How to know you need to upgrade your main electrical panel

Written by SolarNinjas Energy Solutions

Think of your main panel like the brain of your house.

It connects everything.

One of the most essential and longest ignored elements of your home is the main electrical panel. SolarNinjas Energy Solutions in Edmonton would like to help you get ready for the future with a full replacement.

The main panel is one of the longest-lasting pieces of equipment made for a home. It’s something you don’t think about often. Homeowners forget about them as they deteriorate beyond functionality and safe operation.  Over the years (decades), they are modified, moved around, and hacked into for expansions and renovations. Eventually, they become a patchwork of multiple generations of products smushed into one (hopefully) robust set of guts.

Your main panel might LOOK new on the outside. It might not suffer obvious/leaky mechanical wear or make noises like a failing furnace or water tank. Naturally, folks ignore them for too long.

How do I know I need a main panel replacement?

A “slow burn” problem goes undiagnosed. Things can be gradually deteriorating without any blatant warning signs. We discover damage to the receptacles and wires and loose connections in the main panel that has caused damage. Often this results in an electrician thinking, “wow, how did this not catch fire?”

Subtle warning signs

Repairs are sometimes possible, but with equipment that’s 30 years old or older, a full replacement is the best choice. Here are some subtle signs you need a main panel replacement:

– Electronic equipment running poorly and failing early, including major appliances & furnaces with modern control boards
– LED lights misbehaving or burning out
– Intermittent problems in weird places with outlets, switches, and devices
– Lights and plugs acting funny, getting progressively worse over the years
– An invisible problem is that some older circuit breakers won’t trip properly. This allows overloading and heat to create fire hazards over time without any indication that something is wrong

Sometimes you can replace the plugs, repair the wire ends, and tighten up the panel connections to buy time and make it safe for longer. Often, the best electricians in Edmonton would recommend the main panel replacement.

Less subtle warning signs

When your panel has had it, a “fast blow” problem occurs. Loose breaker terminations or faulty older circuit breakers result in a burnt, melted, or otherwise non-functional circuit. If this happens, call Edmonton electricians immediately to check it out.

If you’ve noticed a plug that sparks when you plug in the toaster, and then the toaster won’t work anymore – there is an issue. When you notice a smell, maybe not every time but often enough, around the main panel when you go down to do laundry – there is an issue. If your circuits are continually tripping and you’re making regular trips to the panel to reset it – there is an issue.

Bringing it up to code to buy or sell

The main panel will have to be brought up to code when buying or selling a property. Often upgrades are necessary to get a mortgage or to be compliant with your home insurance policy. If the new owner doesn’t like the location of the main panel or it’s in an illegal location like in a bathroom, it will have to be upgraded and moved.

These kinds of upgrades often include pre-planning for the future and solving problems people often don’t know about in advance. That is where hiring a professional electrician with lots of experience is essential.

When your needs change, so must your main panel

If you want a hot tub or air conditioner for your home, you might require a main panel upgrade. Otherwise, these major appliances can exceed your current panel’s capacity and become a severe hazard in older equipment.

You might want to switch to a solar energy system or install an electric vehicle charging station, but you’ll need the space and capacity on your main panel. In this case, the main panel requires an upgrade.

Other home renovations, including new lighting, home theatre systems, or getting that new TV on the wall with no visible wires, might require a main panel upgrade. If you’re adding a second kitchen in the basement or tearing out walls to renovate the main floor, you might find your electrical system is outdated, and you need an upgrade.

If you discover aluminum wiring, you need to call an electrician immediately for an inspection. Aluminum wiring no longer meets modern electrical code and will need to be pigtailed or replaced to be compliant with your home insurance policy.

Main panel swaps are valuable and ensure safety

SolarNinjas can provide electrical main panel upgrades before you discover expensive issues down the road. A panel has an incredibly long life cycle. The decades it will last makes an upgrade one of the highest value and lowest cost per year compared to other upgrades you can make in your home.

Plus, it will make sure your home’s electrical system is running safely, preventing fires, injuries, and worse. SolarNinjas will help you build the right level of world-class infrastructure for whatever future you envision in your home. Learn more in their comprehensive article: Main Panel Swap.


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