Does Your Home Need an Electrical System Upgrade? Here Are Some Signs

Cartoon of power surge protectors and chords

It’s a super-hot July 4th in the New York area. You’re getting your house and your family ready for friends and relatives who will be joining your holiday BBQ. The air conditioning is barely keeping up. The dishwasher is running. You’re ironing your shirt. Your son is blending a smoothie. Your daughter plugs in the blow-dryer and POP – the power goes out.

You’ve just tripped a circuit breaker. This happens occasionally to many Westchester and Putnam homeowners, but if it’s been happening to you with increasing frequency, it could be one of the signs you may need to consult a professional about replacing or upgrading your electrical panel. To help determine whether your home needs an electrical upgrade, ask yourself these questions:

Do You Often Trip Circuit Breakers?

More than just a nuisance, frequently tripping circuit breakers indicates that the power coming into your home just isn’t enough for existing wiring and outlets to handle.    The electric system in your house often reflects when it was built. Homes older than 20-30 years were built with 60- to 100-amp service, when microwave ovens and hair dryers pulled some of the biggest electrical loads. With today’s smarter appliances and fixtures, existing breakers may be insufficient for HVAC and major appliances. Newer homes in New York’s northern suburbs may have 150- or 200- amp service, and very large houses can have 400-amp service to accommodate these needs.

Are You Using Extension Cords and Power Strips in Most of Your Home’s Outlets?

High electrical demand is a given these days. A power strip here or there won’t cause problems. But the use of multiples is a red flag that you’re demanding more electricity than you have available outlets to provide. Extension cords that are damaged or overloaded can be a major fire hazard.   

Do Your Outlets or Appliance Plugs Feel Hot to the Touch or Do You Find It Difficult to Accommodate 3-Prong Plugs?

Outlets and cords should never feel hot. The third prong on an electrical cord is the ground connector. Think of it as an emergency path for electricity in case of a fault.  Improper grounding can lead to dangers like lethal shock in the presence of water intrusion or other hazardous conditions.

Do Your Lights Flicker or Dim?

While utilities can experience power problems due to electrical storms or blown transformers, these are usually isolated incidents. As a rule of thumb, your lights should never dim unless they are connected to a dimmer switch. If they do, it can mean they are trying to draw more electricity than your panel can safely handle.

Are You Planning a Substantial Remodel or Addition?

Any change to your home’s layout means you may require power to be distributed differently for convenience and safety. New kitchens, hot tubs, and home entertainment hubs are designed with a specific set of electrical demands in mind. The prevalence of home offices means household members are often home at the same time, sharing the power demands. At a minimum, circuit breakers may need replacing, even if you don’t need a completely new panel or service upgrade.

Robison: The Pros to Call For Your Home Electrical Systems

For over 100 years, Robison has been Westchester and Putnam’s leading go-to destination for total home comfort services. When it comes to electrical issues — or any home systems issue — we’ll get the job done efficiently and with the utmost safety. Learn more about our residential electrical services or call us at (914) 730-5287.

Related Posts
  • Common Electrical Problems in Older Homes Read More
  • Bright Ideas for Saving Money on Your Summer Electric Bill Read More