The Dangers of Having an Outdated Electrical Panel

While charming, Cape Cod homes and commercial buildings are also old and in need of updates. One of the first components that should be modernized in these spaces is the electrical panel.

An outdated panel not only makes your electrical system less efficient, it increases the risk of critical issues. Learn about these below and how Cape Cod Heat Pumps can update your electrical panel for easy and safe use.

3 Dangers of Outdated Electrical Panels

1. There’s Not Enough Electricity to Power Your Home

Your building’s electrical panel is what controls the flow of power from the grid through your system and delivers it to the areas of your space that demand it. When your panel is old or in disrepair, it’s less likely to be able to efficiently supply enough electricity to your appliances, outlets, and light switches.

If you find yourself using extension cords to get more power from one place to another or your lights dim when you run the vacuum, this is a good sign it’s time to update your panel.

2. Your Electrical System Can Get Overloaded

It might also supply too much and overload your appliances or cause an electrical fire. An old electrical panel might also supply too much electricity and overload your appliances. This is because your panel is responsible for shutting off your electrical circuits when too much power flows through them.

If it’s outdated though, the switches may not get triggered or the system may not be able to flip the correct circuits off. When your panel can’t manage electricity properly, the chances of something going wrong or having an electrical emergency is high. Regular maintenance can help you identify issues with your panel before this happens so you can have it repaired or replaced before something goes seriously wrong.

3. There’s a Risk of Fire and Electrical Shock

As your electrical panel gets older, wire coating can degrade and connections can loosen. This may create an open circuit, which is very dangerous and poses a critical risk of fire. Additionally, an old panel can heighten the risk of electrical shock as the wiring and internal components become worn and incapable of holding as much power as they once did.

If this happens, you may smell an odor of smoke or burning plastic and see sparks. It may be possible to have an outdated panel repaired, but in most cases, it’s in your best interest to just have it replaced.

How to Know If You Need an Electrical Panel Update

Wondering if your electrical panel is due for an upgrade? Here are some of the most common signs to pay attention to:

  • Your circuit breakers keep tripping, even when the weather is fine
  • You still have fuses and they keep burning out
  • Your lights dim or flicker when you run other appliances like your blender or vacuum
  • Your panel only offers 100 amps (Most modern homes need 200 amps)
  • You need to use power strips or extension cords for some appliances
  • You see or smell melted wires or your outlets look yellowed or “burnt”
  • You hear sizzling or other strange sounds coming from your electrical panel
  • You have plans to put in a pool, a new air conditioner, or another large appliance

What Kind of Panel Do You Need?

To properly replace or upgrade your electrical panel, you need to know what size it is and what size you need. The majority of residential panels are less than 400 amps but should be at least 200 amps to provide enough power for modern appliances like multiple televisions and computers in a single house. If your home or workplace is more than 3,000 square feet, it’s a good idea to upgrade your panel to 300 amps.

Before choosing a new panel, you’ll need to calculate how much power your space is currently using. Then, you’ll have to factor in future electricity needs — otherwise, you could update your panel now and then need to update it again in 5 years when you have a new baby or build a sunroom. This is one reason why working with a qualified electrician is crucial. They will complete all calculations for you and select a new panel that will accommodate your growing electricity needs.

How the Qualified Electricians at Cape Cod Heat Pumps Can Help

Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help when your electrical system is outdated or isn’t working right. At Cape Cod Heat Pumps, we can help. Call now to schedule an assessment by dialing 508-833-4822.