Is Your Electrical Panel Overpowered?

Written on: October 2, 2023

AFC helps keep the power flowing smoothly in your home

electric service clinton, me You likely don’t think about your home’s electrical panel much. It’s there, in the garage, mudroom, or basement, sending electricity around your home as it’s supposed to.

But it’s good to think about it every so often. If it’s not functioning properly, it’s at best a hassle and at worst a safety hazard. Fortunately, AFC is here to help with electrical services from our team of licensed, insured, and skilled electricians. We can help determine what’s needed, whether it’s repairs or electrical panel replacement.

What is an electrical panel?

The main service panel functions as the central hub for all the electricity in a home. It acts as a switchboard, receiving power from the utility company and distributing it to individual circuits that provide electricity to lights, outlets, appliances, and other devices throughout the house. With the exception of the incoming utility power, all other electrical connections can be controlled and managed from the main service panel.

A service panel is a sturdy steel box with a hinged door or lift-up panel on the front. When the door is open, you have access to all the circuit breakers in the panel. Typically, one panel supplies power to the entire house. However, there may also be a smaller panel known as a subpanel, which is used to serve a specific area like an addition, a shed, or a detached garage. While a subpanel functions similarly to a main service panel, it is fed by the home’s main panel rather than directly from the utility lines.

What happens if my electrical panel is overloaded?

Each circuit breaker is equipped with a lever that can manually switch it between the ON and OFF positions. If a circuit breaker trips, typically due to an overload or other circuit issue, the lever will automatically move to a third position located between ON and OFF.

When this happens, you need to manually turn the circuit breaker back to the ON position.

When should I upgrade my electrical panel?

There are many reasons you may need to replace or upgrade your home’s electrical panel.

One is age. If you live in an older home and your electrical panel has fuses rather than circuit breakers (which have been standard since the 1960s), it’s time to upgrade. Even if you have circuit breakers, most electrical panels have a life expectancy of around 30 years.

Are you regularly having to go to the electrical panel and turn a breaker back on? That’s a sign that the electrical demand in your home is becoming too much for your electrical panel. Have AFC come out to take a look at it.

If you’re considering building an addition onto your home, converting an attic or sunporch into livable space, upgrading a major electrical appliance, or installing an electric vehicle charger (something else AFC can do for you!), you may need to upgrade your electrical panel to handle the increased load.

If you discover that your panel lacks sufficient space for additional circuits, we can install a subpanel to expand it without altering the overall service level.

You can trust AFC with safe, expert electrical services! Contact us when you need help with your home’s electrical needs.