Top Questions to Ask Yourself

In the last 60 years, the average household has significantly increased their power usage. A circuit breaker would be used to feed a few outlets and lights. Nowadays we use electricity for everything from charging cell phone to heating and cooling of your house.

When should I replace or upgrade my electrical panel?

If you think you need an electrical panel upgrade here are a few questions to ask yourself:

Was my home built over 20 years ago?

Depending on the age of your home it could have been wired with a service as low as 60-amps. With the advancement of technology, todays home is usually wired with 200-amps to support everything used today. Older circuit breakers are obsolete, expensive and difficult to find.

Does my home still have a fuse box?

Common in houses built prior to 1960s, you probably want to upgrade to an electrical panel with circuit breakers. If a fuse burns out you have to replace it and if a circuit breaker trip you just need to reset the breaker.

Does my breaker trip often?

If your breaker trips often it may need to be replaced. If you are plugging too many appliances the circuit breaker may not be able to accommodate the load. The tripping is a safety feature to prevent overheating of the wiring. When a breaker trips frequently it can weaken.

Are there black spots or burned areas on the breaker panel or wall outlets?

Besides the circuit breaker being broken into pieces, burnt or black spots is a visible physical damage to the circuit breaker.

Does my electrical panel smell?

When you have an improperly connected wire an arcing can be produce. The arcing will give off a burning smell. A bad breaker will also give off a burning smell when going out or the breaker is burnt.

Do I hear strange noises form the electrical panel?

Loose wires or improperly terminated wires, especially when appliances are used, in the panel could cause the flickering or something is failing within the panel.

Do I notice power surges or lights flicker quickly and continually?

Loose wires or improperly terminated wires, especially when appliances are used, in the panel could cause the flickering or something is failing within the panel.

Do I plan on upgrading my appliances or adding on to my home?

If you are planning to purchase new appliances you might need to install a larger service to accommodate the power needed for new appliances. If you plan on adding more space to your house or even renovate certain areas, you made need to add a larger panel to allow the growth and meet the standards of today.

Was my electrical panel a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE), Zinsco, GTE-Sylvania or a Split-bus panel?

  • FPE are extremely unsafe. Their breakers fail to trip when they should. This has been the cause of numerous house fires across the United States.
  • Zinsco or GTE panels are also unsafe. Many of their panels melt to the main bus bar, which means the breakers can’t ever trip.
  • Split-bus panels by themselves are not unsafe. These styles of panels have been used for over 20 years. This time frame puts them past their expected lifespan. Which means due to the age the breakers may not trip as they are designed to.