Your Easy Guide To Electrical Panel Services
We get it - you're not an electrician and you never plan to be. However, you still want to be knowledgeable about your home's electrical system. Electrical panel work is tricky and not something you need all the time. But it's super important that your panel is functioning properly and up-to-date. The electricians at Hydes are happy to share an informative guide on electrical panel services. This guide will help be your go-to resource for understanding the differences between panel replacement, panel upgrade, and panel tune-up.
An electrical panel replacement refers to the process of removing an existing electrical service panel, commonly known as a circuit breaker box or fuse box, and replacing it with a new unit. This procedure involves disconnecting the power supply, removing the old panel, and installing a new panel with updated components and features.
When is Panel Replacement Suggested?
There are various reasons why an electrical panel replacement might be necessary:
- Obsolete or Substandard Panels: If the existing panel is outdated or considered obsolete, meaning that replacement parts, such as breakers, are no longer manufactured, or if it was constructed with substandard materials.
- Damage or Excessive Wear: When the panel has sustained damage, such as a shorted or melted bus bar, or exhibits signs of excessive wear, it may pose safety hazards and require replacement.
- Fire or Heat Exposure: If the panel has been exposed to fire or extreme heat, even if there is no visible damage, the integrity of the panel may be compromised, necessitating replacement for safety reasons.
- Home Renovations or Upgrades: During home renovations or upgrades that increase the electrical load, a larger panel with more circuits may be required. This could include additions like extra air conditioners, electric car chargers, or new appliances.
An electrical panel upgrade involves replacing an existing electrical service panel (commonly known as a circuit breaker box or fuse box) with a new unit that has increased capacity or improved features. This upgrade is undertaken to enhance the electrical capacity and safety of a property, accommodating the growing demand for power due to increased appliances, electronics, or additional electrical loads.
When is it Suggested?
You may want to consider a panel upgrade if you experience the following:
- Insufficient Amperage: If the existing electrical panel has a lower amperage, such as 100 amps, and the electrical needs of the property have outgrown this capacity, an upgrade to a higher amperage, like 200 amps, may be necessary.
- Limited Space: When the existing panel has limited space for additional circuits, and there is a need for more circuits to support new appliances, HVAC systems, or other electrical devices.
- Safety Concerns: If the current panel is outdated, uses obsolete components, or is known for safety issues, upgrading to a modern, safer panel can mitigate potential hazards.
- Home Renovations or Additions: During home renovations or additions, where additional electrical load is required, upgrading the electrical panel ensures it can handle the increased demand.
An electrical panel tune-up, also known as a panel maintenance service, involves inspecting, testing, and optimizing the components of an existing electrical service panel to ensure it functions efficiently and safely. This service is designed to address issues related to breaker performance, circuit sizing, and overall panel functionality without the need for a complete replacement or major upgrade.
When is it Suggested?
Key reasons for considering an electrical panel tune-up include:
- Breaker Performance: Over time, circuit breakers within a panel may show signs of wear or aging. A tune-up involves inspecting each breaker, testing its functionality, and replacing any that show signs of deterioration or failure.
- Incorrect Sizing: In some cases, previous electrical work or modifications may have resulted in improperly sized breakers or mismatched components. A tune-up includes verifying that breakers are appropriately sized for the circuits they control.
- Exposure to Dust and Dirt: Dust and dirt can accumulate inside electrical panels, potentially affecting the performance of breakers and other components. During a tune-up, the panel cover is removed, and any debris is cleaned to prevent interference with electrical connections.
- Outlived Breaker Life Expectancy: Breakers, particularly those in exterior panels, may have a lifespan of around 20 years. A tune-up involves assessing the condition of breakers and replacing those that have exceeded their life expectancy.
Knowledge Is (Electrical) Power
At Hydes, we believe in empowering our customers with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their electrical systems. Understanding the conditions that warrant electrical panel services is crucial for maintaining the safety and efficiency of your electrical system. If you have questions or need professional advice, don't hesitate to contact Hydes. We're here to ensure your electrical panels meet the highest standards of safety and performance.