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Just like a sniffly nose and coughing are symptoms of a cold, your home will give you symptoms of an electrical panel in need of an upgrade. It’s most common in older homes which weren’t designed with the amount of electricity we use today in mind, but any electrical system which can’t handle high energy-consumption appliances you may be adding will need an upgrade as well. So what are some signs that your panel needs to be replaced?

  • Tripping circuit breakers. Circuit breakers will trip to disrupt electrical flow to prevent an electrical surge. This is usually caused by too many appliances trying to pull energy at the same time. If you have an unusual amount of items plugged in which are sharing the same circuit, you can simply unplug some before resetting the breaker; but if the appliances all need to run at the same time on a regular basis, your panel may not be equipped to handle them.
  • Lights dim when you turn on appliances. This is usually caused by an overloaded circuit, which – again – means too many appliances routed to the same circuit. If these are common appliances for you, you should consider a panel upgrade.
  • You love extension cords because there never seem to be enough outlets. Many older homes were designed for fewer electronics than we use today, and don’t have the capacity to power everything from the places we need. While it’s fine to use an extension cord here and there, you should not need to use them in every room or with every outlet. If your panel does not have the ability to handle the addition of new electrical outlets
  • Sparking or discolored outlets mean there’s some faulty wiring. At that point, not only should you upgrade your panel, you should also have your electrician check the wiring of your system.
  • If you’re installing newer, larger appliances. Adding something larger to your home that you’ve never had before like an air conditioner or hot tub can suck up a lot of energy – energy that’s already designated to other appliance. This can cause recurring circuit breaker trips as well as pose a safety hazard.
  • Do you have fuses? While there’s nothing inherently wrong with fuses, that style of electrical design is most definitely outdated. Circuit breakers simply need to be reset when there’s a disruption to the electrical flow; fuses need to be replaced, which can become costly, and because they can actually be a fire hazard, some insurance companies won’t cover homes that use them.

If you’re seeing any of these signs in your home or office, contact Stack for a free consultation.