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What Is an Electrical Service Panel?

Your home has an electrical service panel that all of your electricity runs through. Also called a breaker panel, it is the electronic hub of your home. Before we get into repairing, replacing, and upgrading your home’s electrical panel, we’ll discuss what it is and how it works. It connects the wires from outside your home to the inside, linking your outlets with live electricity. Other common names include fuse box, distribution panel, and load center. This is the first place you should visit when a hairdryer shorts out your lights. The term “tripping the breaker” comes from this panel. It is usually located in your garage or utility room. If flipping the breaker back didn’t solve your problem, you may have an issue with the electrical service panel itself. It’s best to leave electrical work to the professionals at JDM Electrical Contractors.

electrician working on electrical panel

Should I Upgrade My Electrical Service Panel?

Typical service panels last around 25-40 years. It will vary depending on the type of home you have in New Jersey, how old it is, who built it, and what kind of hardware your builders installed. If your home is still working with a fuse box, where you have to replace fuses rather than flip a breaker switch, it’s in your best interest to upgrade to a new model. Most homes built before the 60s had fuse boxes in them. If your house is newer than that, but still at least 20 years old, you may start considering an upgrade. This is due to the ability of homes to handle electricity through them. Older homes had panels that could only handle 60-100 amps while newer models round out at 200 amps. This may be the jump you need to handle electronics and appliances in your home. In today’s modern age, we have a lot of things plugged in, including televisions, computers, speakers, gaming systems, hardworking refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and more. It’s important to make sure that you’re living comfortably with working electricity, and that all stems from the quality of your electrical service panel.

Other Reasons for Replacing Your Breaker Panel

The age of your home isn’t the only factor in upgrading your breaker panel. There are more pressing matters that you should consider. If you notice that your breaker panel is warm or smell a burning or hot scent coming from your service panel, you need to call an electrician immediately. Failure to address these issues could lead to an electrical fire. Other reasons to upgrade your panel include having to reset your tripped circuit breaker often, appliances running at maximum capacity, dimming or flickering lights, finding yourself using more power strips, and after you’ve upgraded a considerable number of large appliances in your home. You shouldn’t have to worry that your new surround sound system or stove won’t function because you don’t have proper electricity flowing through your home.

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