Your home’s main breaker box, or service panel, controls the electricity that courses through the electrical circuits throughout your St. Paul home. Since the panel controls the power for the lighting, outlets, switches, HVAC system, and more, panel upgrades need to be done as your electrical system ages and your demand for power increases.
An outdated or damaged electrical panel may not be able to perform its function well. If it’s not working right or you’re demanding too much power from the system, you’ll need a panel upgrade to be sure your wiring and electrical panel are operating safely.
There are several reasons our St. Paul electricians may recommend looking into getting a panel upgrade.
1. Your Breakers Keep Tripping
If you keep having to reset a breaker, you’re overloading the electrical system in your St. Paul home. The breakers trip to prevent overheating of the wiring and components. This is a sign that your electrical panel, and possibly the wiring, need to be upgraded.
2. Your Electrical Panel Has Fuses
If you have fuses instead of circuit breakers in your electrical panel, you need a panel upgrade. Fuse panels aren’t as sensitive and haven’t been used in St. Paul since the mid 1960s. Plus, the fuse needs to be replaced if it blows. Your panel hasn’t been upgraded for many decades!
3. There Are Signs of Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring is the number one cause of house fires. An overloaded electrical panel can cause wiring damage. Here are some signs you may have faulty wiring.
- Burn marks around outlets or switches
- Burn marks on the ceiling or up walls in a line pattern
- Burning rubber or plastic smells
- Appliances or lights won’t stay on
- Tingling sensation or shock when you touch appliances
- GFI outlets won’t reset
- Flickering lights
- Problems with your ceiling fans
4. Your Electrical System Can’t Support Heavy Appliances
If you’re trying to run the microwave, stove, lights, and other heavy appliances at the same time, your electrical system may not be able to meet the demand.
If you notice any of the following telltale signs that your electrical system can’t support your household demand for power, call our St. Paul electricians for a possible panel upgrade:
- Lights dim when you turn on the microwave
- Lights flicker on and off for no apparent reason
- An appliance turns off for no reason after trying to use it
- Appliances or electronics burn out
5. You’re Using Too Many Extension Cords & Power Strips
One sure sign you need more outlets in your house is using too many extension cords and power strips. If powering your appliances and electronic devices means using extension cords all over the house, it’s important to install more outlets.
Installing more outlets means installing new wiring circuits. Some electrical panels can support the addition of new wiring circuits to power more outlets but many cannot.
6. You Want To Plan Ahead
Are you planning to buy a new hot tub, install landscape lighting, or remodel the house? If so, you may need a panel upgrade to support the new electrical demand of your household.
If your current service panel isn’t sufficient to power the new heavy appliances, additional lighting, and more outlets, you’ll want to know now rather than later whether an updated panel will be necessary.
Our St. Paul electricians recommend getting a home electrical inspection to help you plan your home remodeling or appliance installation project. It won’t take much for an electrician to inspect your electrical panel for a possible upgrade. At least you won’t be stuck with a surprise cost you didn’t budget for!