Do you have an outdated electrical panel in your home? If yours is more than 25 years old, there is a pretty good chance that you do.
While some electrical panels can last for about 40 years, most will need to be replaced with a new electrical panel long before that. And you’re not going to want to push an old electrical panel too far since it could cause all kinds of complications within your home’s electrical system.
There are also some other signs that might suggest that you’re going to need to replace your electrical panel with a new one. You should be aware of when to replace an electrical panel so that you don’t get caught using one that has gone bad.
You should upgrade your electrical panel if you spot any of the seven signs listed below. They’re all going to tell you that you need to install a new electrical panel ASAP.
1. Your Electrical Panel Has Circuit Breakers That Trip All the Time
Your home’s electrical panel has a series of circuit breakers inside of it. Each of these circuit breakers is connected to the outlets in a particular part of your home.
If these outlets start to draw too much electricity at once, a circuit breaker in your electrical panel will trip to stop the flow of electricity altogether. It’s designed to do this to prevent damage from being done to the appliances and electronics in your home.
It’s OK for a circuit breaker to trip every now and then. But if you have one or more circuit breakers tripping all the time for seemingly no reason, it’s going to be a problem. You’ll typically need to get your hands on a new electrical panel pronto.
2. Your Electrical Panel Feels Warm to the Touch
Every so often, you should open up your electrical panel and give it a quick inspection. If you notice that it feels warm to the touch the moment you open it, this could potentially be a problem.
You might not be in any immediate danger due to an overheating electrical panel. But you will want to have a residential electrical service come out to your home to check out your electrical panel. They might recommend that you get a new electrical panel right away.
3. Your Electrical Panel Is Always Making Strange Sounds
While you’re in the process of inspecting an electrical panel, you should do more than just poke around inside of it. You should also be extra quiet and listen out for any strange sounds that might be coming from it.
When a circuit breaker in your electrical panel trips, it’ll make a loud popping sound in the moment. But other than that, you shouldn’t hear any sounds coming from your electrical panel.
If your electrical panel starts hissing or buzzing at any point, it’s going to indicate a problem. You’ll need to hire an electrician to come take a look at your electrical panel and tell you if it needs to be replaced.
4. Your Electrical Panel Smells Like It’s Burning
In addition to touching your electrical panel and listening out for it when you’re inspecting it, you’ll also want to use your sense of smell around it. You don’t ever want your electrical panel to smell like it’s burning.
If your electrical panel smells like it’s burning, it usually means that your electrical wiring, your home’s framing, and/or your insulation are all on the verge of going up in flames. This could turn into an emergency situation, so you’ll want to get an electrician on your side who can step in and do electrical panel replacement for you.
5. Your Electrical Panel Has Rust Forming on It
If there is ever any water damage done to your home’s electrical panel, you’ll be able to tell just by looking at it. Rust will begin to form on the inside and outside of your electrical panel pretty quickly.
You’ll want to figure out how water is coming into contact with your electrical panel so that you can stop it from doing it. You’ll also want to speak with an electrician about putting a new electrical panel into place.
6. Your Electrical Panel Can’t Keep Up With Your Appliances
It’s not exactly a secret that appliances have gotten bigger over the years. There are also more appliances in the average home than there used to be.
If you don’t have an electrical panel that is capable of handling all your home’s appliances, it could be an issue. You should discuss installing a new electrical panel in your home if you’ve recently added a bunch of bigger appliances.
Your electrician might find that your existing electrical panel is going to work just fine for you. But they might also let you know that you should seriously consider an electrical service panel upgrade before plugging all your new appliances in and using them.
7. Your Electrical Panel Has Sustained Serious Damage
Oftentimes, electrical panels are situated in spots within homes where there is little to no chance of them getting damaged. They’re usually set up in utility closets or in basements.
But if you have your electrical panel in, say, your garage, it might get damaged at some point by a car. In this case, you’ll almost always want to talk to an electrician about replacing it. You aren’t going to be able to continue to use a damaged electrical panel safely.
Do You Need to Install a New Electrical Panel in Your Home?
Knowing when to replace an electrical panel is so important. The last thing that you want to do is get stuck using an outdated electrical panel for any length of time.
If you’ve seen any of the signs listed here in your home, it might be time to buy a new electrical panel. You should get an electrician on the phone fast and schedule an appointment with them.
Learn more about maintaining and repairing your home’s electrical system by browsing through the other home improvement articles on our blog.