A typical electrical panel should last from 25 to 40 years. However, increased power use in the home could pressurise the electrical panel to work beyond its capacity. Older homes are the most common buildings that require an electrical panel upgrade. If you are living in an older home, you should have your electrical panel inspected to see if you require a panel upgrade.
Having an outdated electrical panel is unsafe. Tripped circuits, flickering lights, and low amperage indicate that you need an electrical panel upgrade.
What Is An Electrical Panel?
An electrical panel is a metal box that contains all the electrical circuits. Panels receive electricity from the power company and distribute it to the electronics, appliances, and lights in the home. An electrical panel is also known as the fuse box, however, fuses are rarely used in new homes and builds.
Every room and appliance has its dedicated circuit within the electrical panel. For instance, the electrical outlets in the kitchen may be placed on one circuit, while the outlets in the living room will be on another circuit.
When Should You Consider An Electrical Panel Upgrade?
An electrical panel upgrade is necessary to ensure an efficient electrical power supply throughout the home or building. An electrical panel’s life expectancy is up to 40 years, however, it may require a replacement before it reaches its full life expectancy.
Below are reasons for considering an electrical panel upgrade:
1. Dimming or Flickering Lights
Dimming and flickering lights show that your electrical panel does not have enough power, especially when smaller appliances are having a harder time starting up. This simply means that the electricity load in your home is far beyond the existing electrical panel, you may need an upgrade.
2. Frequent Electrical Panel Trips
When the electrical panel trips more frequently, you unavoidably require an electrical panel upgrade. There are many reasons that fuses can blow in your home, here are three reasons you should consider replacing your panel:
a. Short circuit in the electrical system
b. Electrical service is overloaded
c. A ground fault where a hot wire is touching the ground Doing a panel upgrade or replacement should be left to the professionals, there are many steps put in place to make sure that the process is done safely and up to code.
3. New Appliances with High Electricity Demand
When upgrading larger appliances in your homes such as a hot tub, electric water heaters, air conditioners, dishwashers, and stoves, you should consider an electrical upgrade. A lot of larger appliances require more energy to function, and older panels are not strong enough to support them. It is probably a good idea to have your current panel upgraded to ensure that all your appliances are getting the power they need.
4. Electric Shocks
If you plug an appliance or something in and get an electric shock, it is time to have your electrical panel examined. You may need to have an upgrade or a brand new replacement.
5. Increase in Family Numbers
Where there is growth in the number of family members in the house, the chances are high each of them has a smartphone and computer. All the appliances will draw more power from the panel than usual. As a result, it will be necessary to upgrade the electrical panel.
6. Home Renovations and Remodelling
If you are considering having some home renovations and remodeling done, you should consider having your electrical panel replaced or updated. Older homes were built with smaller electrical panels and are not strong enough to support as many appliances that we use today. If you are adding another room to your home, a panel upgrade is highly recommended.
7. Upgrading from Fuses to Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers are now recommended to be used in homes instead of fuses, although they serve the same purpose. Fuses are outdated while circuits are made with modern technology and they are more durable, requiring only a reset in high current. To do the upgrade from fuses to circuits, you will need to upgrade your electrical panel.
8. Water Leakage
If there is water leakage around your electrical panel, do not move closer to the place. Contact an experienced electrician to examine the panel and likely damages caused by the water leakage. If there are signs of rust or corrosion in the wiring, you need an electrical panel upgrades as soon as possible.
What Is Involved In An Electrical Panel Upgrade?
Before having your electrical panel upgraded or replaced you must obtain a permit. There are very important steps put in place when upgrading or replacing an electrical panel that must be done by a trained professional. The electrical contractor hired will fill out all the required paperwork before the upgrade.
All the scheduling and related tasks will be handled by the contractor. You will then obtain a permit from the city to verify that a panel upgrade or replacement has been given the go-ahead.
Before the upgrade project begins, the electric power supply to the house has to be disconnected until the upgrade is completed. It is very dangerous to have any power coming into the home when undergoing a panel upgrade. Once the project has been completed, and the panel has been replaced/upgraded the power will be returned to the home.
Some of the tasks involved in electrical panel upgrade may include the following:
a. New grounding systems
b. Labeling household circuits on new panel
c. Replacement of weather head
An electrical panel upgrade is required to alleviate the problems of the existing electrical panel. The electrical panel is usually from 100 amps to 200 amps for residential buildings, and from 200 amps to up to 1200 amps. Whatever the case may be, a permit must be applied for.
Before the upgrade begins, a comprehensive electrical panel inspection will be carried out. The electrical technician will analyze different components of the panel such as the fittings, enclosure bonding, ground busbar, the feeders, breaker trip settings, wire ampacity, bonding jumpers, conduct fills, arc flash settings, ground lug, and grounding.
If you want to upgrade your electrical panel from 60 Amp to 100 Amp, it means you want to comply with the Building Code in Calgary.