Throughout our lives we function with the idea that we will have access to electricity at home, work, and in almost every area of our day. The only time we really think about electricity is when it’s not available or not working. Every so often the power in your home will go out, whether from a storm or plugging one too many things into a circuit. You make the trek to wherever your electric panel is and flip the circuits, and generally that fixes the problem. We don’t really give much thought to our electric panels, but it is a key piece to the electrical circuit of your home. It is the brain of the system, taking power from outside your home and directing it to where electricity is needed. Without a panel that works efficiently, your home’s electricity will not be reliable. It can be tough to decide when it’s time to replace the electric panel. Will a less expensive repair do the trick, or is it time to replace everything and upgrade to a better model? Here are some signs that you need to replace your electric panel.
- Fuse Box vs. Circuit Breaker
If you have an older home, you may have a fuse box instead of a circuit breaker that functions as your electric panel. The main difference between a fuse box and a circuit breaker is that once a fuse is blown, it must be replaced. When a circuit breaker blows, all you have to do is flip the switch back to the “on” setting. So fuse boxes generally require more upkeep. There is nothing wrong with a fuse box if it is still in good condition, but these older models were designed to handle much less power. Imagine what life was like when your parents were kids – they had electric lights, a coffee pot, a tv, and maybe a few other electrical appliances. The amount of power needed for a home today can be too much for a fuse box to handle, which would cause it to short out more often. Fuse boxes that are well-maintained are still safe to use, but they can be a fire hazard if fuses melt. Some insurance companies require that you have a circuit breaker, and refuse to cover homes with fuse boxes. If this is the case, it is a definite sign that you need to replace your electric panel.
- Faulty Lighting
Another sign that you may need to upgrade your electric panel can be seen in the lighting. If your lights are constantly dim or seem to flicker, this could be a sign that your panel needs to be replaced. Dimming or flickering lights generally occur when there are other appliances running. This makes it difficult for your panel to distribute the required electricity to each appliance. If you turn on the vacuum cleaner, or are using a hair dryer, this might cause your panel to go into overdrive. As it tries to keep up with demand, the power source to the lights fluctuates because the amount of power going to them is not constant. Try replacing the lightbulbs, and if the problem continues, get in touch with your electrician to discuss what might be causing the issue. Will a repair do the job, or is your panel struggling to keep up? Your electrician will be able to tell you more about the tell-tale signs that you need to replace your electric panel.
- Breakers Trip Often
Breakers can trip for a variety of reasons, such as a bad storm, or if you are using a lot of power at one time. If you have to reset the breaker frequently, then it is probably time to upgrade your electric panel. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the breakers themselves, it just means that your current system was not designed to handle the amount of power your home uses.If you are not financially ready to replace the electric panel, you can avoid tripping the breaker by being strategic about power usage. More than half of your home’s electricity goes to heating your home and refrigeration. Other appliances that use a lot of power are electric stoves, hair dryers, space heaters, and computer monitors. Most of these are things that you need to use daily. By not using them at the same time, you may be able to keep your breaker from tripping. However, if your breaker trips often, then it is probably time to bite the bullet and make an upgrade. If you are unsure, talk to Asbury Electric and our professionals can tell you more about the signs that mean it’s time to upgrade to a better model.
For more information on when to replace your electric panel, check out https://www.networx.com/article/replace-or-repair-electric-panel