August 6, 2020

When Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?

Author:  Kirk Lam

It may not look very impressive, tucked away behind a metal door but your electrical panel is the heart of your home’s electrical system.

It also goes by other names such as a breaker box, fuse box or service panel and is the nerve centre for your electricity requirements. The power from the electric utility company flows through conductors to your home and into the panel and it’s here where incoming voltage separates into different circuits to power appliances and gadgets.

As years pass your electrical panel may naturally need an upgrade and there are key indicators to show it’s no longer fit for purpose.

When Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?
When Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?

Overcrowded appearance

If you keep adding more electrical devices to your house such as an extra air conditioner or pool pump, your electrical panel may start to look overcrowded.

Most houses built prior to the 1990s have a 100-amp service panel which may not be enough for the modern family. Dozens of electrical devices may result in a messy panel, with wires crossing over each other rather than fastened correctly. Circuit breakers with two wires connected to them, are known as double tapped and could be potentially hazardous if they loosen, causing electrical arcs and fires.

What Does It Mean When Your Light Switch Is Buzzing?

Flickering lights

If your circuit breakers are regularly tripping and fuses are blowing unexpectedly, it may indicate faulty wiring or electric panel issues.

Frequent trips mean appliances may be drawing increased volts than your current system can handle, and a system upgrade may be the solution to meet your electrical demands.

Beware if the panel is warm to touch because it’s another potential sign of overloaded power.

How Much Does It Cost To Rewire An Old House In Australia?

Older property with rewireable fuses

Many old panels are of poor quality and may stop working and need to be replaced. Older panels have limits on the available space to add circuits or fuses. Some panels have maxed out their available circuits and there’s no place for extra ones.

Older panels may also still have re-wireable fuses instead of circuit breakers which pose hidden dangers. Old fuses should be replaced altogether, modern circuit breakers are far better at protecting both people and property as they will trip by themselves.

Time and costs for an electrical panel upgrade

An electrical panel will take anything from four to eight hours to upgrade. A simple upgrade for a newer property will take less time than a house which is over thirty year older and needs to accommodate increased power requirements. So, costs will vary based on how much an electrician typically charges in an hour.

All the electricians at PWA Electrical Services are licensed with extensive experience. For all electrical panel upgrades we will carry out a full assessment of power required at your house so you can be guaranteed it will meet your future requirement. We use state of the art diagnostic tools and are fully licensed and insured so contact us today for your electrical requirements.