All homes require a main panel to distribute the amperage coming into the house from the service lines into the appropriate amperage for each circuit. Without this distribution of power, electrical devices would overload, catch fire, or short out. However, if you have an older home, have recently added an addition, or are experiencing symptoms of inadequate power, such as flickering lights or frequently blown breakers, you may be experiencing the opposite problem, which is lack of available amperage. When this occurs, you need to upgrade your panel to satisfy your additional power requirements.
Do I Need A Panel Upgrade?
Sometimes the need for a panel upgrade is obvious, such as when you add an addition onto your home, but have no empty slots in your current panel for additional breakers. However, sometimes the symptoms of an inadequate panel are more subtle, such as in the situations below:
Your home is old
If your home is over 50 years old, you may have a fuse panel instead of a breaker panel. These types of panels allow you to easily switch out fuses rated for various amperage loads, such as 15, 20, 30, and 40-amp fuses. However, switching our the fuse to keep your circuit from blowing can present significant fire hazards, since the safe amperage load of your wiring will not change. For this reason, some insurance companies are reluctant to insure homes with fuse panels, or charge more for the privilege.
In addition, these older panels often use outdated technology and/or are beginning to show signs of physical wear and deterioration. While panels are long-lasting, they don’t last forever and will periodically need to be replaced.
You often blow fuses or trip breakers
If you blow fuses or trip breakers on a regular basis, your circuit is likely carrying too little amperage for your needs. In the case of a fuse panel, this is often due to old technology. If you have a breaker box, you may need to add additional circuits to your home, which not only requires rewiring, but may also require a breaker upgrade to accommodate the additional circuits.
Your lights flicker regularly
If one light flickers, the problem may lie with the light or the switch. But if all the lights on a given circuit flicker, there is probably a short somewhere in the system, sometimes originating at the main panel. This problem should be addressed immediately, since such shorts can cause an excessive heat buildup, making your circuit a fire hazard.
Your panel box hums or crackles
A healthy panel box should be completely silent. If you hear humming or crackling coming from the box, it is often indicative of an electrical problem, such as a work-out breaker, a loose wire, or a burned-out contact. Sometimes these problems can be resolved by replacing a single breaker or repairing a wire, but more extensive underlying problems may require a panel replacement.
If your home requires a panel upgrade for any reason or if you are experiencing power issues and wonder if your electrical panel may be to blame, our knowledgeable crew is happy to help. Give us a call today at (216) 631-7777 or contact us here. Someone will respond promptly to help you find a solution to your needs.
Great Lakes Contractors, LLC
1234 West Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44102
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