Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

Upgrading Your Electrical Panel

If you own an older home or buying a fixer-upper upgrading your electrical panel should be at the top of your list of repairs.  If you are unfamiliar with what the electrical panel does, beyond making the lights work.  Your electrical panel is the control system for all of the electricity in your home.  You can turn off the entire power to your home there or turn it off to specific rooms.  The panel is made up of breakers or fuses that can trip if you have too much electricity or not enough.  The panel is measured in amps and most homes use sixty amps or higher.

Why Upgrade?

You may be wondering if you should even bother to upgrade since everything works, but there are plenty of reasons why.  The average home has more appliances and electronic devices than ever and they all need to be charged or plugged in, which means an increased demand on your old electrical panel.  Replacing your panel is definitely not a DIY weekend project you can do yourself.  Electricity is not something that you mess around with, you need an electrician to make sure that everything is safe and up to your local building codes.

Safety is a Factor

One of the most important reasons to consider upgrading is because of the safety of you and your family.  In fact, your homeowner’s insurance may even require you to upgrade to continue getting coverage.  If you have constant issues like fuses blowing or the lights flicker when you use the microwave then you need an upgrade, the problem will only get worse and you increase the possibility of an electrical fire.  For those that have bought homes, they are planning to renovate then if you do anything that increases the square footage, such as finishing the basement it will also increase the load your electrical panel has to handle. Selling your home in today’s market means that it needs to be up to code, with an up-to-date electrical system.

What to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel To

Most homes today have at least 100amps but it can go to 150, 200, or even 400amps.  You can talk with your electrician to decide what is best for your home.  You can have an energy audit done or take a look at your current bills to see what amounts of electricity you are using.  In addition to your electrical panel,

you may need to upgrade your wiring at the same time.  Costs can depend on the extent of the work, start by talking to a couple of different electricians and get a price quote before you decide.