoxious flickering that you might experience during nighttime hours.
Limited Numbers of Outlets Across Your Home
Older homes simply weren’t built for the types of electrical demands we have today. Back in the era when those homes were engineered, we simply didn’t use electricity as we do now. As a result, these electrical systems are not built to provide the amount of energy that we need. As a result, you’ve probably found that a ton of your outlets have surge strips our outlet splitters attached to them to give you the ability to plug in more things. While this is fine for one or two low-demand things like cell phone chargers, continuing to plug more and more things into one outlet can be dangerous, particularly with an old panel and outdated wiring.
If you never seem to have enough outlets installed, call a professional and have your panel inspected. It’s extremely likely that your panel may be well beyond its expected lifespan and you could greatly benefit from replacing it with a new one.
Your Panel is Hot to the Touch
Does your panel feel warm to the touch? This is a sign that different components are wearing out. When components wear out, electricity can’t flow through them as smoothly, sort of like what happens when the inside of a water line becomes rough and constricted as a result of scale buildup. When this happens, electrical energy is lost in the form of heat, and heat can be dangerous if it continues building up. If any part of your electrical panel feels warm to the touch and you aren’t sure why, there’s a very good chance the reason could be worn-out or inadequate breakers and components. That means it’s time to upgrade your panel.
Need your electrical panel updated? Call All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical at (909) 253-0664 today to request a new panel installation or panel rejuvenation service estimate.