If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think much about your home’s electrical panel unless you’re given a reason to. However, it’s literally the center of your home’s entire electrical system, so it’s important to know how to tell when it’s time for an upgrade.
Here’s a closer look at what every homeowner should understand about their residential electrical panel, including signs you’re due for a new electrical panel and tips on what to expect from the experience.
Why Electrical Panel Upgrades Are Important
What are the signs?
As a rule, electrical panels tend to have a long shelf life – about 25-40 years or so – so it’s possible for a good option to last a homeowner for decades. However, the age of the panel shouldn’t be your only consideration when determining whether you’re due for an upgrade.
Any changes you might make to your home or to your lifestyle that add up to higher power demands likely mean it’s time to reevaluate your current electrical panel. Home add-ons or major upgrades are pretty much shoo-ins, but so are tech-heavy lifestyles, brand-new big TVs or stereo systems, etc.
Appliances that just don’t run as well as they should
Excessive or growing reliance on power strips to meet power demands
A need to unplug some appliances so that you can use others
Failing to upgrade your panel in the face of high demand can lead to consistency issues and overloads. And if your panel is damaged, outdated, or just plain old, you’re also looking at potential safety hazards, up to and including fire risks. So, this is genuinely an issue you can’t afford to ignore.
What to Expect When Upgrading an Electrical Panel
Now that you’ve determined whether it’s time to consider an upgrade or not, it’s time to go over what you can expect from the process. Here are some key factors to keep in mind as you consider your options and plan your next steps.
One of the biggest concerns people tend to have when considering a panel upgrade is pricing and with good reason. After all, a home electrical system is a crucial safety and functionality feature, so people worry an upgrade will cost a small fortune.
However, the average cost to have your electrical panel professionally upgraded ranges from about $1,300 on the lower end to around $3,000. Costs will naturally be higher for more considerable upgrades or to install an entirely new system, as opposed to upgrading one you already have.
Part of the point of buying a home in the first place is as an investment in your future, so it’s important to look at upgrades the same way. Electrical systems and panels capable of handling the ever-increasing demand of tech-heavy lifestyles are especially crucial if you’re serious about future-proofing your home.
An upgraded electrical panel is also a terrific way to add value to your home, especially if you’re thinking about putting it on the market soon.
One thing DIY home improvement enthusiasts want to know about electrical panel upgrades is whether they’re something they can take care of themselves. And, as with every other DIY project, it really depends on your experience and skill level. So, if you have to wonder whether you can handle the job yourself in the first place, you should leave the job to licensed professionals.
Servicing or upgrading any part of a home’s electrical system involves dealing with high-voltage currents and is extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. That said, it’s really best to trust the job to qualified, experienced experts unless you’re an experienced electrician yourself.
Ultimately, upgrading your residential electrical panel promptly isn’t as daunting or expensive as many people imagine. However, it’s an essential part of owning and caring for a home. So if you know (or suspect) you’re due for an upgrade, don’t wait to take care of it. Get on top of it today, so you can start enjoying a more efficient home tomorrow.
Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design.
Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, https://www.patriciadavisbrowndesigns.com/. She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and eHow.com talent offering design tips.
Dig This Design is an international blog about ALL things DESIGN for your home or business. Consider this your go-to resource to explore the latest ideas, find inspiration, and dream about possibilities
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