If you currently own a home or business with an older electrical panel you might be wondering if there are any significant advantages to upgrading your electrical panel.
You may have a reason that makes it necessary to upgrade to a modern breaker electrical panel.
A major renovation or new appliance may require that you will need to upgrade to a modern breaker panel. Doing so will allow you to facilitate more circuits and safety features.
If considering a large renovation such as adding a garage, renewing your kitchen or finishing a basement. You will need to have sufficient circuit capacity.
Consider any additional breakers you will need to power the new circuits. Adding appliances such as a hot tub, air conditioner, or geothermal furnace may also require that you upgrade your electrical panel.
Installing a new electrical panel will allow you to update your home with all the latest safety features. Moving from round fuses to breakers allows resetting circuits without the need to replace parts. This eliminates the potential risk of electrical shock or arcs.
Afci breakers are now enforced by electrical code. Not only do Afci breakers limit circuit ampacity, they also provide a added safety measure for circuits that could be arcing within the walls. This arcing can lead to a house fire.
It is worth noting that gfci breakers are now available as a combination AFCI and GFCI breaker. This is a great option for outdoor receptacles, bathrooms and kitchen circuits. These combination breakers can be added to most modern breaker panels easily.
Upgrading a electrical panel to take advantage of Afci breakers protecting aluminum wiring. Combination AFCI breakers can also add an additional layer of protection to homes with aluminum wiring.
The only true way to fix aluminum wiring is to have it completely removed. However, to mitigate the issue some electricians will “pig tail” the wiring at devices and fixtures. This must be done using approved wiring connectors.
While pig tailing is considered a acceptable wiring method, it also creates more connection points. This is one reason why new copper wiring is preferred. Using afci breakers and “pig tailing” connections at devices and fixtures can protect against loosening wire connections. Loose wiring connections could cause excessive heat or arcing when energized.
Electrical load capacity
Some insurance companies are mandating that the main electrical panel be at least 100 amp rated. This that means if you have a 60 amp electrical panel you will be need to replace it to be compliant.
This may also include changing out the service mast, under ground or overhead service conductors and the meter base. Some hydro utility providers may require the meter base to be changed out to meet specifications.
Increase resale value
Many homeowners may decide to replace their electrical panel due to a higher resale value of their property.
When selling a home you may not get your asking price if potential buyers feel there is too much updating needed to justify your homes value.
Replacing the electrical panel helps build buyer confidence as it is one thing that the new owners wont have to change. It also shows that you have taken initiative to routinely maintain and repair your property.