Do I Need a New (Higher Amp) Electrical Panel/Box?

2014 Aug 19
Posted in: Electrical

Does this sound familiar?

Your circuit breakers randomly trip from using everyday appliances (like your microwave).

It’s annoying and can potentially damage sensitive electronics. So maybe you think you need a larger electrical panel to handle more electrical devices in your home, right?

Well, you may. But hold on.

Upgrading to a new panel could cost you big time—anywhere from $1,400 to $6,000 (depending what you’re upgrading to).

And if your home is 50+ years old, it will also need rewiring to handle to heavier electrical load. That adds even more to the cost.

So before you think about upgrading your panel, determine if your problems aren’t caused by other things.

3 things that cause circuit breakers to trip

A circuit breaker shuts off electricity flow (or “trips”) when appliances draw more electricity past what the circuit breaker is rated for. So if you have a 15-amp circuit, and appliances draw 20 amps, the circuit breaker will trip.

The 3 main reasons circuit breakers trip are due to a(n):

  • Overloaded Circuit
  • Short Circuit
  • Ground Fault

The short circuit and ground fault are caused by things that need repairing.

The overloaded circuit could be caused by several things, like an overheating air conditioner. Or maybe you just have too many appliances drawing electricity from one circuit and the appliances need redistributing to different or separate circuits.

So if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, that does not necessarily mean you need a new main electrical panel.

Learn more about what causes a circuit breaker to trip.

When you DO need to upgrade to a new panel

Upgrade to a new panel when you...

  • Currently have a fuse panel (which are dangerous)
  • Redistributed power as best you can but still lack the power you need
  • Maxed out the number of circuits you can add to the panel, but still need more power

...then you should upgrade to a new/larger main electrical panel.

Electrical panels in Arizona last approximately 25-30 years on average. These times can vary depending on where the panel is located on the home. If the panel is placed on the hot side of the home in the sun versus the shaded side of the home it will not last as long. Proper annual maintenance will extend the lifespan of the panel and help to minimize repair expenses caused by neglect as wires and connections expand and contract in our climate variations and they need to be tested and tightened periodically.

Need help from a professional electrician?

Contact George Brazil to get a free installation estimate for a new electrical panel.

George Brazil has been keeping Phoenix-area homes safe, comfortable and energy efficient since 1955. Contact us online for more information about any of our services.
Contact us online