An electrical panel plays a critical role in your home both in terms of functionality and safety. However, if you’re like many homeowners, you might not pay much attention to the panel unless problems start. While only a qualified professional can accurately diagnose the need for an upgrade or a new electrical panel, certain signs can indicate that work is necessary. Accounting for the age of the system can also help you to determine if the time has come for an upgrade.

Old Electrical Panel

If you’ve never upgraded the electrical panel and have lived in the house for more than a decade or two or have other indications that the panel hasn’t been updated in a while, now is the time to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified professionals. Older electrical panels may not have the ability to keep up with the demands of modern households.

Further, an old panel could be a fire hazard. The exact frequency with which you need to replace electrical panels can vary, so an electrician can tell you if the time has come. The electrician can also check that the panel is up to code.

High Bills

Are your bills growing increasingly larger each month? Perhaps your bills have always been suspiciously high. Inexplicably high electric bills could be associated with a poorly functioning electrical system. One of our team members can help you make your home more energy efficient.

When considering the costs of electrical panel upgrades and replacements, be sure to factor in the long-term benefits. In other words, even though you’ll need to pay for the upgrades, you can save money down the road through lower bills and increased energy efficiency.


Older electrical panels often contain fuses instead of breakers. A box with fuses likely poses a fire threat to your home. Breakers are typically more functional as well. Upgrading from fuses to breakers can make your house a safer and more comfortable place to live.

Broken or Damaged Box

Electrical panels in your home do more than keep your house running. They also have important safety features. Even if the break or damage appears to be entirely external, problems may lie beneath the surface. Furthermore, exposed elements of a breaker box could pose dangers, such as electrocution, to you and your loved ones. The damage could get worse over time too, leading to even more troubles.

Water Damage

After a flood or other major storm, your breaker box could experience water damage. For example, after a massive flood overtakes the basement, the breaker box might be filled with water or have other damage from the water. Attempting to investigate or resolve this matter by yourself could lead to death. An expert electrician knows how to handle these problems and can provide the right solutions.

Burning Smells

Any burning smell in your home is an emergency. If the breaker boxes smell as though the unit is burning, your house could be at high risk for an imminent fire. Contact our qualified team immediately to schedule an appointment and to find out what safety precautions you need to take in the meantime. For example, you might need to call the fire department and vacate the home.

Warm to the Touch

Your electrical panel should not be warm to the touch. A warm or hot panel could indicate that the elements are overheating, thereby putting the unit at a greater risk of a fire.

Signs of a Fire

You might also notice other signs of fire around the breakers or the electrical panel box. Burn marks, clouds of smoke, or sparks are all warning signs and indicate that you need emergency intervention from a skilled electrical technician.

Constantly Tripped Breakers

Breakers trip to keep your home safe. If your breakers are frequently or constantly tripping, you likely have an electrical problem. One of our team members can determine if the breakers themselves are the issue or if a problem with the wiring or an appliance is the cause.

Mislabeled Breakers

Inaccurately labeled breakers are a nuisance and can, more importantly, also lead to safety issues. When the panel was initially installed, the breakers may have been incorrectly labeled, or the labels could have been ruined over time. While getting an entirely new panel may not be necessary, the electrician can update the labels to be more accurate and thus more effective for you.

Issues With Outlets

You might have noticed that plugs are falling out of certain outlets, or you might see signs of a fire near the outlets. The outlet might even spark, indicating a serious problem. Upgrading your panel box can help you address these and other common electrical problems.

Problems With Lights

While flickering lights can occasionally have benign causes, such as dimming or frequently blown light bulbs, they can also be linked to some fairly serious electrical problems. Because flickering bulbs can indicate a potentially dangerous problem with the wiring or the panel, an electrician should check the problem out as soon as possible.

Upgrading to a Smart Panel

With all of the smart devices popular in modern homes, you might want to make a panel update your next move. A smart panel can give you greater insight into your home’s electrical system and more control over your energy usage even when you’re away from the house.

Renovations to the House

If you’re planning for a major home upgrade, you might be getting new appliances soon. Certain appliances, such as air conditioners, have to be on their own line. An electrician can update your panel to accommodate this new appliance.

Keep in mind that your current home appliances may be improperly connected. Our team members can conduct an inspection to see whether or not new lines are needed for both the current state of your home and future projects. Speak with our team about how other renovations can affect the need for panel updates.

Selling the Property

Selling a house can be a swifter and more lucrative process when you make important upgrades. Checking out comparable sales in the neighborhood can give you a sense of what upgrades might make you the most money. Even if the panel box isn’t particularly old, you can still add some features to make the unit more attractive to prospective buyers.

Potts Electric is here to serve all of your home’s electrical needs. We work in Ellisville and the St. Louis metropolitan area. We can upgrade or replace your home’s electrical panel in addition to performing other electrical services.

Our team can transform your house into a smart home, set up car chargers, install a generator, and work on the wiring in both existing and new structures. Be sure to ask about our financing plans and our membership protection plan. To get started on improving your home’s safety and electrical functioning, contact Potts Electric today.

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