How do you know when to upgrade your Electrical Service Panel?

You may need to replace your service panel for several reasons: Renovations, structural additions to your home, installing a hot tub or renovating your kitchen are common reasons. Account for a new panel in your budget if any of these circumstances apply to your home:

Old Home, Old Service Panel

Older homes with original fuse panels may need attention sooner rather than later. Recognizing the warning signs of a failing service panel, what they mean, and how to proceed before things go wrong, will ensure you don’t end up in the dark. If your electrical panel is making a buzzing sound it may be time to have an electrician look at it.

Installing a Hot Tub

Hot tubs consume a lot of energy—so much, in fact, that installing one without upgrading your service panel could overload your home’s entire electrical demand. Your electrician can easily prepare a load calculation based on the size of your home, your appliances and any other items you have in your home. This will insure your electrical service will support the load you have as well as a new hot tub.

Planning Renovations

Renovating any building usually involves adding new appliances, light fixtures, and power outlets. Existing electrical service panels may lack the capacity to support additional circuits, so it’s wise to upgrade the panel beforehand.

Kitchen renovations usually require additional circuits due to the number of appliances in homes today. Adding refrigerators, freezers, ovens, stovetops, dishwashers, microwaves, and coffee makers, can add considerable load to your electrical system. Often, a kitchen renovation can require upgrading your home’s electrical service panel to accommodate the increased load.

Switching to Geothermal Heating and Cooling

You may also need to replace or upgrade your electrical service panel when switching to a geothermal heating system. Geothermal systems differ significantly from traditional gas furnaces in that they utilize the stable heat from deep in the ground, essentially giving you natural heat that uses more electrical energy to drive the system but far less energy from natural gas. This saves money on your utility bills over time.

Constantly Buying New Fuses

You absolutely need to upgrade your electrical service panel if you find yourself replacing the main fuses on a regular basis. They open the circuit disconnecting power to your home because the panel doesn’t have the capacity to sustain the entire load of your home.

Many homeowners and property managers try replacing fuses with larger ones. Fuses are designed to carry a specific quantity of current. Installing fuses that are too big for your circuit’s capacity will cause bigger problems, and possibly start a fire as the conductors supplying the circuit cannot support the load and will overheat. To prevent anyone from replacing the fuses with larger ones, you can install fuse rejecters, which will only allow the proper sized fuse to be installed.