Studies have found that homes with wiring problems in their electrical systems are the third leading cause of fire in the United States. Home electrical fires number more than 50,000 annually, resulting in more than 500 deaths, approximately 1,400 injuries, and a total of about $1.3 billion in property damage. One of the ways to decrease the risk of fire at your home is a heavy-up or electrical panel upgrade.
Older Homes May Require Electrical Panel Upgrade
The median age of homes in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions is more than 50 years. Many old homes are still equipped with an outdated fuse box. It may be only capable of providing 60 amps, while today’s standard for new houses is 200 amps.
To safely power modern appliances, electronics, and computers, a circuit breaker box is needed to prevent overloading. Insurance companies consider homes with a fuse box much less safe, and many will not agree to provide coverage unless it is upgraded.
Fuses vs. Circuit Breakers
Performing the same safety function, both fuses and circuit breakers disrupt or break electrical current when a power overload occurs, which may result in overheating and fire. The difference is a fuse will blow and need replacement because it melts upon detecting an overcurrent. In contrast, flipping a switch will reset a circuit breaker.
Interior vs. Exterior Electrical Panels
Federal regulations require electrical panels to be located outside to allow firefighters fast and safe access in the event of fire. Some homes were equipped with indoor boxes when it was permissible. If your indoor electrical panel is inadequate, you should consider upgrading and installing the new one outdoors.
Symptoms of Wiring Issues
Below are common symptoms of wiring issues that should not be ignored.
• Constant burning odor
• Dimming or flickering lights
• Frequent blown fuses or tripping breakers
• Mild electric shock or tingling when touching appliances
• Power outlets discolored or spark when touched
If you notice any of the above, call an experienced licensed electrician and request a safety inspection as soon as possible.
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.