One of the responsibilities of living in an older home is knowing when things in your home need to be upgraded. If you live in an older home, that has more than a few decades under its belt, you need to be aware of the signs that your electrical panel needs to be replaced so that you can replace it before you experience any serious electrical issues or consequences.
1. Your Appliances Are Overheating
Your appliances should rarely or never overheat. If your appliances are overheating on a regular basis, or heating up too quickly, that is a real problem. Your appliances may be overheating too quickly because your electrical system cannot support and send the right electrical load to your appliances. This can cause real damage to your appliances over time and cause you to have to replace your appliances long before they should have reached the end of their life.
2. Lights Flicker When You Use Other Appliances
When you turn on your lights, they should stay on and produce the same amount of light the entire time they are on. Flickering lights should be limited to time periods when your entire electrical grid in your area experiences a power surge; your lights should not flicker every time you run the dishwasher, turn on your space heater, or use the microwave. If the power in your house flickers when you use appliances and items that require a high degree of power, that is a very clear sign that your current electrical panel, and overall electrical set-up, is not designed to handle your home's current electrical needs.
3. Breaker Trips When You Use Appliances
Your breaker tripping when you plug in or use certain appliances is another even more serious sign that your electrical panel is not up for the job that you need it to do. Your breaker getting tripped should be a rarity, not something that you have to deal with on a regular basis. If you are constantly running to your breaker box to trip a switch to turn the power back on, and everyone in your house knows where the breaker box is located and how to use it, that is an issue.
4. Burning Around Your Breaker Box
Finally, you should not see burn markers around your breaker box. If you start to see black spots or burns spots near your breaker box or near outlets, that is a strong sign that these outlets and your breaker are being asked to do more than they can handle. The wires in your system are overheating because they are being asked to handle too much all at once.
If your lights flicker all the time, if you have to choose which appliances to run in your home, and if you start to see burn marks around your breaker box and outlets, you need to invest in a new electrical panel and potentially even some new wiring for your older home. For more information, contact your local electrical contractors.