Serving Greater Lynchburg

When Should You Upgrade or Replace Your Electrical Panel?

When Should You Upgrade or Replace Your Electrical Panel?

Electrical Panel Upgrade

There are two common reasons homeowners choose to upgrade their home’s electrical panel. Typically, we get calls when a customer needs to add a new circuit for an appliance like a new range, hot tub, or a EV charging station. A panel upgrade is often needed when the existing circuits are unable to safely handle the additional loads.

Another common reason is the age of the panel itself. Electric panels usually need to be replaced every 25-40 years. Even if the panel has not reached this age yet there may be warning signs that it needs replacement. These signs include:

  • Flickering lights
  • Circuit breakers that keep tripping
  • A burning smell
  • Scorch marks or sparks coming from power outlets
  • Warmth around the electric panel

If you notice any of these problems, call Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. We can inspect your electrical system, track down the source of the problem, and recommend solutions to ensure the system is working safely.

Even it the panel is in good working order and is not very old, it may not be able to keep up with the demands of today’s tech-filled home. With smart devices, continual phone and laptop charging and EV charging, there’s simply more demand for electricity than there was when the panel was installed 25 years ago. Do you find yourself using power strips or extension cords around your home? A lack of outlets is a common sign of a home with an undersized electrical capacity.

Fuse Box Versus Circuit Breaker Panel

The main difference between a fuse and a circuit breaker is that fuses are single-use. They work by melting when the current is too high. Replacing fuses is more costly and time-consuming than resetting a circuit breaker. Fuses can also present a fire hazard if not properly matched to the circuit.

While fuse boxes are no longer installed by electricians, they are sill found in some older homes and are a real safety concern. In some cases insurance companies will refuse to cover your home, or refuse pay out if you do get coverage, in the event of an electrical malfunction and fire. Having a fuse box in your home is one of the main reasons you should consider upgrading to a modern electrical panel.