What is Outdated Electrical Panels?
An electrical service panel in your home is where the main power line from the national grid enters your home and is distributed throughout your electrical system to the lights, plugs, and appliances. The electrical panel contains circuit breakers. The role of these breakers is to disconnect circuits in the event of power surges to keep the excess electricity from burning your gadgets and appliances.
So if you have an old, faulty, or malfunctioning service panel, that does not fulfil its functions properly, you are at risk of burning electronics in your home, suffering a blackout, electrocution, or even electrical fires.
Keep in mind that all it takes for a fire to become life-threatening is two minutes. Three minutes more and an entire house can go up in flames.
Bring your risks of house fires down by getting your old or faulty electrical panel replaced. If you’re still unsure of what’s causing your flickering lights, call Ampt Over Electric for a free consultation!
Here’s 5-10 Signs of Outdated Electrical Panel
If you notice any of these ten signs, it’s time you get that panel replaced by a licensed electrician from Ampt Over Electric.
1) Lights Often Flicker, Even Turning Off for a Few Seconds
Flickering lights can be due to a power disruption, which is normal when the weather is bad. In this case, the power running through your light bulbs get cut off for a few milliseconds. This is normal in such situations.
But if you notice this happening a lot of times, even in perfect weather, that’s a sign of a faulty electrical system. The entire electric panel itself (or at least the breaker) may be the culprit. In fact, it’s one of the first signs of bigger electrical issues.
If lights flicker almost every time you switch them on, that’s a sign you need to replace the electric panel.
2) Breaker Trips Whenever You Turn on an Energy-Hungry Appliance
Does turning on the air conditioner or heater cause your breaker to trip? Does the same thing happen when you turn on the hot water heater or clothes dryer? If so, then that likely has to do with the age and capacity of your home electrical panel.
An outdated panel can no longer support your household’s growing electrical needs. That’s why it keeps overloading and tripping.
In this case, it’s no longer a matter if Federal Pacific manufactured it or not. A breaker that trips in such instances should already be up for replacement.
If you suddenly find yourself resetting the breakers several times a week when you rarely needed to reset them before, then this could be a good time to schedule a home electrical safety check and get the panel repaired or replaced.
3) Frequent Tripping of the Breaker
Does the breaker trip regardless of what appliance you turn on? Then that’s an even bigger sign you need to replace your electric panel ASAP. It can no longer support lower-electricity using gadgets, much less power-hungry ones.
The sooner you get it replaced, the sooner you’ll stop experiencing inconveniences. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use that home theater system or fancy electric stove/oven you’re about to buy.
4) The Breakers Don’t Reset
Ideally, resetting a circuit breaker that has tripped should solve the problem. But if the breaker doesn’t reset long enough to resume your activities, or if resetting it fails to restore power to the application, then you could be dealing with a faulty electrical panel. You should have it inspected as soon as possible by a professional residential electrician and proper remedial action taken before the problem escalates
5) Touching Light Switches or Outlets Gives You Electric Shocks
Even if they’re only minor tingling sensations, they’re still unpleasant shocks. In some cases, they signal incorrect grounding of the electrical system. But they can also trace back to faulty wiring or outdated electrical panels.
Keep in mind that electrical shocks can be fatal. If you find you are getting shocked by your light switches, do NOT ignore this event and get an electrician replace your panel or at least do an inspection.
6) Blackened or Burned Spot on the Breaker Box
Breakers or circuits that overheat often leave visual burn marks. If you see a spot (or several) on your electrical panel, that’s a sign something’s wrong. Get on the phone with an electrician ASAP as this can lead to a fire starting in your home.
7) Burnt Smells from the Breaker Box or Wall Outlets
It’s more common for overheating breakers or wall outlets to produce burnt-like odors. These smells can also indicate melted insulation or wires. If you’ve noticed this stench more often, replacing your electrical panel box may already be in order.
8) Hissing or Crackling Sounds from the Breaker Box
A slight humming sound from a high-amp electrical panel is normal. That’s produced by the current’s vibrations as it travels to power up your appliances.
It’s a different story if you hear loud, hissing, crackling, even popping noises. If you hear these or if it seems there’s something “frying” inside the panel, you may have a faulty circuit breaker. Another possibility is loose wiring or connection.
Whatever the cause is, it would be best (and safest) to have a pro electrician come to check it for you. These loud noises are a precursor to a complete panel malfunction. We’ve mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating: faulty panels are a fire hazard!
9) Overheating Appliances
Faulty electrical panels can send excessive electricity to appliances, causing them to overheat. An overloaded outlet can also lead to your appliances overheating. Poor connections and degraded wiring insulation are also culprits.
If only one of your appliances tends to heat up, it’s likely the problem itself. But if many of your appliances overheat, it’s time to call a professional electrician. They’ll find out if it’s the electrical panel causing the issue or if the problem is only for certain outlets.
10) Sparks Come Out of Wall Outlets When Plugging in an Appliance
A very brief spark when you plug an appliance or device into an outlet is normal. But if there’s a shower of sparks, that can already lead to a short circuit. Old electrical outlets or water inside them can also cause sparking.
Although the electrical panel isn’t to blame in this case, there’s still a connection. If you have outdated outlets at home, then the panel itself may also be old and outdated. Either way, you’d want to have a professional electrician inspect things for you.
Don’t Put Off Electrical Panel Upgrades
If you haven’t updated your home’s electrical system in a long time, or if you detect any of these warning signs, you should contact a licensed residential electrician to inspect the service panel and service it accordingly.
Ignoring these signs can result in serious and costly consequences that range from a burnt power outlet, melted electrical wiring, or damage to plugged-in devices to more serious risks like deadly electrocution and electrical fires. You should also be on the lookout for any unusual smells, sounds, or electrical malfunctions as they could also indicate looming electric panel problems.
Call a licensed electrician at Ampt Over Electric to troubleshoot the problem as soon as possible. Neglecting your home’s electrical system can have devastating effects.
Updating your control panel has no effect on the wiring, unless you want to increase the number of electric outlets to eliminate the need for adaptors and extension cords. It simply improves the system’s ability to distribute more power.
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