The Ultimate Guide on How to Upgrade Electrical Panel

how to upgrade electrical panel

Are you considering an electrical panel upgrade for the house? You may have noticed the signs that an upgrade is required, or an electrician might have recommended it.

There are many reasons to consider a new electrical panel. Most homes require them, but you might put it off.

We understand what you’re going through. Here’s a guide on how to upgrade electrical panel at home, the signs you need to watch for, and all the rest!

What’s an Electrical Panel Upgrade?

You might not know what the upgrade process is for electrical panels. If you’ve had no noticeable issues with the entire electrical system, you might not have an incentive to focus on upgrades.

Generally, it includes new fuse boxes, a circuit breaker, and an update of your amp service from the utility company. Those who notice flickering lights should definitely think about electrical panel replacement because it could cause electrical fires. Sometimes, this indicates overloaded circuits, and you need an experienced electrician to put in a new panel and handle the electrical work.

[Related: Electrical Panel Sizes for Your Home]

Signs You Need to Upgrade Electrical Panels

Common electrical issues are often linked to the faulty electrical panel in the home, which is linked to the whole electrical system. If your panel malfunctions, the damage could spread throughout the house.

We like to call the electrical panels the heart of the home; they’re vital to your system’s heart! Here are some reasons why you might want to upgrade your electrical panel system:

Home Has a Fuse Box or Is Unsafe for Other Reasons

A fuse box was necessary for homes built in the 1960s and before, and many houses still use them. However, it needs to be replaced.

Though they aren’t dangerous, they can be inconvenient because you’re always replacing the fuses. They’re crucial to making the box functional.

Some people use different measures to keep those boxes running. They include inserting metal objects like coins into the fuse slots to avoid having to buy new fuses. However, this could cause an electrical fire!

When checking the fuse box, inspect your panel to see if it’s warm or hot. Do you hear crackling sounds or see rust/corrosion on the circuit breakers? If so, it should be replaced immediately. 

You may call the utility company to handle that, but it most likely tells you to do it yourself or hire a licensed electrician for the job.

[Read: 5 Reasons Why Fuses Blow [And What To Do]]

Circuit Breakers Need Reset Often

electrical panel

Even if you removed the old fuse boxes a long time ago, your circuit breakers might need to be replaced because they’re outdated. 

If your house was built before 1990, it likely runs on a 100 or 150-amp service, and that worked well back then. However, the standard today is a 200-amp service. New circuits can often be added to the old panel without any problems.

We like to explain it to people by saying that they now need more energy to run their appliances, internet modems, and all the rest. As the electricity enters the home, it spreads out through each breaker to power whatever you need.

Inappropriate Outlets in the House

If you fear that you might have the wrong outlets, make sure that you look to see if they are damaged or only have two prongs. That means there’s no ground wire, so you could be at risk for serious injury (electrocution) or have a fire.

You also need to think about the GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters). If your house doesn’t have them, that could be a problem, especially in areas that use water (bathrooms and kitchens).

Planning a Home Remodel

Adding more space requires more electricity for air conditioning, lighting, and whatever you plug into the outlets. Therefore, you’re making more electrical connections and may even use new appliances. For example, if you add a hot tub, it requires more power than a traditional bathtub.

You may also want to contact your home insurance company. If you remodel the house or add rooms to it, the company might charge you more if you don’t have everything inspected by an electrician. If that’s the case, we can help you!

Panel Replacement with No Service Upgrade

Sometimes, you might only have to replace the panel without upgrading the service. Often, the breaker panel replacement comes with a full-service upgrade. We can advise you on what you require and explain it so that you understand the perks of the upgrade.

Repairing Individual Breakers

It’s possible to hire a professional electrician to replace the individual breakers. But it’s best to have them inspect your electrical system first. There could be underlying problems as to why it failed. If that’s the case, you want to protect yourself, your family, and your home from damage and injury!

[Related: How to Fix a Circuit Breaker That Keeps Tripping]

Why You Need to Upgrade Electrical Panel

It’s important to upgrade the electrical service and panels to give you more flexibility and increased safety. Your current panel might not be able to handle all the things you want to do in your home. While you may replace individual circuits, it might not be enough, or they might continue to fail.

Overall, it’s best to hire an electrician for the inspection process and go from there!

Basic Tips in Upgrading Electrical Panel

electrical panel electrician

Here are a few tips for your electrical upgrade:

  • Cut the power supply by calling the power company.
  • Prepare the electrical boards by removing wires.
  • Remove the electrical panel and dispose of it correctly.
  • Start the panel upgrades by adding the new one to the wall.
  • Reattach the healthy wiring.
  • Add new circuits for the sub-panel.
  • Ground the fuse box and connect the neutral bar.
  • Replace the service panel and inspect it.

[For more electrical tips, read: 7 Home Wiring Safety Checks Homeowners Should Do Yearly]

Full-Service Electrical Panel Inspection and Maintenance

We understand that most homeowners don’t like to mess with electricity because it’s so dangerous. If you don’t feel that you can do this job safely, it’s best to hire an electrical contractor like Assurance Electrical Service.

In fact, we know all about your safety concerns and have trained professionals to ensure that the work is done correctly. That way, you get enough power to do what you require without damaging your home or system.

Overall, insurance companies tend to require that you hire an electrician. We offer a quick diagnosis, are prompt, and give you peace of mind, so call us today!

Founder, CEO at Assurance Electrical Services | (928) 713-2177 | | Website | + posts

Jeff Brandlin is the founder of Assurance Electrical Services, LLC. He started in the electrical industry when he was 21 and had worked in several electrical firms before founding Assurance Electrical. Jeff is dedicated to providing the best quality service to his clients and always puts their needs first. Outside work, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

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