Behind the scenes of your home’s electrical system lies the electrical panel, which regulates and directs the flow of electricity. Although it may go unnoticed, this crucial component can experience issues that warrant replacement. Below are 10 signs that may indicate the need for an electrical panel replacement.

1. Flickering Lights

Flickering lights can be a telltale sign that your electrical panel may be overloaded. This symptom occurs when the electricity demand exceeds the panel’s capacity. The excess draw strains the panel, causing lights to flicker or dim when you use multiple appliances simultaneously. Inadequate power distribution can also create an irritating living or working environment due to the flickering or dimming of lights.

2. Breakers Tripping Frequently

Circuit breakers are designed to trip and shut off electricity when circuits are overloaded, preventing electrical fires. However, if you notice that your circuit breakers trip frequently, it may mean that the electrical panel is outdated or faulty, thus being unable to handle the electrical load of your home or office.

3. Damaged Panel or Wiring

Visible damage, such as burned, frayed, or corroded wires and parts in the panel, indicates the need for an immediate replacement. Any damage to the panel or wiring compromises the electrical system’s safety, increasing the risk of electrocution and damage to connected appliances.

4. Aged or Obsolete Panels

Electrical panels typically have a lifespan of 25-40 years. If your panel is older or outdated, it’s likely not designed to handle modern electrical loads. Older panels are known for manufacturing defects and fire risks. Upgrading to a new panel improves the safety, functionality, and energy efficiency of your electrical system.

5. Home Renovation or Addition

When adding new rooms or significant appliances to your property, your electrical panel may need an upgrade to meet increased power demands. Modern devices like HVAC units, refrigerators, and washing machines often require dedicated circuits. If your service panel lacks the necessary capacity, it may struggle to supply adequate power, leading to issues like frequent tripping or appliance malfunction.

6. Frequent Electrical Surges

Electrical surges can result from issues within your electrical system or external sources like lightning. While occasional surges from external factors are normal, frequent surges may indicate an issue with your electrical panel. Constant surges can degrade the lifespan of your electronics, and a malfunctioning panel can be a potential fire risk.

7. Inadequate Number of Outlets

If you rely heavily on extension cords or power strips, it could be a sign that your service panel lacks enough capacity to support the necessary number of outlets. Consistent use of extension cords can stress your electrical panel, leading to overloading and possibly causing an electrical fire. Upgrading your electrical panel can allow for the installation of additional outlets, reducing the need for extension cords and improving the overall safety and convenience of your power usage.

8. Unusual Sounds or Smells

If you hear a buzzing sound or notice a burning smell coming from your electrical panel, which is typically located in utility areas such as basements, garages, or exterior walls, it’s a sign of a serious issue. These symptoms may indicate faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, or a malfunctioning breaker.

9. Insufficient Amperage

Modern homes typically require a panel with 200 amps to handle the electrical load efficiently. Older homes with original panels may only have 100 amps, insufficient for today’s power demands. If your property has grown with increased power needs over the years, the existing panel amperage may be inadequate.

10. The Panel Uses Fuses Instead of Circuit Breakers

If your electrical panel still uses fuses instead of circuit breakers, it’s a strong sign that the panel needs to be replaced. Homes built before the mid-1960s were typically equipped with fuse boxes. While these systems can still function, they need to be updated by modern standards. Fuses handle less current than circuit breakers, making them more prone to overloading.

Additionally, once a fuse blows due to an overload, it needs to be physically replaced, unlike circuit breakers which can be easily reset. This not only causes inconvenience but may also encourage dangerous practices like replacing blown fuses with those of higher amperage, which can lead to fire hazards.

Contact a Trained Electrician Near You Today!

If you’re in or around Fuquay-Varina, NC, and you’ve observed any of the above signs indicating the need for an electrical panel replacement, don’t hesitate to act. At Dawson's Electric, we specialize in a wide range of services, including electrical panels, home generators, EV charging, surge protection, and both indoor and outdoor lighting. Our professional team ensures your home has a safe and efficient electrical system. Contact Dawson's Electric today for reliable, expert service.

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