There is often so little thought given to the electrical panel that when a breaker does trip, it may take some hunting to find where the panel is located. And often, it is fine to leave your electrical panel alone, as it is best not to mess with it.
However, if your electrical panel is outdated, it can represent a significant fire hazard. Out of date, electrical panels are unable to regulate the flow of electricity properly, leading to electrical overloads. If you are unsure if you should be concerned about your electrical panel, our electricians here at HedgeHog Electric is here to help!
Older Homes Are Likely Have Out of Date Electrical Panels
Your average electrical panel lasts between 20-40 years. That range is pretty big, but since not all electrical panels are made with the same quality construction, it is difficult to narrow the range. Either way, around the 20-year mark, you will want to start having your electrical panel checked to make sure it is operating correctly.
Problem is, it’s not like there is a date you can check on most electrical panels to make sure it is not out of date. An easy way to determine if your electrical panel is out of date is if you have an older home.
Homes built by 1998 or before then are more likely to have older electrical panels that are out of date and maybe a fire hazard. So, if your home is over 20 years, it is in your best interest to have one of our electricians come to inspect and test your electrical panel.
Signs That an Electrical Panel is Too Old
Just having an older home is not always enough of a sign that your electrical panel is out of date for some people to count on. Below are some of the other signs that your electrical panel is too old and needs to be replaced.
Rust On The Panel
While rust isn’t always a sign of age, it does mean that your electrical panel has been compromised. Rather than leave a rusted panel in place, it is best that you have it professionally replaced so that your home can be kept safe with an electrical panel that will work properly.
Defunct Electrical Panel Brand
There are several electrical panel brands that have become defunct due to the many electrical fires that have occurred. These electrical fires happened because of flaws in the manufacturing of the electrical panels. However, while the available ones were recalled, there are plenty of these defective electrical panels that made their way into many homes.
Old electrical panel brands that should be replaced include:
- Federal Pacific
If you have any of these out-of-date brands of electrical panel in your home, you should definitely have the panel replaced, as they have a proven track record of failure.
Fuse-Based Electrical Panel
When it comes to fuse-based electrical panels, the danger doesn’t come from something wrong with the electrical panel itself. However, this style of electrical panels is out of date, as most fuse panels are not up to modern electrical power draw standards.
Some people try to compensate for this problem by placing fuses in the panel that are too large for the electrical system, which can lead to an overload and electrical fire. Instead of running this risk, it is best to have fuse-based electrical panels replaced with a modern circuit breaker electrical panel.
Circuit Breakers Shut Off Too Often
While circuit breakers are meant to pop and shut off power, if they do it too frequently, that can mean that there is an issue with the electrical panel. In some cases, this circumstance can be resolved by having the circuit breaker replaced, but if the panel is out of date, it may require that the entire unit needs to be replaced.
Loose Wires In The Panel
In most modern home electrical panels, there aren’t any visible wires when you open the door and look at the circuit breakers. Some older electrical panels—as well as some commercial-grade electrical panels—have wires visible, but these should be neat and properly contained.
But if you open your electrical panel and there is a loose wire or a mess of wires, you should have it addressed by one of our electricians immediately.
Have Your Electrical Panel Checked by HedgeHog Electric
Taking care of your home or business electrical system is best done proactively. That’s why HedgeHog Electric offers an electrical inspection service, where our electricians come and examine your electrical system to ensure it is working in top shape.
To schedule an electrical inspection for your electrical panel, contact us. One of our electricians can help make sure that your electrical panel is not out of date and is operating as it should.