Is your house keeping up with the times? With the average life span of a home now greater than 35 years and technology's rapid rate of progression, the answer is likely no. Today's gadgets and appliances easily overload electrical systems in many of today's older homes, causing issues that could easily be prevented with an upgraded electrical panel.
What is an electrical panel?
Your electrical panel helps provide electricity to the much-loved and well-used gadgets and appliances throughout your home. Power from your utility company flows into your home through this panel, where it branches out into major electrical branches, dwindling into smaller branches in order to distribute power. A properly functioning electrical panel is essential to the safety of your family and your home.
Where is the electrical panel in my home?
Electrical panels can be identified as a painted or gray metal box. They are typically mounted on the wall of your home in an easily accessible area such as a utility room, laundry room, garage, basement, or closet. However if you can't find the electrical panel inside your home, it may be located outside.
Old Electrical Panels Can Result in a Myriad of Problems, Including:
- Flickering lights
- Breakers that constantly trip or fuses that frequently blow
- The need to turn off one appliance to use another
- Melted electrical wires
- Defective circuit breakers that fail to trip, resulting in shocks, overheating, and fire
- In short, old electrical panels result in danger to your family and property resulting from fire and electrical shock
Is your home showing signs it is in need of a new electrical panel?
- Crackling sounds from your panel box
- Corrosion or rust on the breakers or panel
- Overheating electrical service conductors
- Appliances running at less than full power
- Two pronged (non-grounded) outlets
- Your home is not equipped with GFCIs (ground fault circuit interrupters) in necessary areas
- You find yourself frequently seeking extension cords
- You need surge arrestors to protect the appliances in your home
- Your home was built with, and still runs on, a 60 amp electrical service.
- Your home uses a fuse block panel or split-buss panel (electrical panel with no main breaker)
- The 100 amp electrical service in your home is insufficient for operating necessary appliances
Other Reasons You Should Consider an Electrical Panel Upgrade:
- The renovation of your home, particularly the kitchen, which is appliance-heavy
- You are adding a home addition
- The addition of a major appliance, such as central heating and air, stoves, spas, garage power equipment, and more
- You need/are adding outlets to your home
- To meet homeowners insurance requirements
- You're in need of a 240-volt circuit
- You need to add a sub panel
Just because you're not living in a turn-of-the-century home doesn't mean your panel is safe...
Today's new electrical panels are well-designed and safe, however homes with panels installed as recently as the 1980s may contain components now known to have deteriorated, becoming unsafe with age and posing safety issues. If your home uses any of these components, have a new electrical panel installed immediately:
- Federal Pacific Electric electrical panel
Made from the 1950s to 1980s, these panels have design and manufacturing flaws that can result in fire or shocks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the presence of this panel in a home is classified as a safety defect warranting a new electrical panel.
- Zinsco electrical panel
Not manufactured since the mid-1970s, these panels have design flaws that allow power to flow even when the breakers appear off. Breakers may also melt preventing them from their essential function. Zinsco panels pose a fire and shock hazard and should be replaced with a new electrical panel.
- Pushmatic electrical panel
These panels house weak breakers that become difficult to reset over time, necessitating a new electrical panel. They also have no main breaker to stop flow into the panel.
- Fuse box
Far older than any of the above panel types, fuse boxes are only designed to handle 30-60 amps of power, however today's appliances require 100-200 amps of power or more. Not simply inconvenient, their well-outdated technology poses a huge fire and electrocution safety risk.
Contact Mr. Electric® today for an electrical inspection of your older home. Our professionals can help you prevent electrical emergencies, protecting your family and property, by determining the need for an electrical upgrade for your panel in your home.