12 Warning Signs You Need to Replace Your Electrical Service Panel
The electric panel at your home or business is critical, and knowing when it should be replaced is crucial. Provident Electric offers professional electric panel services in Frederick, MD. Keep your commercial and residential properties safe with electrical service from our team. Learning these warning signs will alert you to contact our electricians so we can provide a thorough inspection and perform electric panel repair services or replace your electrical service panel if necessary. Learn more and get in touch with us today to schedule service.
What Is an Electrical Service Panel?
It’s likely that you don’t think about your electrical panel unless you need to flip a circuit breaker. You may hear an electrical panel referred to as a breaker panel, service panel, load center, or breaker box. The electrical service panel is most likely located in a basement, garage, or utility closet. The panel connects the external wires from the street to internal wires in your building to provide your appliances and lights with electricity. Depending on the number of circuits in your home, you likely have 100, 150, or 200 amperes. Our team provides electrical panel maintenance services so you can rest easy knowing your family is safe.
The Signs Your Electrical Panel Is on the Way Out
Your electrical service panel is a complicated piece of equipment. It does a lot for your home or business, but a lot can also go wrong with it. Here are a dozen signs to watch out for, signaling that it’s time to replace your electrical service panel:
- Tripping Breakers – Frequently needing to reset your breakers could mean that your electrical panel needs to be replaced. This is more likely to happen after you purchase a new appliance and your system is not able to handle the load. Any appliances connected to that circuit will be at risk, and the lifespan of the electric circuit will be shortened. Circuit breakers turn off the flow of electricity to protect your circuits when they are drawing too much power. While this design feature protects you from having too much power pushed through your system, it is also a warning sign that you need to upgrade your panel. Our residential wiring services can help prevent this issue.
- High Utility Bills – If your utility bills have been on the rise without using more electricity or adding new appliances or devices, you might need a new electrical service panel. Rising utility bills can be the result of rusted or weak wiring.
- Dimming Lights – Your lights should only be dimming during an outage or if you have loose lightbulbs. If your lights are dimming while you use appliances such as an air conditioner or microwave, you likely have a loose connection or a problem with your electrical panel. Plugging in the vacuum should not cause your lights to flicker either.
- Burning Odors – A burning odor is a common sign that your electrical panel needs replacing. Ignoring this problem can lead to a fire because the panel can overheat. Many homeowners have experience house fires due to a failed circuit breaker panel. The burning smell can be wood or plastic. Never ignore this sign, and be sure to contact us immediately for our 24/7 emergency services.
- Odd Sounds – Don’t ignore any strange noises coming from your electrical service panel. Sizzling, cracking, or popping sounds can be signs of loose wiring. Electricity will try to jump from one connection to another. This action can create a spark and become a fire hazard. Your electrical panel should be silent, although it’s normal to hear a click when a circuit breaker is popped. Buzzing or hissing should not be ignored because you likely have a bad wire or a loose connection.
- Rust & Corrosion – Contact Provident Electric immediately if you notice any rust or corrosion on cables, wires, circuit breakers, doors, screws, or other parts. Rust on your electrical panel indicates water damage which is a serious concern. Our team will determine what caused the water damage to prevent it from happening again. We will also replace your electrical service panel for your safety.
- Older Home – If you live in an older home, you owe it to yourself to have your electrical panel inspected. These panels are not designed to last forever. If your home was built before 1995, you need an experienced electrician to check out your panel. Certain brands that were prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s are inferior and no longer considered safe. Your electrical panel should be replaced if it is more than 25 years old.
- Lacking Outlets – Not having enough outlets can cause problems with electrical panels. Some home and business owners solve this problem by using a power strip, but doing so can overtax an outlet. Our electricians can add more dedicated circuits if there is room on your electrical panel and install new outlets. If your existing electrical panel cannot accommodate new circuits, we will replace the panel.
- Large Appliance Addition – If you’ve recently added a new large appliance to your home or business, you may need a new electrical panel. A new dishwasher or an appliance with a large electrical draw may cause your panel to operate over capacity, which is unsafe.
- No Circuit Breakers – If your electrical panel uses fuses and not circuit breakers, it’s time to upgrade. A fuse-based electrical panel is easily overtaxed. When a fuse blows, it needs to be replaced, which is a hassle. Adding a fuse that’s too large can lead to electrical fires. In addition, fuse-based electrical panels have less room for modern electrical needs.
- Warm Electrical Panel – If your electrical service panel is warm or hot when touched, it’s likely overheating. This can trip your breaker to protect you from a fire, but it can also indicate a severe issue with your panel.
- Direct Damage – While electrical panels are primarily out of the way, occasionally, they may be hit by a car if they are located in your garage. If your electrical panel has had direct damage, it should be checked out by our professional electricians.
Schedule Panel Replacement Today
Our team replaces electrical service panels and can also inspect your panel to determine if replacement is necessary. Provident Electric was voted the best electrician in Frederick, and we also provide service in Mt. Airy, Germantown, and Westminster. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.