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Signs That My Electrical Panel Needs Replacing

electric panel replacements
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When it comes to electricity and electrical circuits, safety is crucial. Studies show that electrical faults are the third leading cause of home fires in the United States and that the most common electrical hazard in buildings, is an outdated electrical panel.

When called out in an emergency, trained electricians can troubleshoot any electrical fault and advise if the electrical panel needs replacement. There are also some obvious signs, that even someone with no electrical experience will recognize, indicating that the electrical panel may need to be replaced.

Signs That Indicate My Electrical Panel Needs Replacing

The electrical panel houses all the circuit breakers that control every electrical aspect of the home. This important feature in every home is not often at the forefront of a homeowner’s mind unless it is giving problems. Obvious signs that the electrical panel is faulty, or may need maintenance or replacing include:

A Burning Smell

If the electrical panel smells like it is burning, or looks scorched, it needs urgent attention, as it could result in an electrical fire. The burning smell could be due to:

  • Melting wire insulation (smells like burning plastic)
  • The wood or insulation is burning in the walls.

Other dangerous signs that an electrical fire is imminent include:

  • Scorched circuit breakers.
  • Scorched electrical outlets.

Circuit Breakers Keep Tripping

Circuit breakers are designed to trip if the electrical circuit is drawing too much power. If circuit breakers are constantly tripping, it could be a sign that the electrical panel is faulty and needs replacing.

More Outlets/Dedicated Circuits Are Needed

Extra outlets or dedicated circuits can be accommodated in the electrical panel if the panel is large enough and there is room. If the panel is old, or too small, it may need to be replaced.

The Addition Of Large Appliances

Large electrical appliances require large amounts of electrical current. If the panel is too small, these appliances could overload the existing electrical circuit. The addition of large electrical appliances usually necessitates an electrical panel replacement.

The Panel Has Fuses

Older buildings have electrical panels with fuses (instead of circuit breakers) that often blow and need to be replaced. To prevent the fuses from blowing, people tend to use thicker electrical wires that can hold more current, but these are a fire hazard. Electrical panels with fuses are considered outdated. They often cannot accommodate modern electrical needs and should be replaced.

The Electrical Panel Is Warm/Hot to Touch

A panel that feels warm/hot to touch could indicate that the electrical circuit is overheating. In this instance, the circuit breaker should trip to protect the circuit and prevent a fire. A panel that feels hot to touch must urgently be inspected by an electrician and will probably need replacing.

Visible Rust

If there is visible rust on the electrical panel, you can be sure that the panel has been exposed to water and that there is water damage. A qualified electrician must inspect the electrical panel to find the water source. An electrical panel with water damage usually needs to be replaced.

The Panel Is Making Strange Sounds

Electrical panels do not make any noise. The only acceptable noise is the click that is created when a circuit breaker trips. If your electrical panel is making buzzing or hissing noises, it needs to be inspected immediately, and will probably need replacing.

The Lights Flicker Or Dim

Lights should not flicker or dim when appliances like microwave ovens or vacuum cleaners are in use. Flickering or dimming lights usually indicate that the electrical panel is not able to supply the power that is needed. In these cases, the panel will need to be upgraded or replaced.

The Panel Suffers Direct Damage

Electrical panels installed in the garage often get damaged by vehicles or other heavy items. Damaged electrical panels must be inspected immediately, and usually need to be replaced.

The Building Is Remodeled

When a building is remodeled, the electrical panel usually needs to be upgraded or replaced. Qualified electricians must always be consulted whenever additions to the electrical circuit are required.

The Panel is 25 Years Or Older

Electrical panels older than 25 years should be replaced. Most electrical panels have a lifespan of about 25 years provided:

  • They are not subjected to numerous power surges.
  • They do not experience excessive wear and tear.
  • They do not have a manufacturer’s defect.
  • They are wired correctly, and the wiring is not faulty.
  • They are inspected and maintained regularly.

Why Only Qualified Electricians Should Replace Electrical Panels

Electrical maintenance, repair, and upgrades must only be carried out by certified and licensed electricians because of the following:

  • They know all the latest Florida electrical code requirements.
  • They have knowledge and expertise to troubleshoot and complete the task properly. Even the smallest error can result in damage to property, severe injury, or even death.
  • They have all the necessary tools and safety gear required to perform the tasks timeously and safely.
  • Qualified electricians have the equipment necessary to test all the electrical components. Only they can issue a certificate of compliance once the job is completed.

Call Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric For All Your Electrical Needs

Do you think that your electrical panel may need replacing? Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric have been South Florida’s electricians of choice since 1983. For any electrical installation, maintenance, and repair, call us at 1-800-475-1504.


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