An electrical panel regulates all the electricity coursing through your home. It’s safe to say it’s an important piece of equipment whose value has only grown over the past 20 years as homes become “smarter” and have more devices that rely on electricity.
As your home gets older so, too, does its electrical panel and it may have a difficult time keeping up with all the demands placed on it. Appliances, TVs and monitors, HVAC systems, computers, lighting, and other equipment are increasingly energy-efficient, but still need a lot of electricity.
If your home’s panel is more than 10 years old, it may be time for an upgrade. Fortunately, we’ve performed many electrical panel upgrades in the Santa Rosa area and can help you determine if now’s the time to boost the power of yours.
How Electrical Panels Work
The power meter on the outside of your home is connected to a main power line from your local utility company. The line then goes directly to the electrical panel, typically located in a basement, utility room, garage, or closet.
The electrical panel contains rows of switches. These are circuit breakers and they distribute the power line into smaller lines also known as branch lines. You may see some switches doubled or tripled together. Those are for powering equipment and appliances that require larger loads, such as dryers and HVAC systems. Each switch should be labeled with the outlet it serves and how many amps the line can carry before the breaker “trips.” There’s also a main power breaker that you can use to turn the entire system off and on.
What to Look For
Some older electrical panels simply fail, but far more often any problems you’re experiencing, such as flickering lights, come from overloaded circuits. Other signs your panel needs an update include:
- Crackling sounds from the panel itself.
- Corrosion and rust on circuit breakers.
- Appliances running at less than full power.
- Overuse of extension cords and power strips.
Other things to check out are if your home has 60-amp service, or has 100-amp service but still can’t operate some of your appliances. If your home’s electrical panel is older than 25 years, it’s possible it has a serious design defect that would also call for an entire replacement.
When to Upgrade
Cost-wise, the best time to do an electrical panel upgrade on your Santa Rosa home is when you’re remodeling or renovating. That way, the labor costs are worked into the remodeling budget.
The average cost to upgrade an electrical panel ranges anywhere from $850 to over $3,000, depending on what work is being done. While this can be a major investment, it’s one that will inevitably need to take place if you stay in your home for an extended time. In the long term, upgrading the panel makes financial sense when you factor in homeowners insurance and safety concerns.
Electrical Panel Upgrades in Santa Rosa
Unsure if you need to upgrade your home electrical panel? The best way to determine if you do is by talking with a qualified, licensed residential electrician who can recommend the right amount of power for your needs.
If your home is more than a generation old, or you’re experiencing poor service, an upgrade is essential. Spyrka Electric provides a full range of reliable services, including electrical panel upgrades in Santa Rosa. Our family-owned business is fully-licensed and insured and ready to get started on your panel upgrade today.
To learn more, contact us by phone, email, or online to schedule an appointment with one of our expert electricians.