An electrical panel is the primary distribution center of power in your home. It does this from the main power line to various circuits and outlets throughout the property. An outdated or damaged panel is a safety hazard. It can also lead to frequent power outages and electrical surges.
Additionally, outdated panels may not be able to power the increased electrical needs of your family or meet current safety standards. Here are seven signs that you may need an electrical panel replacement.
It’s More Than 25 Years Old
Electrical panel technology has come a long way in the last two decades. If yours is over 25 years old, consider a replacement. It may rely on an outdated wiring system that is more prone to malfunctions. For instance, a fuse box may not handle modern appliances’ demands or meet current safety standards. Remember, some older homes may have a panel with 60-amp circuits. It’s not enough for modern devices. Opt for at least 150-amp for optimum safety.
Flickering or Dimming Lights
If you notice the lights flickering or dimming, it could signal an overloaded circuit. You may also realize a noticeable power dip when multiple appliances run simultaneously. Lack of enough power slows some devices, causing them to run poorly or even shut off.
Tripping Breakers or Blown Fuses
If the breakers are regularly tripping, it could indicate an overloaded circuit. It could also be an issue with the electrical panel itself. Blown fuses could result from loose wiring or other faulty electrical components.
Try resetting the breaker to ascertain that the electrical panel is the cause. If it trips again, you may require a panel replacement. This is because an outdated or damaged panel needs to be fixed to handle the increased demand. If you still have fuses, replace them with breakers, as they are safer.
Melted Electrical Insulation
If you notice melted insulation on the wiring, circuit breakers, or any other electrical components, it could indicate a problem with the electrical panel. It’s particularly true if you smell an acrid burning odor or see smoke around the box. Contact an electrician immediately.
Discolored Switches or Outlets
Discolored switches and outlets could signify a more serious issue with the electrical panel. The discoloration could result from a faulty or outdated wiring system that emits too much heat. In extreme cases, sparks or smoke may come from the outlets. It could signify an impending electrical fire that requires immediate attention. Additionally, rust on the panel indicates water damage. The moisture creates an unsafe environment.
Never ignore strange noises, such as buzzing, crackling or sizzling sounds. The noise could result from loose wiring or faulty circuit breakers that need repair or replacement. Check for other signs of damage, such as a charred surface. Also, check the wiring for any fraying. It’s best to consult a professional right away for inspection and repair.
If you discover the damage in or around the panel, have a professional inspect it. You may notice scorch marks, cracks, or rust on the panel’s exterior. Also, when something hits or falls on it, book an inspection right away.
Keep Your Valuables Safe
A reliable and up-to-date electrical system keeps your family and valuables safe. Keep checking it for damage, and don’t ignore any warning signs. Consult an expert who’ll advise you on whether to repair or replace when it’s old or has issues.