Service Panel Upgrades
If you live in an older model home, then it is very likely that it’s time to upgrade your service panel. The typical house uses more and more electricity today than in the past, very often meaning putting more strain on older service panels. If your home is being powered by an old school service panel that was made to accommodate much less wattage, then you’re at risk of having electrical problems.
Today, we use a lot more electronics, including computers, televisions, radios and other devices. Our home eats up plenty of electricity, especially since a lot of the electronics are connected 24 hours a day. Simply put, if your home is older than 20 years old and has never had a service panel upgrade, then you should look into upgrading your service panel.
If you currently have extensions cords plugged in, so that you can connect multiple devices into one receptacle, this could be a fire hazard. This is especially so if you have an older electrical panel.
How to Know if You Need to Upgrade Your Service Panel
Check your service panel to see how many amps it has. If it is less than 200 amps and has screw-in fuses, then it is time to have an upgrade. If you are using a power strip to run electricity through your home, this is another sure sign that it’s time to do a panel upgrade for your property – not to mention this can be hazardous. If you have an older service panel with screw-in fuses, most insurance companies won’t provide you with coverage unless you have it updated. Another way to know if it’s time is if you have to turn off one appliance in the room to use another. For instance, you have to unplug the microwave in order to use your blender, in order to avoid a power surge or a tripped breaker.
On the other hand, if you live in a newer model home and find that your service panel is constantly tripping, then you should have a licensed electrician come to check it out. It could be something minor or it could be time for an upgraded service box.
Hiring a Professional for a Service Panel Upgrade
You should never try replacing a service panel on your own. If you are interested in upgrading your panel box, you should search around for a local licensed electrician to do the job for you. There are certain requirements that must be met by the Province and certified electricians will know how to abide by them. The last thing you need is to be fined or worse, have your home burnt to the ground because your service panel isn’t wired according to code. A lot of the older service panels are inadequate for today’s living, so if you’re not sure how old your panel is, you can have an electrician come to inspect it. Most electrical panels are good for about 20 to 25 years, so if it is close to or older than that, then it’s time to look for a panel upgrade.
Even if a house contains a modern electrical component, there could electrical problems that point to replacing the electrical service panel. Flickering lights, for example, can indicate electrical problems that can only be fixed with replacing the older electrical parts with newer ones. An electrician will do extensive troubleshooting when called out to a house or business in order to pinpoint exactly what is causing the problem and what needs to be done to correct it.
Flickering lights are not the only issue that could warrant a troubleshooting session and subsequent replacement of the electrical service panel. The presence of smoke in the vicinity of the old electrical components could point to this as the problem as well. Another sign an electrician will want to know about is any crackling or popping sounds that are coming from that particular area. This, too, will probably result in having the electrical component replaced.
Let Higgins Electrical Contracting Services (HECS) help you to upgrade or replace your service panel. For a free consultation and estimate, please call us at:
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