When Is the Right Time to Upgrade My Electrical Panel?

There are many factors to consider when deciding if your electrical panels need upgrades. Your electrical panel is responsible for the safety of your home’s electrical system and appliances; thus, keeping it in check is crucial.

Depending on your property’s age, you may or may not upgrade your electrical panel. But you will need an upgrade when you start having electrical issues.  

So, what are the typical signs that an electrical panel is screaming for an upgrade? And what are the advantages of doing an upgrade? In this post, we’ll answer these questions, but first, let’s briefly discuss electrical panels. 

History of Electrical Panels

During the early 1950s, households relied on a 30-amp fuse box. But along with the development of the modern age, the amperage needed has also developed. That is why, in the 1960s, homeowners adopted a more safe 60-amp electrical panel. 

Decades passed, and modern homes now require an electrical service of at least 100 amps. Although most households nowadays already use a 100-amp service with a 24-circuit distribution panel, a 60-amp system still exists.

Outdated Electrical Panel Problems

Older homes usually have a 60-amp box with fuses instead of modern breakers. 

Although professional electricians may have kept these old fuse boxes in good shape, old-model panels typically need more space for new circuits. 

A typical 60-amp fuse box may only have a single 240-volt circuit for one large appliance. As a result, it can significantly limit a home with modern electrical appliances and energy needs.

If you have problems with an older fuse box or want to add more circuits to your home, consider upgrading to a 100- or 200-amp panel.

Another significant problem is that you have to upgrade to a 100-amp service to get some insurance coverage. 

Insurance companies in Canada say that a 60-amp service may put your home at risk of overuse and overheating, which could lead to an electrical fire.

When to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

The typical panel has a lifespan ranging from 20 to 30 years, depending on various conditions. However, if you experience faulty wiring or have a rusted, worn-down electrical panel, even if it has yet to reach 30 years, you may need to replace it sooner.

Most electric service companies say that, no matter how old the panel is, it should be checked by a professional every two to three years. Examining your electric panels for a closed lid, dust, dirt, rust, and moisture indicators are all parts of the maintenance and inspection duty.

There are apparent indications that your electrical panel could use an upgrade, including the following:

  • Having a property that is older than 20 years.
  • You’re adding power-hungry appliances or devices to your home.
  • Turning on appliances cause lights to flicker.
  • You have outdated or recalled electrical equipment in your home.
  • Your electrical panel is less than 100 amps.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, hiring a licensed electrician to inspect your electrical panel is a good idea to see how soon you need an upgrade.

For example, as a respected electrician in Maple Ridge, Pacific Star Electric is often called out to jobs where electrical panels simply can’t keep up with the modern changes in our electrical needs.

They can help you determine if an upgrade is necessary, provide a quote for the work, and address any concerns about your home.

Why You Should Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Upgrading your electrical panel can bring financial benefits by adding value to your home. 

For example, if you want to sell your home anytime soon, some potential buyers may perceive old electrical panels as a sign of outdated and poorly maintained electrics.

Replacing your electrical panel will also protect your electronics from damage and ensure you have enough electricity when needed.

Aside from the two mentioned above, an upgrade to your home’s electrical panel can bring numerous other benefits, such as:

  1. Increased safety: The design of modern electrical panels is safer than older models, with features like circuit breakers that trip more quickly in the event of an overload or short circuit.
  2. Better performance: An upgraded electrical panel can provide more consistent power to your home, preventing issues like flickering lights or breakers tripping.
  3. Increased home value: Upgraded electrical systems will increase the of your home, especially if you plan to sell soon.
  4. Reduced energy expenses: An upgraded electrical panel can help you save money on your power bills by ensuring your appliances are running efficiently.

An electrical panel upgrade may also be necessary to add ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to your home as an extra safety measure. 

Contact a licensed electrician to schedule an inspection and discuss your options if you’re experiencing any of the signs above or want to ensure your home’s electrical system is up to date.

How much does upgrading an electrical panel cost?

Upgrading your home’s electrical panel varies on several factors, including the size of your home and the type of panel you choose.

However, on average, homeowners can expect to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for an electrical panel upgrade in Canada.

While this may seem like a significant investment, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits of upgrading your electrical system.

Overall, replacing the electrical panel can provide a safer and more efficient home and help you save money while adding value to your property when you want to sell it.