Electrical panels are out of sight, out of mind, so most homeowners aren’t considering when their breaker boxes need to be replaced. However, it’s essential to keep this in mind because outdated circuit breakers can be a safety hazard if not maintained or updated. This article will outline signs you need to replace your electrical circuit breaker panel and the best way to do it.
When you need to replace your electrical panel depends on the brand, location of the box, amount of moisture within the environment, etc. Unfortunately, there’s no industry standard for the panels' lifespan; it’s all based on each manufacturer and the parts and pieces within the panel. Generally speaking, your home’s electrical system must be replaced once the electrical panel has reached its service life. You can consult the manufacturer of the box to find out what this is for your specific model, but the average panel lifespan is 20-50 years.
Upgrading a panel usually means replacing an old one. Older homes built in the 40s and 50s have 100 amp panels or smaller amperage, and today’s electrical requirements are 200 amps or more, depending on if you have a heat pump, electric range, or forced HVAC. During remodels, it’s typical for renovations to include new appliances or additional outlets added, which will exceed the existing panel’s capacity, leading to a panel upgrade. This is why replacement usually needs to happen during home remodels in older homes.
Electrical diagnosis usually requires a licensed electrician to evaluate your circumstances and offer solutions. A design-build company like Better Builders will have a network of trusted trade partners who can provide this service. Because this is a safety issue, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Electrical work is not the time for a DIY unless you are a professional.
For more information on routine home maintenance and how to keep your home in check, please download our eBook, “Redefining Home Maintenance: The Proactive & Essential Guide for Homeowners.”
Marin is the Marketing and Communication manager at Better Builders and has experience in Marketing copywriting and content management. Marin loves to deliver educational articles in a way that empowers homeowners and builds confidence in their home renovation journey.