14 Signs That You Need a Circuit Breaker Panel Replacement

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Posted June 2, 2021

Did you know that your home’s electrical panel can last as long as 40 years? However, if you own an older home or there are signs that your circuit breaker isn’t working, then you need to replace your electrical panel. If you’re wondering if you need to invest in a circuit breaker panel replacement, you might not be sure about the investment. You might be asking yourself questions such as:

“What are the signs that I need to replace my circuit breaker?”

“How can I learn how to replace a circuit breaker panel?”

“What is the cost to replace a circuit breaker panel?”

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might be stressed. You might not be sure if you need to spend the money to replace your circuit breaker. At the same time, you know that if your circuits overload, the results might be disastrous. You could start a fire in your home.

That’s why we’ve put together this article. Once you know all the signs that show your circuit break panel needs to be replaced, you can make the right decision for yourself. Read on to learn more.

1. Your Circuit Breakers Keep Tripping

Turning on a Tripped Circuit Breaker

One of the tell-tale signs that something is wrong with your circuit breaker panel is that your circuit breakers keep tripping. Suddenly, while you’re getting ready for work in the morning, it’s too much for your electrical system to handle making your coffee and powering your hair dryer all at the same time.

It seems like, anytime you have more than one application running, the power goes out in half of your home.

While some people handle this problem by simply turning their circuit breakers off and back on again, this is only a short-term solution when you’re in a rush to get to work in the morning. If this is a problem that keeps occurring, then it can be a serious problem that eventually causes a fire in your home.

Instead of using this short-term solution, call in an expert who specializes in replacing a circuit breaker panel box. They can let you know if an additional solution is needed, such as upgrading your wiring.

2. Your Electrical System Operates on Fuses

If your electrical system operates on fuses, then you should upgrade to a new circuit breaker. Fuses are outdated because they aren’t as safe as modern alternatives. Additionally, many insurance companies will actually penalize you if your circuit breaker system is outdated.

For your safety and to save money, we recommend replacing a circuit breaker panel in this case. Because your system is outdated, we recommend you call an electrician service to handle the panel change. This is safer for you.

This will cost anywhere between $1,800 and $3,100. The average cost is $2,600.

3. Your Circuit Breaker Panel Is Old

Old Circuit Breaker Panel

If you haven’t checked to see how old your circuit breaker is, then you should. If your home is old, your circuit breaker panel might be very old! If your home has had any electrical upgrades (even before you bought it) but your circuit breaker panel has it, chances are it’s time for a change.

In the same way that you would hire an AC service business to replace your AC units if they were old, you should call in an electrician who specializes in replacing a circuit breaker in an electrical panel to deal with this problem. Breakers should be replaced on average every 25-30 years.

Additionally, they can come by to take a look. If your circuit breaker is old but not too old, you can pay for their visit without having to pay around $2,500 for the replacement.

4. The Wrong Amp Wiring

If you’re having problems with your circuit breaker panel, then you should take a look at the number of amps going through your wiring. You can find this number at the top of the panel. Older homes are usually set up for 60 amp wiring. However, this is far too low an amp number for most modern appliances.

A modern home should have 200 amps wiring in order to function properly and safely. Unless you’re living a very old-fashioned lifestyle, this means you need those 200 amps to power all your electric appliances.

Just like you would Google “plumbers near me” if you had a plumbing issue, get in touch with an electrician near you ASAP to change your amp wiring by replacing your circuit breaker panel.

5. The Breaker Trips When You Plug in a Specific Appliance

Kitchen Appliances that Trip the Circuit Breaker Panel

Usually, we only worry if breaker trips happen often. However, if this happens to you when you plug in a specific appliance, this is a sign that your home’s electric system can’t handle this appliance.

If it’s a modern appliance, then you might not have the right type of amp wiring for your home. In this case, you’ll have to replace your circuit breaker panel or the circuit before a fire occurs. You may also need to replace some of your home’s wiring.

Think about it this way. Sometimes, a small problem can actually be a sign of a bigger problem. For example, if you have a clogged toilet, this might be a sign that there’s a bigger problem going on with your sewage system.

In the same way, if you have one appliance that’s giving you trouble when you plug it in, this might be a sign of a bigger problem with your circuit breaker panel.

6. Rust

In the same way that frozen pipe repair is necessary to prevent flooding in your home, replacing a rusty circuit breaker panel is necessary to prevent a fire in your home. If you notice rust on the circuit breaker panel, this means that your circuit breaker panel is in need of replacement.

Look up “electrical repair near me” to find an electrician who can replace your circuit breaker panel for you.

7. A Burning Smell

Homeowner Smells Burning Smell from Circuit Breaker Panel

A burning smell is a sign that something could be seriously wrong with your circuit breaker panel. It’s also a sign that there are other fire hazards present in your home. Bringing in a professional will let you know what’s causing the burning smell in your home.

It might be because your circuit breaker panel needs to be replaced. However, it could also because of other issues.

For this reason, ask the electrician who comes in if they recommend any HVAC service companies or an emergency plumber to fix the issue if it isn’t electricity-related.

8. The Panel is Hot When You Touch It

If your circuit breaker panel is hot when you touch it, this is a sign that there’s something seriously wrong going on with the electrical system in your home. Additionally, if your outlets or switch place are hot when you touch them, that’s a sign something is wrong.

Before a fire starts in your home, have an electrician come over to let you know if you need a circuit breaker panel replacement. They might also present you with other options, such as rewiring some of the areas of your home.

9. Burned Area or Black Spot on the Panel or on an Outlet

Outlet with Smoke Coming Out

If there’s a burned area or black spot on your circuit breaker panel, then it needs to be replaced immediately. This is a sign that the panel is old or is not functioning properly, which could lead to a fire in your home.

Additionally, if there are any burns or black spots on your outlets, this can mean there’s a problem with your electrical wiring system.

This is far more dangerous than your air conditioner or electric water heater not working. You need to address this problem ASAP by getting in touch with a residential electrician.

10. Buzzing

If you hear a buzzing sound coming from your circuit breaker, then it’s probably time for it to be replaced. You should, at least, have an electrician come by to see if it needs to be repaired. This will prevent an electrical fire from occurring in your home since the buzzing could be a sign that sparks will be released from the circuit breaker.

11. Appliance Upgrade

Upgraded HVAC Unit

If you’ve recently had an appliance upgraded, it’s likely you will need to replace your circuit breaker panel. This is because the new appliance may require more amps than what your circuit breaker can handle.

Read the manual that comes with your appliance to see what its amps requirement is. Then, check what the number that appears on your circuit breaker panel is.

If this number is lower than the one on the appliance, you need to replace your circuit breaker panel.

12. Flickering or Dimming Lights

Flickering or dimming lights are a sign that there’s a problem with your home’s electric system. Depending on how this is happening, you may need a circuit breaker panel replacement.

If you have one light that flickers every once in a while, then it’s probably just an issue with its wiring. This is a minor issue, the same way that your furnace taking a little longer to heat up is a minor issue.

However, if it irritates you, you should call an electrician. Handling the wiring yourself puts you at risk of electrocuting yourself.

If it’s several lights throughout your home that are flickering, then it’s a sign that there’s a bigger problem going on. In this case, call an electrician.

If your lights are dimming, then it’s likely there’s a problem with your circuit breaker panel, or it could be with the outside service where the meter is. This is because lights often dim when the load on a circuit is increased.

Finally, if your lights dim anytime you use another appliance—for example, your hairdryer or microwave—then the circuit load of your house’s electricity is too much for your electric system to handle. This can cause your wiring or receptacles to overheat, which is dangerous because it can cause a fire in your home.

In this case, you need to have your circuit breaker panel replaced.

13. Discolored Outlets

Faulty Outlet Discolored by Circuit Breaker Panel

If your outlets are discolored, this is a sign that there’s something seriously wrong with your electrical system. This shows that there are high temperatures in your home’s outlets. This means that there is more current than there should be in them.

Call an electrician immediately to see if you need to replace your circuit breaker panel or some of the wiring in your home.

14. Melted Wires

Another sign that your circuit breaker panel needs to be replaced is melted wires. If your wires are melted, then they’ve overheated because the electrical system is being overworked.

To fix this problem, you need to replace your circuit breaker panel. Once you’ve done this, the amount of electric energy going through your home won’t be too much for it to handle.

Need More Information?

Homeowner Greeting Electrician

Now you know the signs that you’re in need of a circuit breaker panel replacement, you might need additional information. Maybe you want to find out where you can find an electrician near you to do the repair. Or maybe you want to find out if there are additional electrical problems in your home.

Whatever you need, we’re here to help. At Happy Hiller, we’re experts when it comes to circuit breaker panel replacement and repair. We offer many services, whether you need an electrician, plumber, or HVAC expert to come to your home. To learn more, request an appointment.

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