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Is It Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?

At TCA Electric we often hear from property owners looking to find out how to determine when their electrical panel needs to be repaired, upgraded, or otherwise replaced. This can be tricky to understand for those less familiar with electrical systems, how they work, and what warning signs to note. Luckily, at TCA we have more than 60 years of combine experience as professional electricians in North Vancouver. We’re always happy to share our expertise to help you make an educated decision about whether to upgrade your electrical panel.

What does an electrical panel do?

Before discussing the problems that can indicate whether you need to upgrade your electrical panel, it’s important to understand the role your electrical panel plays in your home. At the most fundamental level, your electrical panel breaks the main source of power entering your home, from a power line, for example, into smaller branch circuits from the different areas of your house. The wires in your home wouldn’t be able to handle the full supply of electricity from a power line all at once, so your electrical panel serves to distribute this power safely. Breakers protect circuits from being overloaded by “tripping” when a circuit draws on too much power. This cuts off electricity from the overloaded area of your electrical system, preventing potential electrical fires.

How do you know when to upgrade your electrical panel?

There are several reasons why you might want to upgrade your electrical panel. One of the most common reasons is to increase capacity (the amount of electricity the panel can handle) or to increase the number of circuits, if your panel is maxed out. As more and more appliances enter your home, the amount of electricity needed to power them generally increases. Older electrical panels can’t typically handle the added load of multiple new appliances. If you’re planning a remodel or addition, or if you’re installing new power-hungry appliances in your home, you should first consult an electrician to make sure your electrical panel is up to par.

Another important reason to upgrade your electrical panel is if it has become damaged over the years. Panels can be contaminated by water, and any kind of corrosive elements near or on your electrical panel (such as paint) can damage it as well. Finally, older models of electrical panels can become obsolete entirely. Making it harder to repair them – an inconvenient and dangerous situation. If any of the above situations apply in your home, you should upgrade your electrical panel.

Why should you swap out your fuse box?

Fuse boxes are an older form of electrical panel, and while they’re still somewhat common, they’re widely considered less effective (and more hazardous) than circuit breakers. While you can restore power from a circuit breaker with the flip of a switch, fuse boxes require you to manually replace melted fuses. Worse, you risk causing a fire if you install the wrong-size fuse in your fuse box. Finally, unlike circuit breakers, fuse boxes offer no protection against electrocution. Insurance companies often hesitate to cover homes that still have fuse boxes installed for this very reasons, among others. If your home still relies on fuses, it’s a good move to upgrade your electrical panel to a circuit breaker.

Contact TCA Electric for a consultation and quote!

At TCA Electric, we know how crucial an up-to-date electrical system is when it comes to powering your home efficiently and safely. This starts with your electrical panel. We offer a full range of upgrade services for your home, whether it’s simply replacing the existing unit or a complete upgrade to the panel and the wiring around it. Contact us today! Our professional team of electricians is ready to consult with you and bring your home’s electrical system back up to speed.