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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Time to Upgrade Your Circuit Breaker Panel

killowatt-wired-panelThe electrical panel of your home, a.k.a. the circuit breaker panel, is the hub of your electrical system. It’s where the incoming electricity is routed to the different circuits. The breakers are designed to shut off circuits in case of a voltage overload. If you have an old circuit breaker panel, you should make sure you aren’t overdue for having it upgraded.

Basic Questions About Replacing a Circuit Breaker Panel

When is it time to upgrade an older panel? Modern circuit breaker panels can usually last from 25 to 40 years. Answer some of the questions below to get a better idea of when you’re ready for a new panel.

Does Your Home Have a Fuse Box?

This is increasingly rare, but if you live in a home built before 1960, it may have a fuse box rather than an electrical panel with circuit breakers. Instead of tripping a breaker when there’s excess voltage, one of the fuses burns out to stop the flow of electricity. If you have a fuse box, have it replaced with a new panel right away. Not only are circuit breaker panels more convenient (just reset the switch) but they are much safer as well.

If You Don’t Have a Fuse Box, How Old Is Your House?

If your home is more than 20 to 30 years old and still has the same breaker box installed, then it’s definitely time to get a new one. The issue isn’t as much safety in this case (although any worn down electrical appliance can become hazardous) but of electrical capacity. Breaker boxes of this age can handle 60 to 100 amps, while newer panels can handle up to 200 amps—much more suited to the rise in electrical demand in households due to charging stations, computer, and the increased number of electronics. (If you want to check amps yourself, it will be listed on a sticker inside the panel door.)

Are Breakers Tripping Frequently?

You don’t want to make regular visits to the panel during the week to reset tripped breakers. If this is occurring with only a single circuit, it’s probably an issue with whatever appliance is hooked up to it or wiring issues. You’ll need electrical repairs. But if different circuits are tripping, it’s likely the panel itself is worn down or no longer able to meet the electrical demands of the house.

Have You Experienced Flickering Lights?

No, you don’t have a ghost. Flickering lights can indicate small power surges in the home connected to a powerful appliance coming on and placing a high demand on the electrical system. The panel may be at fault as well. If it can’t be cost-effectively repaired, you should have a new one installed.

Replacing an Electrical Panel Is Not a DIY Job!

You may be able to find online guides for how to replace an electrical panel on your own, but please don’t try this! This is work for a licensed electrical contractor only. Amateur work can mean a code violation, not to mention serious safety hazards. Whatever electrical services in Los Angeles, CA you need for your home, you can depend on our team to get the job done so your house is up to code and your family safe.

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical has served Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley since 1991. Call today!

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