5 Signs you Need to Replace Your Home’s Electrical Panel
The electrical panel in your home is the core of your electrical system, with each light, outlet, and appliance receiving power from it. If the electrical panel works incorrectly, it will affect your entire home and its electrical system.
Like every piece of equipment, your electrical panel will gradually degrade over time and lose its functionality. Once the panel is no longer working correctly and can’t be repaired, you should replace the entire electrical panel. Here at Super Fast Electric, we understand the importance of keeping your home as safe as possible.
This article will cover five of the most common signs that it is time to replace your electrical panel.
1. Your Panel is Warm and Has a Burning Smell
One of the most worrying signs that you need an electrical panel replacement is it’s warm to the touch. When an electrical panel is safe, it should be room temperature and not be hot when you touch it.
Some of the reasons a panel would be hot are that the wires are overloaded or there are loose wire connections. Along with the outside of the panel being warm, you will also feel the individual circuit breakers increasing temperature.
What comes with a hot electrical panel is typically a burning smell because the wires are overloaded. This smell immediately indicates that you should call a qualified electrician to assess the damage.
2. Your Circuit Breakers Trip Often
The circuit breakers in your electrical panel are not designed to trip often. If you find yourself walking to your breaker panel to turn a circuit back on multiple times a day, that is a sign you need a replacement.
However, you should first seek the help of a certified electrician to see the extent of the problem. In some cases, the problem is with a single circuit breaker, not requiring you to replace the entire panel.
Circuit breakers are susceptible to breaking as they age, causing them to trip frequently. There are several signs you need to replace a circuit breaker, with some of the most common being:
- Rusted Appearance
- Trips When Appliances Turn On
- Make Strange Sounds
- It’s Hot to Touch
Changing an entire electrical panel is an extensive job, so starting with the more minor fixes is better. If the problem persists, then you may have to consider replacing your panel to avoid overloaded breakers.
3. Lights Often Flicker or Dim Unexpectedly
If an electrical panel is not working like it’s supposed to, it will have voltage drops that happen sporadically. While slight fluctuations are normal, you should not have large drops in power regularly.
Some circuits overloaded with large appliances will cause a light to dim, but not the entire system. When an electrical panel is acting unexpectedly, you may also experience voltage spikes.
Voltage spikes are much more dangerous than voltage drops, as a spike can damage your home’s electronics. When you notice spikes or drops in your electricity, contact an electrician as soon as possible.
4. Buzzing or Crackling Sounds Come From the Panel
Buzzing or crackling sounds signify electricity arcing inside the electrical panel. When electricity arcs, there is a stream of electricity that jumps from one connection to another with an electrical spark.
This electrical arcing is unsafe and should be taken seriously if you notice it in your electrical panel. A licensed electrician will know how to spot the signs of electrical arcing, preventing serious situations like fires.
Ensuring that your home is safe should always be a top priority. If you hear crackling or popping noise, you should not ignore the problem. Arcing electricity can also energize the panel’s metal—posing a safety risk to anyone in the home.
5. Charred Wires or Black Marks in Panel
Overheating electrical wires can cause them to burn up or leave black marks on your electrical panel. In serious cases, the electrical panel will smell like smoke, and you will notice charring on circuit breakers.
If the wires overheat to an extreme level, they can also melt. Melted wires signal your electrical panel is overheated, and the system is overworked. You will need an electrical panel upgrade to handle the electricity demands of your home’s appliances.
When your electrical panel reaches this point, you have likely ignored the previous signs on this list. Serious electrical problems develop over time until they finally reach a breaking point that creates an unsafe environment.
If you open your electrical panel and see dark marks all over the inside of the panel, you should call an emergency electrician. The unpredictable nature of this problem poses a risk of an electrical fire.
Your electrical panel is a critical part of the electrical system that should be routinely monitored to ensure it’s working correctly. You can catch problems early and avoid extensive electrical repairs by being proactive.
Whether from incorrect installation or aging, your electrical panel will eventually need replacement. By looking for the signs in this article, you can know when it’s time to call an electrician to replace your electrical panel.