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Electric service panels are a critical element of your home electrical system. They serve as the central distribution point for electricity in your home.

Modern appliances may be more energy-efficient, but they still need a lot of electricity. To accommodate this, you need to make sure your electrical service panel is in prime working order. Here are some of the main signs that it’s time for an update.

Constant Use of Extension Cords

One of the most obvious signs that your electrical panel needs updating is frequent extension cord use. Extension cords are for temporary use, so you shouldn’t use them to power appliances 24/7.

Relying on extension cords to power modern appliances in your home creates tripping and electrical hazards. Distorted or damaged extension cords can lead to outlet damage and tripped breakers. In a worst-case scenario, they could even cause an electrical fire.

Continuously Tripping Circuits

Electrician turning off an electrical outlet's power in a circuit breaker box.

Circuit breakers manage electrical currents to prevent fire and injury. Power trips occur whenever there’s a short or overloaded circuit.

Your circuit breaker can trip for several reasons, like a ground fault or a short circuit. Circuit breakers also trip any time a circuit gets overloaded.

Dimming or Flickering Lights

A loose electrical connection can cause dimming or flickering lights, but so can overloaded circuits. If you’re running too many appliances from the same circuit, you will need a licensed electrician to update your panel. They can increase the number of available circuit breakers.

Breakers Won’t Reset

Breakers that won’t reset often indicate a faulty control panel. If your breaker won’t reset, you will need to call a professional to have your panel updated. Wiring projects can be hard to handle yourself, regardless of how handy you are.

Signs of Burning in the Electrical Panel

A burnt smell or visible charing around your electrical panel is a sure sign of damage. If you detect signs that your electrical panel is burning, update or repair it right away.

You are Still Using a Fuse Box

Electrical fuse boxes mounted to a wall.

Although a fuse box has the same basic purpose as a breaker, there are some key differences to keep in mind. For one thing, breakers are more modern while fuse boxes are outdated. 

Unlike breakers, fuse boxes don’t trip when they are overloaded. Some insurance companies even refuse to cover homes that still use fuse boxes. 

You Are Living On an Older Property

In the past, a single 60-amp electrical panel was sufficient for powering a home. Today, a 100-amp or 200-amp panel is necessary.

If you notice any of these signs, call a licensed electrician as soon as possible:

  • Electrical appliances aren’t operating optimally.
  • The panel is visibly damaged.
  • Using multiple appliances causes the breakers to trip.
  • Your panel does not shut off in the event of an overload.

Planned Upgrades to Your Home or Appliances

The right panel will provide you with the power you need to sustain enhancements to your home. Without it, certain improvements or added appliances could cause your current electrical panel to overload.

Delaying Electrical Panel Updates

Common consequences of ignoring the warning signs that your electrical panel needs an update include:

  • Burnt power outlets
  • Damage to plugged-in devices
  • Melted electrical wiring
  • Injuries or electrocution
  • Electrical fires
  • Unusual electrical smells
  • Electrical noise
  • Electrical malfunctions

Delaying an update to your electrical panel is not worth the risk of an electrical fire. Call an electrician right away if you see any of these warning signs.

Electrical System Upgrades

An electrician wearing gloves working on connecting wires in an electrical system.

If you’re planning on making electrical system upgrades, make sure your electrical panel is up to date

Your electrical panel has a huge impact on the amount of power available for distribution around your home. The size and number of your breakers determine where the power is directed.

Don’t be alarmed if an electrician recommends additional updates to your electrical system when assessing your electrical panel. If you haven’t made any upgrades in a long time, there may be several issues to address.

Update Your Electrical Panel with U.S Electric

Don’t risk your safety by neglecting your home’s electrical system. The longer you wait to update your electrical panel, the more serious the damage can become. U.S. Electric has more than 30 years of experience, and we always have the interests of our customers in mind. Contact U.S. Electric today to consult with a professional electrician!