The NFPA (The National Fire Protection Agency) cites electrical fires as being a top cause of residential fires in the United States. Many electrical fires come from old worn wiring or low-grade panels that have been upgraded to support more amps.
Upgrade Electrical Panel – When & Why
Your home’s electrical system centers around the electrical control panel, or breaker box, located in your home. This electrical panel connects your home to power lines fueled by the utility company. The currents running from the electrical panel run to the various circuits throughout your home. Your total electrical usage cannot be more than the amp limit on your panel.
Some homes have electrical panels that hold enough amp limits for their usage. Many other homes are struggling to keep up with electrical demands coming from multiple device users. This is not even including regular appliance amp usage. This is just a sample of some of the amp requirements for your daily appliances and devices.
- Desktop computer – 3.5 Amps
- Laptop computer – 1.6 Amps
- Electric Stove – 50 Amps
- Central Air Conditioners 30 Amps
- Blow Dryers and Flat Irons – 18 Amps
- iPad/ iPhone charger – 2.1 Amps
Each of these appliances or devices may not seem like a lot of energy use, but when used together or including multiple devices charging at once, it can overwhelm even the best electrical panel. The minimum amp amount for homes is currently 100 amp, for homes with many devices, an electrical panel upgrade might be necessary. Nipper Electric can help you understand your electrical amp usage and find the perfect fit.
Older homes were built to last, but they are either don’t meet amp requirements or are struggling to keep up with multiple device users. Homes built anytime during the 1800s to the mid-1900s used a knob and tube wiring system. The ceramic knobs that are used to hold wiring wear down over time. This can be dangerous for homeowners. Here are some clues that it might be time to ask Nipper Electric, “Should I upgrade my electrical panel?”
- Circuit-breakers that trip often.
- Sparking and/or popping win plugging into outlets. This can mean a loose wire.
- Rust on the electrical panel or meter could be a sign of water leaks.
- Plugs that no longer have a tight fit. This could be a sign of worn contacts which are a big fire hazard.
- Switches that don’t work well, with lights going on and off and on again. This is another sign that contacts are beginning to fail.
- Outlets that are giving off any heat.
- Lots of extension cord usage. Too many extension cords can overload your circuit. A skilled electrician can add outlets.
Even newer homes will require you to do panel upgrades every 30 years. Newer electrical panels have numbered switches, called circuit breakers. With a chart inside the door of the electrical panel, you have all the information you need about which circuits control which areas of your home. An unlabeled electrical panel needs a detailed list of the circuits and what they control on the inside of the panel door to enable you to use the panel effectively. Let us install a new electrical panel before something goes wrong.
Cost To Upgrade Electrical Panel
As with any improvements, electrical panel upgrade cost can become a major concern for homeowners. The cost of any electrical panel replacement / upgrade is going to depend on the amount of AMP installed. If the job is upgrading electrical panel from 100 to 200, cost is anywhere from $1,299 to $1,999 while a 400 Amp panel can go to $4,000. The 200 Amp panel upgrade is one of the most common ones requested.
In any case, always call a trained and certified electrician. Electrical work will need certain permits and inspections for home insurance to cover work. The only way you to do upgrade electrical panel without permit is for limited maintenance on your home. But even with small maintenance you can run into problems. A skilled electrician will know which Amp power you need and which permits you will need to start work. NipperElectric can answer any questions and concerns you have, such as:
- Electrical panel upgrade cost.
- Upgrading electrical panel from 100 to 200 cost.
- Any electrical service upgrade concerns.
- The difference between a 200 Amp panel upgrade and a higher amp upgrade.
- Which panel upgrade permit do I need?
- Can I do an electrical panel replacement without permit?
- What do I need for my electrical wiring home panel upgrade?
- How long does it take to perform electrical service upgrade from start to end?
If you are looking to follow requirements or stay safe, a professional and experienced electrician in Virginia Beach, Virginia is your best bet. It is not a good idea to try an upgrade electrical panel DIY. Electrical wiring work is tricky and dangerous. Our team has the skills needed to protect your home or business.
Nipper Electric Inc. also offers a lifetime warranty (up to 25 years) on our labor. While the material is warrantied by manufacturers, we feel so strongly about our work that we will stand by it.
To learn more about our warranties, call us at 757-842-1710 or schedule an appointment online today.