The electric panel serves as a Central Command Center for your electrical system in your home. You can turn power on or off from there, and send it to the various outlets throughout your residence. The panel, which is also called a breaker box, has fuses or circuit breakers that are designed to blow or trip in case of an over- or short-current.

The capacity of the panel is measured in amp units, where 60 amps used to be the standard for residential needs. However, with the advancement in technology, a typical household as a plethora of supersized electronics, and it’s likely that you may need to upgrade your old breaker box.

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When should you Replace your existing Electrical Panel?

There are several obvious indications that you might soon need to replace your electric panel. First, your home insurance might demand that you install a new panel. Secondly, if you notice frequent bugs in your electrical system such as fuses blowing, breakers tripping, or rapidly burning out and flickering lights, all these are signs of trouble.

Thirdly, you could be planning on adding a new significant load onto the electric system, for instance with a purchase of a major electronic system or appliance, using a transfer panel for a standby generator, or performing a remodel that would increase the square footage of your home. Finally, you might be planning to put your house up for sale, and know that upgrading its electrical capacity might be a strong selling point to add value and find a buyer more easily.

What Electrical Panels Should You Get?

The modern electrical panels usually come with the minimum amperage presently allowable of 100, with 150, 200, ad 400 amperes options. The biggest is obviously the most expensive, and it may not be necessarily the best for you. You need to choose the size that will match the daily energy needs of your household, which can be determined by measuring with a power analyzer or conducting a home energy audit.

Other electrical panel upgrades might be necessary as well, such as replacing or repairing the existing wiring, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) for places around the house where electrical equipment might come into contact with water, and arc-fault circuit interrupters for sleeping rooms. The cost of the upgrade will vary depending on the amperage, amount of work needed, and the price of a permit if needed.

Why Should You Get Electrical Panel Upgrades?

Safety is usually one of the most important motivation for an electrical panel upgrades or installation. While it’s still easy to find panels from 30 years or more functioning properly, the level of protection they offer from overload and over-current does not even come close to that of modern panels.

Keep in mind that electrical panel upgrades are a complex and dangerous job, which should only be done by a qualified electrical service contractor. It’s just too risky for you to attempt doing it by yourself. While it might not be necessary to submit a detailed plan for your project, you will be required to have a local building permit to perform the upgrade. Actually, many areas only issue a permit for such sensitive work to licensed master electricians as a safety precaution.