When to change your electrical panel?
The electrical panel is the heart of your home’s electrical system. A panel in poor condition may pose a fire or short-circuit hazard, so it may need to be updated at some point. However, if your panel no longer meets current standards at all, you may need to replace it. Are you wondering if you need to change your electrical panel? Let’s look at the warning signs.
Signs that your electrical panel needs to be replaced
There are several signs that it’s time to replace your electrical panel. Here are a few that should catch your attention.
Rust on your power distribution panel
If there is rust on the panel, that means it has experienced water infiltration. Everyone knows that water and electricity don’t mix! Even if you haven’t had any problems despite the presence of rust, don’t take chances—get a master electrician to look at it.
Heat and odour
Is your electrical panel giving off heat or a burnt smell? That may indicate an overheating problem. If that happens, have it checked by an electrician right away.
The panel is full
If all the circuit breakers in your panel are used, you can’t add any new ones. You will be unable to add any new electrical appliances or baseboard heaters without overloading the panel’s electrical capacity.
Your panel is over 20 years old
If your panel is old, it may no longer be able to meet year home’s electrical needs. Modern homes need a minimum capacity of 200 A, while older homes have 100 A or even 60 A panels!
Fuses? Did you say fuses?
If your electrical panel has fuses instead of circuit breakers, be careful, because your system is no longer considered compliant. Your insurer may refuse to insure you or make you pay a surcharge as fuse panels are considered riskier. Don’t let an outdated panel threaten your safety and that of your loved ones. Have it replaced if it works with fuses.
Having an electrical panel replaced by a master electrician will cost between $1,000 and $3,000 depending on its size. Given the complexity, you really need to call on a professional with sufficient experience.