When Should I Replace My Electrical Panel?

January 6, 2023

Though a new HVAC system doesn’t always require a new electrical panel, it’s sometimes a necessity — especially if your system is more than 25 years old. When your HVAC company assesses your home for a new system, they may suggest that an electrician look at your panel to make sure your electrical system is up to the task.

What does my electrical panel do?

Electricity flows into your home through a line from your utility company, through your meter, and directly into your electrical panel. This panel, also called a circuit breaker box, then safely routes power to different areas throughout your home.

The electrical panel — typically a gray box in the wall of a utility room, basement, garage, or other out-of-the-way area — contains a series of switches you can manually turn off (if you need to install a light, for instance) or that switch themselves off if a circuit is overloaded in a particular area.

How do I know when my electrical panel needs to be replaced?

The age of your panel is the first thing to consider: Once it’s more than 25 years old, it may not be up to the task.

The second is to observe the way your panel’s behaving — it may tell you when it needs to be replaced. Odd sounds could be a sign that its days are numbered. Sparking is a red flag. So is smoke. 

To determine when the time is right for a new electrical panel, consider these signs:

  • Panel is more than 25 years old.
  • Lights flicker frequently.
  • Frequent power surges.
  • The breakers keep tripping.
  • Sparking or smoke.
  • Panel is hot to the touch.
  • Panel is making strange noises (think humming or clicking).
  • Panel is rusted or broken.

If your panel has any of these signs, have it assessed by an electrician who can make the ultimate call about whether it’s fixable or needs to be replaced. 

I’m good at YouTube. Can’t I replace my own electrical panel to save money?

Unless you’re a licensed electrician, you shouldn’t. Without the right experience, replacing your own panel could lead to faulty electrical work which can put you or others at risk for electrical shock or your home at risk of fire. 

Hire a qualified electrician to do it. Full stop.

What’s the process for getting a new electrical panel and a new HVAC system?

We can bundle your new electrical panel work with your new HVAC installation so you can get it done all at once: one contract; one service call. We can also roll the cost to replace the panel into any special financing arrangements.

Sidenote: when you have your panel replaced, you may also want to opt for whole-house surge protection to protect your electronics or add additional circuits for increased convenience. Bonus!

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