If you have been constantly adding new electrical systems to your home like automation wiring or if you have been updating the lighting systems in your kitchen and bathroom, then you should know that some upgrades you make may be placing stress on the overall electrical system of your home. This may lead to the need for a new circuit breaker box. An older home may need one anyway, so look for signs that the circuit breaker panel does indeed need to be replaced.
Breakers Trip Often
Most homes have circuit breaker panels with a dozen or more circuit breakers. These breakers are switches that are connected to a specific electrical circuit in the home. When this circuit is overloaded with electricity or if a short is detected, the breaker switch trips and interrupts the flow of electricity through the circuit. This helps to prevent general damage to the circuit and it also prevents fires from occurring due to overloading and overheating. Most breakers work the way they are supposed to and you will notice them tripping only on occasion. However, if the breakers trip often, then this may be a sign that you need a new circuit breaker panel.
Some breakers will trip often simply because the circuit is unable to handle the electrical load being forced through it. A simple fix that involves moving appliances and other electrical items to other circuits may help this. However, if you plug items into a different socket and breakers continue to trip, then you may be using more electricity than the entire circuit panel can handle. This is very likely if your home is an older one that still has either a 60 or 100 amp panel. Residential electricians now place 200 amp panels in homes. This is standard and it meets the electrical needs of a home now as opposed to the needs of a house in the 1920s.
While a new breaker panel can help to eliminate breaker tripping issues, you should make sure that there are not more than a few outlets on each circuit. Meet with your electrician to discuss the types of appliances and other items that will be used in each room of your home. The professional can then split the outlets in a kitchen, workshop, or laundry room area into two different circuits. Some new wiring will likely be needed to add a new circuit and breaker to the home, but this will reduce breaker tripping concerns.
Your Home Has Sustained Flood Damage
Whether you are currently updating the electrical systems in your home or not, you absolutely will need to have your circuit breaker panel replaced if your house has sustained flood damage. Very few electrical items can remain intact when exposed to water of any kind. Since the panel is intended to keep your home safe from damage across the electrical circuits, it is not wise to allow the panel to remain if it could be damaged in any way. Not only will water likely damage the breakers, the arc plates, and the wiring, but it can also damage the panel box itself. This can cause rust to form, and rust can stop the panel from connecting to the grounding system. The grounding system is essential in moving excess electrical current to the earth in the case of an emergency.
An electrician can complete a survey on your grounding system to make sure it is working properly. The survey can help you and your residential electrician decide whether or not a new ground must be secured when the new electrical panel is secured. The survey should not stop you from investing in a new breaker panel though, because a short can occur between the panel and the ground when water damaged components are left in place.