Your Electrical Panel Is Inadequate for Your Needs
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, and you might receive additional appliances, such as the following:
- Electric heater
- Electric cooktop
- High-end refrigerator
If you receive these, your electrical panel is inadequate for your needs. Therefore, upgrading your electric panel is a must.
A great time to replace your electrical panel is before the holiday season. The days following Christmas are usually packed with shoppers, so you can expect prices to be lower than usual.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to ask for quotes from different contractors before choosing your electrician.
You Have Old or Missing Breakers
Missing breakers on a panel can be dangerous, and you might have just noticed that when you checked it this Christmas.
Without them, you’re essentially leaving an open circuit for electricity to flow through. This can cause major power outages and fires. And if you don’t want to deal with either of those things, we recommend installing new breakers ASAP.
If a breaker fails, it can also cause injuries from sparks or heat generated by the failed circuit. And if you’re having a Christmas party, it’d be disastrous if it acts up in the middle of it.
Your Breaker Panel Is Outdated
There are a few reasons why your existing electrical system may not be able to handle your needs anymore, especially that you’ll be using more appliances during Christmas.
The first is that the building code has changed. Since 1971, the National Electrical Code (NEC) has been revised several times and evolved from a set of rules based on experience and judgment to one based on standards that must be met in order to pass inspections.
Second, the size of your home or business has likely changed as well. If you’ve added an addition or converted part of your house into a separate room since the previous Christmas season, it might make sense to rearrange how all those circuits.
It’s to avoid overloaded circuits that could lead to fire hazards or even electrical fires if left unchecked long enough.
Finally, sometimes, people simply don’t have enough breakers available in their existing panels when they need more than those few original breakers provided by whatever company installed them originally.
You Have Aluminum Wiring
If you have aluminum wiring, it’s time to get out. Aluminum wiring can cause fires and power surges that could very well kill someone. And don’t even think about what happens if you have guests coming for Christmas!
It’s not allowed in new construction because of this, but if you have any aluminum wiring in your house—which is likely, considering how common it was for electrical systems back in the day—it should be replaced immediately.
In fact, even if your home was built after 1950 or so, it might still have older-style “knob & tube” wiring (also made with aluminum) under the walls or between floors.
If that’s the case for your house and you’re planning on installing a new electrical panel this season, make sure to get rid of all traces of knob & tube before installing anything else!
You Have a Commercial-Grade Panel in a Residential Home
If you’re using a commercial-grade panel in your home, it’s time to change it. Commercial panels are much more expensive than their residential counterparts (the cost of an upgrade could be thousands of dollars), and they’re also bigger and heavier.
You’ll need to hire an electrician if you want to install one.
Commercial electrical panels can handle higher electrical loads than residential ones can—but that doesn’t mean they’re better suited for your home. If all that extra power isn’t necessary, then upgrading isn’t worth the money or hassle.
In fact, it might cause more problems than you might expect, especially if your in-laws are coming over for the Christmas season. You surely wouldn’t want any electrical mishaps to happen while they’re around.
Upgrading your electrical panel is a big job, but it’s one that you should do sooner rather than later.
You don’t have to face the crowds and high prices of the Christmas season to get it done—and you may even get a break on your insurance premiums if you upgrade before December 31st.
Plus, when all that power flows through your shiny new breaker box, there will be no more worrying about whether or not it can handle the load!