Is It Time for an Electrical Panel Upgrade?

16 August, 2021
Tips to Find Out The Upgrading Time for an Electrical Panel

Your electrical panel is often considered as the brain of your home’s electrical system because it is the centre of all electrical activity. Your electrical panel disperses electricity around your home. It also protects your home from harm by cutting electricity to any area that seems to be getting overloaded and could present a fire hazard.

Unfortunately, in many homes, it’s easy to overlook upgrading your electrical panel. However, years of use can cause your panel to wear down and become unstable. We place a lot of demand on our electric systems, and that may be more than your current circuit breaker box can handle. Additionally, electrical system standards are often updated, and it’s best to update your electrical panel every few years to ensure you have one that meets current regulations.

As a homeowner, when you have an electrical problem in your home, it is more serious than other challenges you may face, such as a plumbing problem. An electrical malfunction could result in electrocution or a house fire.

If you’re concerned about the electrical installation in your home, here are some tips that will help you know when it is time for a new electrical panel.

Lights Dim or Flicker

Flickering lights are often caused by a short circuit in the system. If you only notice that a particular lamp or another appliance is not working well, then it may just be an issue with that particular appliance. However, if you’re seeing dimming or flickering lights in your rooms or an area of a room, then this is likely a sign of a bigger problem.

When lights dim or flicker often, it is time to call an electrician to take a look. In addition, changes in light intensity when you are using other appliances, such as a microwave or air conditioner, are also signs that you may need a new electrical panel installed.

Fuse Panels

Fuses and fuse panels have been popular in homes since the 1960s. While they may work fine for your home, they do present a big fire hazard compared to modern systems.

While a fuse panel can also disrupt and stop power flow to areas of the system that are overloading, the way it does this is different from a circuit panel. With a circuit system, there is an internal switch that easily stops the power flow when there is a surge. A fuse panel has a piece of metal that melts when the system is overloaded. Both systems will do their jobs and protect your home’s electrical system; however, the melting metal can create a fire hazard while the circuit system does not.

Hot Spots

Unusual warmth or heat from a light switch or even part of your wall is called a hot spot. They are caused when electricity flows in a direction that it is not supposed to be moving. When an electrical current gets diverted in a different direction than where it should be going, there is excess energy in that area, which causes the space around the wires to warm up. Hot spots could also be caused by frayed wiring in that area, which is incredibly dangerous. These electrical system issues put you at a higher risk of a house fire. If you are noticing hot spots around your home, it’s best to call Hi-Lite Electric immediately so we can fix the problem and keep you safe.

Circuit Breaker Trips

Circuit breakers are there to protect you and your home from the damage that power surges can cause. If there is an area in your home that is drawing more power than its safety voltage limit permits, then the circuit breaker will trip and some of your electricity will shut down. It won’t restart again until you find the source of the overload and fix it.

If you notice that your circuit breaker trips each time you plug in an appliance, like a hair dryer, then it’s a sign that your electrical system is old or not working properly. Although things like microwaves, dishwashers, etc. require a lot of power to work, your home’s electrical system should be able to handle them every time you plug them in.

If your circuit breaker trips quite often, try unplugging some things around your home and moving them to outlets with less demand. Doing this can help you manage the issue, but to completely fix the problem, you’ll likely need a new electrical panel.

Old Wiring

Old wiring can cause your lights to dim or flicker even if your electrical panel works fine. Some signs that you could have a problem with the wiring in your home include:

  • A burning smell near appliances or electronics. That is actually the smell of burnt wiring.
  • A shock or tingling feeling when you touch a light or appliance that is plugged into an outlet. It may be static electricity, but if it is happening often, then you may want to call Hi-Lite Electric to have your wiring examined.
  • Discolouring near plugs.
  • An older home. The older your home is, the more likely you have outdated wiring that needs to be replaced.


Are you planning a renovation? Why not update your electrical panel in the process? Remember, your electrical system is essential for keeping your home warm and well-lit. If you are updating your home, then it may require you to adjust your electrical system, particularly if you are reworking the layout. Updating your wiring and electrical panel will keep you safe and secure.

If you’ll be installing new appliances in your home as part of the remodeling, then you should have a professional come and see that your electrical system will be able to handle the load. Having your system inspected can help you avoid annoying circuit breaker trips or fire hazards behind your walls.

For more information about updating your electrical panel and other electrical installation issues in Toronto, call Hi-Lite Electric at 416-800-5523 or contact us here.

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