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When To Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Picture this,

Every night you get home from work, make yourself a nice glass of ice-tea, go sit in your backyard in your favorite rocking chair, but something feels like it is missing. There is just one thing that could make that night better. A hot tub. Everyone loves hot tubs.

So you decided to bite the bullet and get one.

You go to the big tent at your local fair. The tent where they have every hot tub imaginable. They have the hot tubs that are so big one can swim in them, they have the hot tubs that have their own mini bar in them.

You go in, see the perfect hot tub, not too big, not too small, it was just right.

You had the hot tub sent to your house.

The delivery guys, most likely two brothers that run their own company, take the hot tub out of the truck, take it into your backyard and set it up right on your porch, right next to your favorite chair.

You pull out the instructions on how to set up your new hot tub, you get everything plugged in and the water running ready to fill her up.

Then, you go into your kitchen to get a nice glass of ice tea, which you deserve after a long day of getting your dream hot tub.

You walk into your kitchen, go to flip the lights on, and nothing happens. Then the lights slowly flicker on, but they are faint if anything.

You know what this means?

It is time to upgrade your electric panel.

Your homes electric panel.

An electric panel is much like the human heart. It consists of a series of circuit breakers and fuses. From here all of your home’s electrical systems travel through your house like the body’s circulatory system. The circuits that carry electricity to all the plugs, lights and appliances in your home are like your veins and arteries. What the panel does is determine how much power is available for the rest of the house, but when you plug in something large, like your new hot tub, it will take an immense amount of power for that to run and, if your panel is too old, or not powerful enough, it may trip, or worse.

If you are losing power or the panel is tripping when you have your hot tub on, then this likely means that your current electrical panel does not provide Adequate energy.

Standard electric panels provide 100, 150, 200, or 400 amps of power, and anything less than this is illegal, unfortunately, if your electrical usage exceeds your amp capacity, your circuit breakers will trip whenever you attempt to power the appliance, meaning your lights go off, everything.

This is just one of the many reasons that one may need to get a new electric panel. If you do make a large purchase that will take a lot of voltage, then you will have to invest in a new panel.

More reasons to get a new electrical panel:

If you live in an older home, one where you may have faulty wires from years ago. Such as my home, the house that I grew up in, the house that is built on a slant with holes in the walls.

That would be a house that has a pretty good chance of having faulty wires. Unfortunately, this can many times lead to a residential fire. The older your house may be, the higher the risk of a fire caused by faulty wiring.

Older house were also built with fewer amps then houses today. When these older houses were built there were built with only 30, 50 or 60 amps for the entire home, using just a few circuits.

The best way find out if you do have faulty wires is to bring in a professional electrician to inspect the wiring in your electric panel and throughout your home. Something that an electrician will be looking for when they do come to your home is fuse boxes. If you live in an older home you may have an electrical panel that uses fuses. If this is you, you need to hire an electrician and have the electrical panel replaced with one that uses circuit breakers instead. Fuses are considered a fire hazard, because of this most insurance companies will not insure such a home.

Thankfully there are many ways that you can see if you need to upgrade your panel yourself.

If your home still relies on an old-fashioned panel with fuses, which is common in homes built prior to 1960, then you probably want to upgrade to an electrical panel with circuit breakers. Fuses burn out and need to be replaced and circuit breakers just need to be reset with a flip of the switch.

If your home is more than 20 or 30 years old, you may need an upgrade. Older homes typically have panels that top out at 60 or 100 amps. Newer homes usually have 200-amp panels which fit our lifestyles. Today’s electricity needs are greater than before with high-definition televisions, computers, smart refrigerators and other appliances. And your new hot tub obviously.

You can check your main breaker panel yourself.

If your hot tub is causing electrical issues, there are ways for you to check things yourself.

You can go outside, and put your hand on the electric panel to see if it is warm to the touch. This could be a sign that there is something wrong.

If your panel smells like something is burning, then that is definitely not a good thing and you need to hire an electrician as soon as possible.

If your panels trip often, something that could be happening with your new hot tub taking up so much energy, then your panel may need to be replaced. What it means when an electrical panel “trips” it is a safety measure to prevent the wires from overheating if this didn’t happen there could be a risk of fire.

Should you hire a professional to replace your electric panel?


There are many different projects involving electricity around your house that you can do yourself, it is best to leave things like this to the pros. There is a lot that can go wrong when dealing with electricity, especially if you do live in an older house where things may not be up to code. You need to hire someone that has an understanding of code and to make sure that everything is working properly before they replace your electrical panel.