Do lights flicker when you plug in another appliance or device?  Circuit breakers trip or fuses blow for no apparent reason? You may need to upgrade your electric panel. An electric panel is the central point that connects the wires from outside to the wires inside your home and how your electric service provider provides electricity to your home. It’s often also called the main breaker box or fuse box. It’s where you go to flip the breakers off and on to get the power on when you’ve tripped the breaker.

If you’ve converted from gas appliances to electric you may also need to add more circuits to an existing box. Electric dryers, stoves, central air conditioners and water heaters require their own circuit because they draw considerable power. 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. Have you noticed that your family’s power usage has increased and feel that you just aren’t getting the power you need? A breaker box upgrade could be the right solution.  Older homes typically have panels that top out at 60 or 100 amps. Newer homes usually have 200-amp panels which fit modern electronics and usage. Today’s electricity needs are greater than before with high-definition televisions, computers, smart refrigerators and other appliances.

You should also consider upgrading your electric panel for safety reasons. Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) was one of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker panels in North America from the 1950s to the 1990s. Original crown molding is lovely, for example, but your home was built between 1950 and 1990 and uses a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with Stab-Lok circuit breakers, you run a significant risk of breaker malfunction and fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical distribution within the home through lamps, light bulbs and lighting fixtures were responsible for most of the fires between 2007 and 2011. Enjoy the character of an older home, just don’t risk your safety!

Your home’s electrical system is constantly being used and the circuit breaker panel is one of its most important parts. It protects you from power surges. When it is not working properly, a disaster can easily occur. 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.