How to Tell It’s Time to Replace a Circuit Breaker Box

January 24, 2022 5:42 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Electrical panels, like any other piece of equipment, do have an expiration date. At a certain point, your circuit breaker box will no longer be sufficient for meeting your electrical needs or will simply become worn down or outdated. When this happens, it is important for you to invest in a replacement.

But how do you determine when to replace a circuit breaker box? Here are a few telltale signs that it is time to take the leap:

  • The box is at least 25 years old: Even if the circuit breaker box is still functioning okay, it’s probably time to start thinking about a replacement if it’s surpassed 25 years old. Most electrical panels should last 25 to 35 years, but after 25 years, there are more likely to be issues with power surges, general wear and tear and insufficient breaker capacity. At the very least, you should have electricians more frequently inspect your panel after it gets to be that old.
  • You frequently have issues with breakers tripping: Frequently-tripping breakers is a sign that there’s too much power coming through your electrical system, that you need an upgraded electrical panel or both. If you find simply flipping the breakers back in place is merely a temporary fix, you should have a professional analyze your system.
  • You’ve noticed burning smells: If you notice visible signs of burning or a burning smell, this is an immediate danger, and you should seek emergency assistance from an electrician. When circuit breaker panels begin to fail, they could start to overheat and cause a potential house fire that could turn destructive and dangerous in a hurry. Do not delay a moment when you notice these signs.
  • You don’t have enough outlets: Electrical panels are only designed with so much capacity for breakers and outlets. This is not a problem you should fix with power strips around your home—you should never place too much strain on a single circuit. Upgrading your electrical panel can provide you with more space for additional circuits and, thus, more outlets around your home. This is likely to be an issue for people with older homes that were built before the proliferation of all the electrical and electronic devices we use today.
  • You still have fuses: Electrical panels that use fuses can still be safe, but they’re inconvenient because if a fuse blows, you have to replace it rather than just being able to flip it back on. Today’s homes are built with circuit breakers because of their convenience, so if you still have a fuse box in your home, it can be worth investing in an upgrade to a circuit breaker panel.
  • You notice rust: Rust indicates there has been water damage to the electrical panel, which could be problematic for your system depending on when that damage occurred. Replace any rusted panels, and make sure there is no existing problem that could lead to future water damage.

Need some more tips to figure out how to tell it’s time to replace a circuit breaker? Contact our team at Duke Electric Company today.

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