electrical panel upgrade, wiring, electrician
Written by Walt Meyer

Upgrading the Electrical System of an Older Home – Part 1

Nowadays, the growing number of appliances and devices often overload the electrical systems of older houses, condominiums, and apartment buildings. This can lead to several problems that could have been prevented by upgrading electrical panels and wiring.

A home’s electrical system can be compared to your body’s circulatory system. The heart is the electrical panel. Like arteries and veins carry blood, circuits convey electricity to outlets, appliances, and lighting fixtures. The electrical panel controls the amount of power available for circuits to distribute to these items. Regarding circuit breakers, their size and number determine power distribution in a home. 

Key Electrical System Updates

  1. Electrical panel upgrade – Will deliver more electricity to a home from the utility. 200 amps is now the standard.
  2. Circuit breaker box and meter upgrade – Allows more power to be handled.
  3. Electrical panel and circuit breakers replacement – Updates damaged & obsolete equipment for safety.
  4. Miscellaneous updates – Addition of new outlets and replacement of old receptacles allows homes to meet modern electrical demands.

Electrical Panel

Providing electricity to appliances and devices, the electrical panel oversees power distribution. Power from the utility enters a home through the panel and travels into several major electrical branches, then smaller ones throughout a home. The safety of a home and its residents depend on a properly functioning electrical panel.


Many older homes were constructed to handle only 30 to 60 amps, utilizing a few circuits, so they cannot handle a modern home’s electrical demands, resulting in a hazardous overload. A circuit breaker provides protection by tripping and cutting off electricity when a wire running from an electrical panel to devices and appliances becomes overloaded, preventing overheating and fire.

Over time, circuit breakers in older homes eventually become faulty and won’t trip. Some homeowners will also replace a frequently-tripping circuit breaker with another that is too large for the rating of the wire it is intended to protect, greatly increasing the chances of an electrical fire.

For greater safety, ground fault circuit interrupters are now installed to prevent electrical shock and electrocution, which may lead to death or injury.

Part 2 will cover Upgrade Symptoms, Upgrade Benefits, and Common Causes of Electrical Fire.

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.