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outdated breaker boxbreaker box replaced by Milton Electric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 Such corrosion, as seen in the provided image, is often a result of an outdated panel and can compromise safety.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.

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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.