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Electricians in Charlotte, NC

Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Charlotte, NC, has a reputation for being one of the most longstanding communities in the US. The venerable houses demonstrate a lot of mixture of small-town American mixed with the up-and-coming urban growth. Unfortunately, a lot of residents of the area don’t give enough consideration to their electrical panels.

An electrical panel, also known as a load center, or breaker box, is responsible for distributing power to different circuits and protecting them from overloading. Like all equipment, electrical panels need to be upgraded to meet new demands from homeowners from time to time. But how do you know when it’s time to upgrade?

You Live in an Aged Property

Like a fine wine, good properties tend to get better with age. However, older homes tend to lack a lot of the modern upgrades of electrical distribution. Older panels may have a maximum output of sixty amps, enough to get by in the 60s or the 70s. Today’s demands are many more energy-hungry, and homes need at least a 100-amp or 200-amp breaker box. If trips, overloads, or appliance failure plague you or your panel looks corroded, it may be time to consider an upgrade. The NEC recommends a minimum of 100 amps for a house’s main breaker, but if you have an electrical contractor, they’ll advise you on the best size panel for your needs.

Your Electrical Panel Uses Fuses

Before circuit breakers became widespread, the technology of the time used fuses. There is a bit of metal in a fuse that, when it becomes hot enough, melts. If too much electricity flows through the fuse, it blows, taking the circuit off supply and ensuring electrical appliances aren’t damaged. Circuit breakers work in much the same way. Instead of a metal connection that requires fuse replacement, however, breakers use switches that owners can reset as easy as flicking a switch. If your home panel still uses fuses, it’s good to upgrade to a circuit breaker box, since it is more cost-effective and efficient than fuse boxes.

You Need Extension Cords to Meet your Connection Needs

The hallmark of a well-wired house is having an outlet when you need it. If you have one of the older electrical panels, the amount of outgoing connections means that you only have a limited number of sockets you can plug appliances into. Extension cords carry their own brand of safety hazards. Aside from being tripping hazards, those cords can become kinked and break or overheat, leading to electrical fires. If you have to rely on extension cords to power your appliances, it’s time to look at an upgrade for your panel.

electrical-panel-in-homeNot a Good Plan for DIY

It may be tempting to consider a DIY project to replace your electrical panel for an upgrade, but you should be wary. Anything that deals with electricity carries with it the threat of electrical shock. Panels, especially, need to be wired correctly to ensure they function. A malfunctioning breaker box can lead to more than just shorted-out appliances. Additionally, a professional can get the job done in four to eight hours.

In the worst case, it could lead to an electrical fire. LiveWire has been proudly serving the Charlotte, NC community for years. Our skilled technicians have installed hundreds of panels and upgraded hundreds more. If you need an electrical panel upgrade, call us today, and we’ll send someone out to give you an estimate!

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