Time to Upgrade Your Home Electrical Panel
Do You Have Enough Electrical Capacity to Handle an Appliance Upgrade? Know When It’s Time to Upgrade Your Home Electrical Panel
The newest large-screen television … an espresso machine … the wine refrigerator you always wanted.
Upgrading your appliances can make your life easier and provide new lifestyle options. In addition, today’s technology offers energy-saving devices that can significantly reduce your electric bill. However, before upgrading it is important to consider the capacity of your home’s electrical system to handle these new devices.
The first place to begin is your home’s electrical panel. This is the heart of an electrical system; it distributes electricity to each room, appliance and device. Panels can experience problems at any age; however, the likelihood increases with time. The life expectancy of an electrical panel is 30 to 40 years.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, at least 50 percent of homes potentially have an obsolete electrical panel. The signs of an aging or outdated panel can be difficult to detect. Perhaps a light continually flickers or dims momentarily. Maybe an outlet works intermittently, or perhaps you have circuit breakers which trip often. One or more of these symptoms are indicative of a panel that may need immediate attention.
“Obsolete electrical panels can short out your refrigerator or that new television,” Eddie, Lead Electrician of ElectricQuest, said. “But a faulty electrical panel can lead to even bigger troubles. They’re one of the leading causes of home fires. That’s something no one wants to face.”
If you have an older home – and especially if you plan to upgrade your electrical appliances – you should consider upgrading your electric panel, as well as the electrical wiring and other system components. Older electrical systems were not designed to handle today’s modern appliances. Current technology can improve the safety and reliability of a home’s electrical system and increase efficiency when using the latest appliances.
In addition to problems with old or obsolete electrical panels, there are other things to consider before upgrading your appliances. For example, older electrical systems were often designed for 60-amp (four fuses) or even 30-amp (two fuses) service. Electrical upgrades can bring your home up to 100 or even 200-amp service. This extra capacity will be more than enough to handle modern electronics and appliances.
Additionally, older wiring can present safety hazards that can be corrected only by a wiring upgrade. Homes built before 1960 typically feature wiring wrapped in rubberized fabric that provides little insulation when the material becomes brittle and frayed. Substandard insulation can be a problem in crawlspaces and attics. Homes built in the 1960s and 1970s frequently were built using aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring can loosen over time; causing electrical shorts and overheating that can lead to fires.
Upgrading your electrical system will provide the infrastructure for a more satisfying lifestyle and insure a safe environment. It is therefore critical to consult an expert before upgrading your appliances and other electrical devices. Eddie pointed out that the technicians at ElectricQuest have the professional training, expertise and experience to evaluate a home’s electrical panel and wiring as a critical step before upgrading electrical appliances.
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