11 Signs You Need a Panel Upgrade

The electricity went off a couple of weeks ago…We’re thinking the fire had something to do with electrical.

Fire investigator / AZ fire in which 9-year-old died

Your breaker trips and your electricity is on-and-off too frequently. When you check the breaker box, you see a brown, burnt-looking discoloration. Those are 2 critical signs you need a panel upgrade.

No Electrical Problems: Is a Panel Upgrade Necessary?

Your panel is your home’s electrical “distribution point.” It distributes electricity to appliances, outlets, and switches throughout the house. Usually located in the garage or attic, its breakers “trip” (shut off) to alert you there’s a problem.

The median year for houses built in Phoenix, AZ is 1982. This means half of our homes were built after 1982. But half of our homes were built earlier. If there are no problems, a panel box should provide service between 20-30 years. Many homes in Maricopa County and The Valley are due – or overdue – for a panel upgrade.

11 Reasons for an Arizona Panel Upgrade

Today we use more electricity than ever, and our usage is rising. The cost of a 400-amp panel upgrade averages $2,000-$4,000. If you have a 100-amp panel and add a charging station, you may want a panel upgrade to 200 amps. But if you have any of these electrical warning signs, you need a panel upgrade:

  1. Age – If your home was built in the 1980s-1990s using any brand circuit breaker, you should schedule a panel upgrade inspection. In the 1980s, many homes installed Federal Electric Stab-loc circuit breakers. Many of them did not meet UL (Underwriters Laboratories) standards.
  2. Appliance overheating – If an appliance is warm to the touch or emits smoke, it’s overheating. Frayed cords or discoloration at the outlet in which it’s plugged are other signs. Don’t ignore them.
  3. Appliances – Technology has been a game-changer for home appliances. And some appliances are more power-hungry than others. If you’re running the washer/dryer, charging devices, and your hairdryer trips the circuit breaker, you need a panel upgrade.
  4. Discolorations – Brown or blackened spots on your electrical panel signals an electrical emergency.
  5. Flickering lights – A wind storm in which you and your neighbors have flickering lights is one thing. But in fair weather, one room or every room: Flickering lights are a red flag.
  6. Frequent trips – Don’t pack your bags yet. A one-time tripped breaker is inconvenient. Frequent trips are dangerous.
  7. Fuses – If your home’s electrical panel is a fuse box, it’s long overdue for replacement.
  8. Shocks – About 1,000 people die from electrocution every year. Getting little shocks when you touch a light switch or plug-in to an outlet is not okay.
  9. Smell – The electrical burning smell is unique. If you notice it anywhere in your home, contact your electrician. A panel upgrade may be necessary.
  10. Sound – Sizzling, hissing, crackling, popping. If you hear any of these or other sounds from your circuit breaker box, don’t delay. Contact your electrician.
  11. Sparks – You don’t want fireworks in the house, especially coming out of your wall. If you plug an appliance into an outlet and see sparks, don’t use it. Contact your electrical professionals quickly.

Contact TIO Electric For More Information

Turn It On Electric is your Phoenix- and Tucson-area resource for electrical panel upgrades. We adhere to industry best practices for home and family safety. Our team of professionals is trained to repair, maintain, and install the top technological residential and commercial devices and appliances. (And we’re eager to share what we know with you.)

If you suspect you need an electrical panel upgrade, you may be right. If you don’t, we’ll tell you. Your safety is our main priority. Your business is a plus. If you have questions, let’s talk.

Scroll to Top