Does Your Home Need a Bigger Breaker Box?

All homes either have a fuse or circuit breaker box into which all the wiring in the home runs. The purpose of the box is to house the fuses or circuit breakers that trip when the electrical load exceeds the circuit’s capacity. The fuse will burn out or the breaker will trip to prevent electrical fires.

Older homes are far more likely to need larger boxes, since decades ago, far fewer appliances and devices were in use than they are today. Now it’s not uncommon for homes to have multiple refrigerators or freezers, cooking appliances, hair dryers, and other high voltage appliances in use daily.

The Existing Box Is Full

Room air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers may plug into a standard electrical outlet, but to be safe, they should be on a dedicated circuit. They may not run continuously, but when they share a circuit breaker with other outlets and switches, that particular circuit could be overloaded. If your existing box doesn’t have room, it’s less expensive and safer to replace the box with a larger one than it is to add another box, also called a subpanel.

Converting from gas appliances to electric is another common reason for adding more circuits to an existing box. Electric dryers, stoves, central air conditioners, and water heaters require their own circuit, since they draw considerable power.

A Burned Bus Bar

A bus bar in a circuit breaker box is a strip of copper or copper-aluminum alloy that may be damaged when the power load exceeds its capacity, from a power surge, or lightning strike. In order to use that circuit again, you’ll have to replace it with a new box. While it doesn’t necessarily require a larger box, it’s usually a good idea to increase the size to ensure that you’ll have room for expansion in the future.

The licensed electricians at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing can help you determine whether you need a larger breaker box for your home. We’ve provided trusted home services for homeowners in the greater Cincinnati area since 1910.

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
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"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
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