Electrician, Meyer Electrical Services Inc.
Written by Walt Meyer

Consider Upgrading Your Electrical Panel for Summer – Part 1

Electrical panels have service lives of about 25 to 40 years, outlasting the typical ownership of homes. However, modern electrical demand has made it more common for older electrical panels to be unable to provide enough power safely, which can also damage their components.

Your home’s electrical needs may have surpassed its electrical panel’s capacity. There is also the possibility it is now worn out and unsafe, as indicated by the symptoms discussed below. In either case, it may be time for you to contact a licensed electrician to discuss whether getting an electrical panel upgrade (heavy-up) is required.

It still Has a Fuse Box.

Many Maryland homes were built before or during the 1960s. Equipping them with a fuse box was typical back in the day. If that’s the case for your home, it is time to get an electrical panel upgrade. In addition to the inconvenience of constantly replacing blown fuses, fuse boxes are not as safe as modern electrical panels.

Circuit Breakers Frequently Tripping

A circuit breaker trips to cut the current if a circuit draws too much electricity to be safe. A power surge occasionally causes this. However, when this happens frequently, it is a symptom of either an overloaded or damaged circuit. A common reason this happens is the addition of electrical appliances over time, which eventually can lead to overloaded circuits. More courses may be needed to reduce the load on each.

Electrical Wear and Tear Symptoms

The symptoms listed below indicate a professional is needed to perform repairs or upgrades.

  • Buzzing, crackling, or sizzling sounds from receptacles
  • Dimming or flickering lights
  • Discoloration or scorch marks on outlets
  • Electrical outlets or panels emitting a burning smell
  • Electrical sparks when plugging in an appliance
  • Mild electrical shock from touching devices, outlets, or switches

Addition of New Service or Major Appliance

Adding a new service occurs when you remodel your home, finish a basement, or add an electrical service to your garage. Replacing or adding significant appliances, including an HVAC system, electric stove, refrigerator, washer, or dryer, can significantly increase your home’s electrical draw, which your existing electrical panel cannot handle.

Part 2 will discuss three electrical upgrade options for your home.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.