Your home's electrical panel supplies the electrical service to your home. The maximum amperage of the electrical panel is the maximum amount of power that your home can draw for its lights, appliances and other electrical devices. Although modern homes often have a maximum electrical service of 200 amps, older homes can have far less, because in years past many households had less need for electricity. If your home's maximum amperage is not enough to meet your electrical needs, you'll notice warning signs that indicate the need for an upgrade.
What are the signs that your home needs an electrical panel upgrade?
- Flickering or dimming lights. If your lights flicker or dim when appliances turn on, this is a sign that the electrical devices in your home are competing with one another for electricity.
- Your circuit breakers trip constantly. Your home should not trip the circuit breakers on a regular basis. If this happens multiple times in a week or a month, this is a sign that you need an upgrade.
- Your electrical panel makes crackling or buzzing noises, or shows other signs of distress. Your electrical panel should run silently and smoothly. Noises, smells and signs of corrosion or fire are all red flags that indicate your panel needs an upgrade right away.
What could happen if you don't get an electrical upgrade?
If you fail to get an electrical upgrade, you'll continue to experience flickering lights and problems running multiple electrical devices. In addition, there are other problems you could also experience in the future:
- Insufficient power for a home remodel. Many modern appliances require higher amperage in order to function. If you plan to remodel your home any time in the future, or if you plan to install new appliances in your home, there's a good chance you won't be able to proceed with those plans until you've upgraded your electrical service.
- Circuit overload and fire. If your home is drawing too much electricity through your panel box, this could result in a circuit overload and a fire. Although many circuit breakers and fuse boxes are designed to shut down in the event that your electrical devices draw too much power through the circuits, your older panel may no longer be working as it was designed. In addition, if you have a fuse box, there's always a chance that a previous homeowner replaced a fuse with a higher amperage than was intended for that circuit. This was a trick that people used to prevent circuits from shutting down on a regular basis. Unfortunately, any circuit overloads could cause a fire in your home.
For more information, contact a certified electrical contractor or a company like SDS Electric. A professional can tell you whether or not your home needs an electrical panel upgrade, and can also give you a quote for installation.