Knowing when to upgrade your building’s electrical panel can save you money and ensure the safety of your building. But how do you know when it’s time to upgrade? First, let’s review the basics.
An electrical panel is a box used to receive and regulate the electrical supply to a building. It receives the external wires that supply the building with electricity from the electrical provider APS or SRP. Downstream of the electrical panel, wires are distributed to every area of the building. This is how each area receives its electricity supply. As a result of this function, an electrical panel is regarded as the “heart” of a building.
An electrical panel is made up of several circuit breakers, including a big “main ” circuit breaker and smaller “branch” circuit breakers. The main circuit breaker controls the electricity supply for the whole building. In turn, the smaller branch circuit breakers regulate the electricity supply in specific areas of the building. Consequently, electrical panels are also referred to as the “brains” of the building.
Types of electrical panels include:
- Main breaker panel
- Main lug panel
- Sub panel
- Transfer switch
- Fuse box
Circuit breakers are categorized according to the electrical load they can carry. Some examples are 15, 20, 40, 50, 60, 100 and 200-amp circuit breakers.
The Importance of an Electrical Panel
Effective Electricity Supply
Electrical panels act as the bridge between the external and internal wires of a building. The external wires are the ones supplying electricity to the building. If the connection isn’t secure or effective, the internal wires wouldn’t be able to receive adequate electricity to power the building. An electrical panel provides a safe and efficient point of connection.
Efficient Electricity Distribution
The fact that electricity is successfully supplied to a building doesn’t mean that every part of that building is automatically receiving adequate electricity supply. An effective system of distribution needs to be put in place to ensure that every electrical outlet in the building is efficiently supplied with electricity. An electrical panel channels the electricity it receives to every part of the building in a systematic fashion.
Safe Management of Electric Current
Electrical panels are made up of several circuit breakers. As mentioned earlier, these circuit breakers are classified according to how much electric current they can carry. When these circuit breakers are installed in the electrical panel, it is intended that a certain amount of electrical load should flow through them. This is done to regulate the amount of electric current that is supplied to the part of the building the circuit breaker covers. If the electric current exceeds what is intended, the circuit breaker trips. This helps protect the electrical equipment and installations in the building.
Ease of Operations and Repair
An electrical panel ensures that the electricity supply to every part of the building is systemic and segmented. This makes it easy for the electrical connections for a part of the building to be easily traced and isolated. As a result, a part of the building can have electrical issues, but those issues will remain localized in that area. Also, electrical faults in one aspect of the building can be easily identified and repaired. This can be done without affecting the other parts of the building.
Why You Need to Upgrade Electrical Panel
Like every other important piece of electrical equipment, electrical panels must be well maintained to function properly.
An aspect of maintenance includes upgrading it. You may wonder, “Is it worth upgrading?” Short answer: Yes! Here are five reasons why you should upgrade your electrical panel.
1. If Your Electrical Panel Is Over 25 Years Old
Electrical panels are highly durable. They are made from metal, ceramic and other materials that are weather- and fire-resistant. As such, electrical panels can last for a very long time.
However, just because an electrical panel is still functional after decades of use does not mean it is still the best fit for your building. As a matter of principle, at Hawkeye Electric, we recommend that an electrical panel be upgraded once it is older than 25 years. This recommendation takes into account the fact that a lot of technological changes have happened within that period. It also takes into account the wear and tear that the electrical panel has accumulated over decades of constant use.
2. If Your Power Demand Has Increased
A good reason to upgrade your electrical panel is if your need for electric power has become higher than what it used to be. Your electrical panel is designed to carry specific amounts of electrical load. At installation, the electrical panel would be capable of handling the energy needs of the electrical equipment in the building at that time. However, as time goes on, this electrical equipment is replaced. Most times, more equipment is installed in the building. This will lead to an increase in the demand for electric power. Your current electrical panel might not be able to meet the current needs, and, as such, you will need to upgrade your electrical panel.
3. If You Are Experiencing Frequent Electrical Faults
One of the main functions of an electrical panel is to ensure the smooth supply and distribution of electricity. When problems repeatedly occur, such as the power tripping off, burnt wires or equipment blowing up due to high voltage, it is a sign that your electrical panel is faulty. Frequent power surges and outages are indicators that the electrical panel can no longer carry the electrical load of the building efficiently. At this point, it is advisable to upgrade it.
4. If You Want To Reduce Your Insurance Premium
A recent electrical panel reduces the risk of fire outbreaks. As such, an up-to-date electrical panel can improve the safety of a building.
Upgrading your electrical panel can help reduce the amount that you’ll have to pay for the building’s insurance. This is because having an up-to-date electrical panel is considered a significant safety feature. As a result, the house is considered less risky, and the premium paid will be lower. The insurance discount is more significant when you upgrade from the old fuse-box model to the current circuit-breaker panel model.
5. If You Need To Reduce Electrical Bills
Older models of electrical panels are not as efficient in utilizing electrical power as the more recent models. As a result, they consume more electrical energy. Consequently, you will find yourself paying more for electrical bills than you should.
If you find your electric bills rising when your electricity spending habits haven’t, you should consider upgrading your electrical panel.
Do You Need Professional Electrical Support? Contact Hawkeye Electric Today!
Hawkeye Electric is a team of highly trained and experienced professionals based in Phoenix, Arizona. For over 23 years, we have been at the forefront of handling the electrical needs of so many businesses. We pride ourselves on excellent customer satisfaction and top-notch professionalism. Contact us today and discover how we can help you tackle your electrical challenge.