The electricity that flows into your home, measured in amps, comes in through your electrical panel and is then distributed through different circuits. This way station is equipped with breakers or fuses that trip due to some sort of imbalance such as a short circuit, overload, or ground fault. It is your electrical system’s most prolific safety mechanism. Like many of the components in your home, electrical panels aren’t designed to last forever. If you’re considering an upgrade, here are some important things to know.
Reasons to Upgrade
There are many reasons a homeowner may want to upgrade their panel, the most common being:
- Your Panel is Worn Out. Most electrical panels have a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years, so it is not uncommon for them to start showing wear and tear over time. Flickering lights and regular breaker trips could be telling you that the panel is nearing its expiration.
- Your Panel is Insufficient. Older homes can have fuse boxes or panels set up for a mere 60 amps. With the growing need for electrical power, it’s no wonder that the average family home requires a bit more juice to run sufficiently. This is especially important to note if you are about to do a large renovation. That may be the perfect time to upgrade your system to support your ongoing needs.
- Your Insurance Requires It. Some insurance companies will specify the size of the panel they are willing to insure. Even if you don’t have an issue with insufficient amperage, you may be required to upgrade your panel if you want full coverage.
What to Expect
If you and your electrical contractor have landed on a panel upgrade as a solution, they will likely perform a demand or load calculation on your property. This assesses how much electricity your home currently uses based on occupancy, square footage, and a handful of other parameters. This will help determine what kind of upgrade is required. Before the installation begins, here are a few things to prepare for:
- The power will be out for a few hours. Make sure to schedule around this. In addition to this, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to avoid food spoilage.
- Unplug your electronics, especially your brand new flat-screen TV! The power will be turned on and off, so unplugging ensures that nothing gets damaged in the process.
- Because the power is out, your electrician will be working in the dark. Keep all work areas clear to eliminate tripping hazards.
Electrical panel upgrades are a common procedure for experienced electricians. Our team at Westridge Electric can help you determine if this is something your home would benefit from. Book an appointment and let’s get started!