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Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Blog

Do You Need to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?

How often do you think about the electrical panel in your home? If you’re like most people, you only pay attention to it when a circuit breaker trips and you need to go reset it. 

However, it pays to think more about the panel: it’s not only an essential part of your home’s electrical system, it won’t last forever. It’s important to know when you need to have the panel replaced. Our licensed electricians can help you with this job, as well handle all types of electrical replacements and electrical repairs in Rochester, NY.

Below we’ll look over several situations where we recommend upgrading your panel.

It’s more than 15 years old

Although panels are built to endure and handle heavy electrical loads, they will wear down over time. This can lead to potential safety issues from breakers that don’t trip when they’re supposed to. Some panels can last up to 20 years, but we recommend caution and replacing a panel that’s more than 15 years old. At that point, the panel is probably out of date anyway, which lead into our next point…

It’s struggling with load capacity

In the last two decades, the amount of electricity the average US home uses has dramatically increased thanks to a profusion of new appliances such as charging stations that are now part of everyday life. If your panel is old enough, it may not be able to handle your home’s newer capacity demands. If you notice flickering lights or breakers that trip more often than usual, it’s probably time to upgrade the panel. 

Your electrical panel is a fuse box

Speaking of panels that struggle with electrical demands: if you don’t have a breaker box but instead a fuse box, then the time to have an upgrade was years ago! Fuse boxes are both inconvenient (you have to put in a new fuse each time one burns out) and unsafe (to handle modern electrical loads, you need much larger fuses, which creates a greater fire risk). Call us as soon as possible and we’ll get your home’s electrical system into the modern era.

It’s damaged

It’s a good idea to make an occasional check on your panel to see if there are signs it has suffered damage due to electrical fires. Look for scorch marks on the panel or for an acrid odor. These are signs of an electrical fire. Electricians may be able to fix the panel, but if it’s old enough, they’ll recommend getting a replacement. 

You have a Federal Pacific electrical panel

Go to your panel right now and open it up. Do you see the words Federal Pacific on the inside of the panel, or the letters “Stab-Lok” over the breakers? If so, you have a Federal Pacific electrical panel, and we advise you to replace it. Millions of these panels were installed in homes from the 1950s until the 1990s. They have never received an official recall, but they have a much higher failure rate than other panels where their breakers won’t trip. 

If you have any questions about your electrical panel, please call us today and we can help you out.

Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing Is Your One-stop Shop for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical.

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