If your home was built before the 1960’s, chances are you have a fuse panel. When circuit panels came about, the fuse panel was deemed unsafe and even many insurance companies refused coverage to homes that did not upgrade. So therefore, many people upgraded to larger fuses not understanding that the larger electrical load was not alone on the fuse but the wires as well. These wires when overloaded can quickly overheat leading to fire. Entire homes in the 60’s used the electricity of what a home today needs to just power a kitchen. As we use more and more gadgets, larger tvs, microwaves, etc. and homes are expanded and get larger and larger, the need for more power and more electrical service is warranted. If you have an undersized or out of date panel, you are at risk for complete shut down or even worse, a dangerous fire.
Another reason to have your panel updated would be due to damage or disrepair. Over the past few years, the storms in the eastern US have caused extensive water damage. Also, improperly installed panels or wires can cause any humidity or moisture to damage your panel. All of the above can lead to corrosion of the panel, malfunctioning circuit breakers, and the failure of breakers to effectively “trip” leading to fire hazard.
Lastly, home additions or even changes to a home can cause the need for a panel upgrade to a larger size. Most homes today begin with an 100 amp panel but as we become a more dependent on devices and appliances, we require larger panel upgrade. Simple additions such as a bar area with large screen tv, new washer/dryer mudroom can lead to a greater power need and put your home at risk. So if you are adding on a new office, workout area, refinishing a basement or even as simple as adding a hot tub to your deck…please consult a professional electrician who can best advise you on what is safe for you home.