Understanding Electrical Panels: 7 Signs To Replace Your Electric Panel

New breaker box installed by Milton Electric

Electrical or breaker panels, load centers, service panels, or breaker boxes are crucial in delivering electricity to your home. Often found in basements, garages, or utility closets, these panels connect external wires from the street to your home's internal wires, powering your lights, appliances, and more. The amperage of these panels varies, with most homes equipped with 100, 150, or 200 amperes, depending on the number of circuits and electrical demands.

When is it Time to Replace Your Electrical Panel?

Determining when to replace your electrical panel is imperative for an efficient and safe electrical system. Here are some signs and reasons you should not ignore:

  1. Frequent Breaker Tripping

If you find yourself constantly resetting breakers in your electrical panel, it could indicate the need for a replacement. This issue often arises after adding new appliances that strain the existing electrical capacity, potentially damaging electronic circuit boards and other components connected to that circuit.

  1. Unexpectedly High Utility Bills

Consistently higher utility bills may signal the need for a new electrical panel. Increase in energy costs can result from rusted or weakened wiring, which leads to inefficient electricity distribution.

  1. Dimming Lights

Lights should only dim during power outages or when you have loose bulbs. If your lights dim, especially when using power-hungry appliances like microwaves and air conditioners, it could point to loosen connections or panel issues.

  1. Detecting a Burning Odor

Don't ignore any signs of burning odors coming from your panels. Address this issue promptly to prevent potential overheating and fire hazards.

outdated breaker box breaker box replaced by Milton Electric

Above are the after pictures of the electrical panels Milton Electric Recently Replaced.

  1. Unusual Panel Sounds

Crackling, sizzling, or popping sounds from your panel may indicate loose wires and potential sparks. Ignoring these sounds can lead to dangerous fire risks.

  1. Rust and Corrosion

Spotting rust or corrosion on wires, cables, circuit breakers, screws, doors, or other components demands immediate attention. Such corrosion, as seen in the provided image, is often a result of an outdated panel and can compromise safety.

Rusted wires

Example of rusted wiring and cables to look out for in your panelbox.

  1. Aging Homes

If you reside in an older home, having an electrician inspect your panel is advisable. Electrical panels do not last indefinitely, making it crucial for homes constructed before 1995 to undergo professional assessment.

Notable Panel Brands with Safety Concerns

Certain electrical panel brands, like Zinsco and Federal Pacific panels, which were popular in the 1960s-70s, are now considered unsafe due to breakers melting and problems with aluminum bus bars, posing fire risks.

Should You Hire a Professional?

Yes! Working on an electrical panel can be hazardous, especially if you lack the required licensing and expertise. This is not a DIY project to undertake lightly. Mistakes can result in severe damage or even dangerous situations. For any electrical panel concerns or replacements, it is strongly recommended to contact the professionals at Milton at 410-276-3420 for a safe and reliable solution.

Keep your home's electrical system up-to-date and safe by being vigilant about these signs and seeking professional assistance.

Get a FREE Quote

At Milton Electric, we have the skills to handle various electrical tasks, from installing ceiling fans to wiring new homes. With our expertise and years of experience, we are committed to delivering top-notch electrical services that meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Trust us to get the job done right.

Related Article

Overloading vs. Faulty Wiring: Differentiating the Causes of Tripped Breakers

Learn about the common causes of tripped breakers, such as overloading and faulty wiring, and find effective ways to identify and resolve these issues.

A hot circuit breaker occurs when there are poor electrical connections present. A poor electrical connection can be detected if a circuit breaker has wires that appear melted or burned. This can be extremely dangerous and contribute to the excessive heat in your circuit breakers. If your circuit breakers are hot to the touch something is wrong with your electrical wiring. Avoid touching your electrical panel and contact Baltimore electrician Milton Electric for your electrical wiring upgrade  

A circuit breaker will go bad when there is a circuit overload, a short circuit, faulty wiring, or even loose connections. Power surges and outages often cause failure in electrical devices not equipped to handle the extra voltage. To prevent your circuit breaker from going bad consider installing a surge protector to better equip your breakers during power surges/outages and to prevent any electrical problems. If you need an electrical wiring upgrade, contact Milton Electric today. 

Fuse boxes have circuit breakers and fuses to help transfer electricity throughout your entire home. You will often find circuit breaker panels installed in closets, hallways, basements, or utility rooms. Most homes will have only one fuse box. In some cases, fuse boxes can even be found outside. The fuse box is meant to protect your circuits from any type of power surge or power outage. To replace your fuse box, reach out to Milton Electric today. 

A circuit breaker will trip when it is overloaded. Plugging in too many appliances, faulty wiring, power surges, and lightning strikes can overload a circuit breaker. Warm circuit breakers indicate overloaded wiring, leading to a fire and a safety hazard. If you circuit breakers trip frequently, contact an electrician to inspect your circuit breaker and address any electrical wiring issues. 

To replace a circuit breaker, you will need the help of a licensed electrician like Milton Electric. Replacing a circuit breaker is a dangerous task and can only be handled by a professional. When replacing a circuit breaker, all electricity needs to be disconnected as it can lead to electrical shock, fire hazards and other personal safety concerns. Contact Milton Electric today for your circuit breaker installation