You might wonder when it’s time to upgrade your circuit breaker box. If you have a home that’s older than 30 years and all of the electrical is original to the house, this is an aspect of home maintenance that you should be aware of. Circuit breakers that are old might not have enough capacity to keep up with today’s needs, or you might even have a fuse box, which is an outdated system. Rather than waiting until you have problems, be aware of some instances in which people commonly choose to upgrade their electrical panel.

Home Addition

If you’re planning on adding onto your home, you might need a new circuit breaker box. As you add electrical wiring, you’ll need another switch to control that part of the home. If your current breaker box is at its capacity, you might need to add another switch. Additionally, circuit breaker boxes are only able to handle so much amperage. If the addition to your home will put your breaker box over its amperage capacity, you’ll need a breaker box that can handle more amps. Additionally, if you’re adding a pool house or guest house, you might need to add a subpanel to control just that addition.

Homes That Still Have Fuse Boxes

Homes that were built in the 1950s or earlier could still have fuse boxes. This type of electrical panel has fuses that burn out, then need replacement. While most homes have been updated, if you’re buying a particularly old home, it’s still possible to find a fuse box. Circuit breaker panels are safer, and they don’t require that you change a fuse every time too much energy has passed through a switch.

Homes That Are Showing Signs of Being at Full Capacity

If the lights in your house sometimes flicker or the breaker shuts off when you’re using multiple appliances, your breaker might be at full capacity, and it might be time to upgrade. Homes today use more energy than they did 20 or 30 years ago because we have more appliances and other gadgets that require electricity. If your electrical panel is at full capacity, you’ll notice signs when you’re using multiple appliances or light fixtures at the same time.

Dangers of Using a Faulty, Outdated, or Insufficient Circuit Breaker

If your circuit breaker isn’t up to the challenges that you place on it, or if it’s simply old and outdated, you’re at an increased risk of fire. Outdated boxes can have connectors that are worn, and they can catch fire. Also, if your wiring is old, your house has an increased risk of having an electrical fire.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s wise to have an electrician come into your home and assess your breaker box and the rest of your electrical system. You might need to update your breaker box, add a subpanel, or upgrade some of your electrical wiring. And even if your breaker box is just getting old, it’s a good idea to have an electrician look at it so that you can plan ahead and do the upgrades before you have an electrical problem.