If your home is several decades old, its electrical panel could be outdated. Age alone doesn't make a panel unsafe, but it might not have enough power to keep up with your current demands and that can cause safety issues. Here are some signs that it might be time to have an electrician install a new electrical panel.
When You're Limited In Choice Of Appliances
Some modern appliances, such as a tankless water heater, have high power demands. Your current circuit box may not be compatible with these appliances. Home appliances and other electrical equipment are constantly evolving. It may be a matter of time before you need a new electrical panel installed just so you can enjoy the convenience of the latest appliances. If you like to be on the leading edge when it comes to technology, home innovation, and electronics, then you'll need a modern electrical system to support all the gadgets and smart appliances you want to buy.
When Your Old System Is Overloaded
Electrical panels are rated in amps. As the panels have upgraded over the years to keep up with the demands of modern living, their amperage has increased. Panels for new homes may have double the amps as panels in older homes. If your electrical panel can't supply enough power, you'll notice things like lights flickering and circuit breakers tripping. If you're in the habit of unplugging one energy hog appliance so you can use another one without tripping a breaker, then it's time to consider having a new panel installed so you can use what you need simultaneously without overloading a circuit.
When Your Old Panel Fails
Electrical panels can fail when they are new, but they have a higher risk of failing when they are old. Since the panel is usually out of sight, you probably don't pay any attention to it unless a circuit trips and you have to reset it. You may want to inspect the panel on a regular basis to make sure it is functioning properly when you know that it's old. If the panel has problems, you might hear odd noises coming from it or smell an odor similar to burning rubber or burning plastic.
The panel may even feel hot to the touch. These are serious signs and if you encounter them, you should call an electrician right away. Sometimes, a failing panel may cause a breaker to malfunction. In that case, a circuit may stay on when it overloads. Then, you might feel a warm area behind a wall or a cord might get hot. When an electrical panel starts to fail, your home is at an increased risk of fire, so you want to ensure it's working properly.
If your panel is old, you may want to have it inspected. However, even if it is new, it might malfunction, so if you suspect signs of trouble, call an electrician, such as at Cole Electric Inc, to see if the panel needs to be repaired or replaced.