Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Panel
Homeowner flipping breaker in electrical panel

Your electrical panel is an essential component of your home’s electrical system. It’s the power source that distributes electricity to all the other components and outlets in your home. But like many electric appliances, an electrical panel has an average lifespan and will eventually need an upgrade. But how do you know when it’s time to upgrade your electrical panel? Here are the signs you should look out for.

Frequent Tripped Breakers

Circuit breakers work by tripping or shutting off the power when they detect a fault, such as a short circuit or an overload. This safety mechanism prevents electrical fires and other hazards. However, if your circuit breakers are frequently tripping, this could be a warning sign that your electrical panel is struggling to handle the electrical load in your home.

Flickering Lights or Power Surges

If you notice your lights dim every time you turn on an appliance or your HVAC is running, this could indicate that your electrical panel is unable to provide the necessary power. Similarly, frequent power surges that cause your lights to brighten suddenly or your electrical appliances to turn off and on can also signify a need for an electrical panel upgrade in Philadelphia.

Odd Sounds or Burning Smells

Odd sounds, such as buzzing or crackling, coming from your breaker box are a clear warning sign of potential electrical issues. Similarly, if you smell burning around your electrical panel, this could indicate melted wires or insulation, which are potential fire hazards.

Physical Signs of Damage

If you open your breaker box and notice burn marks, melted wires, or breaker burns, it’s time to call a professional electrician in Philadelphia. These signs signify arcing, which is when electricity jumps over gaps in circuits. Arcing can lead to electrical fires.

Similarly, if you see exposed wires or loose connections in your panel box, these are serious safety concerns that need immediate attention from an experienced electrician.

Your Panel Uses Fuse Boxes

Fuse boxes were common in homes built before the 1960s. These boxes contain circular fuses connected in a series. While fuse boxes can still function, they are generally less safe than modern circuit breakers and can pose a risk of electrical shock or fire. If your home still uses a fuse box, it’s generally expected that you should upgrade to a breaker box.

You’ve Added New Appliances

If you’ve recently added new appliances, such as an air conditioner, that require more electricity, your existing electrical panel may not be able to handle the increased load. In this case, you might need a new electrical panel to prevent overloading your system and causing power issues.

You’re Using Too Many Extension Cords

If you find yourself using extension cords because you don’t have enough outlets, this could be a sign that your electrical panel needs an upgrade. Having a qualified electrician install additional outlets and possibly a new panel can help ensure your home’s electrical system can meet your needs safely.

Your Panel is over Ten Years Old

The average lifespan of electrical panels is around 5-10 years. If you’ve lived in your home longer than this and haven’t had an electrical panel upgrade, it’s time to consider getting a new electrical panel. Even if you’re not experiencing any problems, an old panel can still pose a risk of electrical fires due to faulty wiring or other issues.

Upgrade Your Home’s Electrical Panel With GEN3

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s time to call a certified electrician. Upgrading your electrical panel is not a DIY project. It involves working with high-voltage electricity and should only be done by a licensed electrician — otherwise, you may put yourself at risk of electrical hazards.
At GEN3 Electric & HVAC, our certified electricians in Philadelphia have the expertise to safely upgrade your outdated electrical panel, faulty breakers, or even circuit breaker — ensuring your home’s electrical system is safe and efficient. Don’t wait for a small issue to turn into a major problem. If you suspect it’s time for an upgrade, give us a call today.


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