Are you looking for practical ways to add value to your home? You do not have to build that second-floor addition or put in an expensive swimming pool to increase your property’s function and potential market appeal. Instead, an electrical panel upgrade is a cost-effective project that will show buyers your home is well cared for. And if you are not planning on selling anytime soon, an electrical panel upgrade offers several benefits that will make your life at home safer and less stressful.
What Is an Electrical Panel Upgrade?
The electrical panel is the steel box located either in a utility closet, the basement, or outside the house. Some call it a service panel or a breaker box.
This piece of equipment is responsible for routing all the energy that powers your home and appliances. From the computer to the washing machine to the air conditioner—everything that depends on electricity also depends on the electrical panel.
Getting a panel upgrade is like giving your home a brand new heart. Your electrician will make sure all the connections work safely and provide the appropriate amount of power for your household. For older homes, an upgrade includes adding to the amp service. This is sometimes referred to as “heavy up.” Your panel box may currently supply as little as 100 or 150 amp when today’s standard is 200 amp.
Signs You Need an Electrical Panel Upgrade
Knowing when to upgrade a panel box is not always obvious. If your home is more than 20 years old and you have not had any improvements made to your electrical system in that time, you should think about getting it done. But age is not the only consideration. Other reasons to upgrade include the following:
- Breakers trip frequently
- You have a fuse box
- Odd sounds come from the breaker box
- Burning smell come from the breaker box
- Melted wires inside the box
- Scorch marks or black spots on the breaker box
- Your lights flicker or dim
- Appliances overheat frequently
- You experience frequent power surges
Even if you are not experiencing any of these warning signs, always schedule an electrical panel inspection before installing new appliances or starting a remodel project. It is best to have a professional technician make sure your panel can handle the additional load of a new washer and dryer or that extra bathroom.
How Does an Electrical Panel Upgrade Benefit Property Value?
Not every home improvement project has a direct impact on the value of your home. In some cases, the increased value comes from a sense of care and safety potential buyers have when they inspect your property. An upgrade provides measurable financial value and the “certain something” that sparks a buyer’s interest.
The number-one value added to your home when you schedule a panel upgrade is increased safety. An outdated or damaged panel box is a risk for fire or serious, even deadly, electrical shock.
2. Increase Energy Output
The last thing you want when showing your house is for lights to flicker and breakers to trip. An upgraded panel box increases the amount of energy available inside your home. And let’s face it, you probably have more and more powerful electrical appliances and devices in your home than the electrical system was originally designed to handle.
3. Improve Aesthetics
An electrical panel upgrade does not just look good on the outside of the house. It allows you to install new and better outlets on the inside. Showing that every part of your home is ready for modern living will widen the market appeal.
4. Kitchen or Bath Remodel
Kitchen and bath remodeling projects are almost always a good investment that adds dollar signs to the price of your home. But if your electrical panel can not supply the power that is necessary to support those new rooms, you will have to put those plans on hold.
5 Install a Hot Tub
Depending on the climate where you live, a built-in hot tub can add value to your home. If you do not have any immediate plans to sell, you get the bonus of enjoying a new hot tub! But only if your electrical panel can handle the extra load.
6. GFCI Installation
If your panel box is more than 20 years old, your home probably is not fitted with ground fault circuit interrupter breakers (GFCI). GFCIs are required in all new construction for any outlet placed near water. Bathrooms, kitchens, basements, crawl spaces, laundry rooms, outdoor outlets, and garages should all be fitted with a GFCI if an outlet is within six feet of a water source. Getting upgraded GFCI outlets will automatically be included with an electrical panel upgrade.
7. Allows Potential Buyers to Build
Adding an extra bedroom, a basement bar, a backyard crafting shed, or some other dream project is on almost every buyer’s mind. Knowing that the home’s electrical system is already up to the task adds appeal to your property.
8. Shows Property is Well-Maintained
Every deferred maintenance project a potential home buyer sees lowers the bid she’s willing to make. Seeing that the electrical panel is new, safe, and efficient boosts confidence that your property is well-maintained and worth your asking price.
9. May Lower Insurance Premiums
The actual numbers will vary according to your area and other factors, but improving your home’s fire safety could result in lower insurance rates.
10. Energy Efficient Home
An old, outdated panel that struggles to provide enough electricity uses more energy than necessary to get the job done. Getting an electrical panel upgrade ensures that all appliances and systems that rely on electricity will work efficiently using the least possible energy.
If you decide it is time for an electrical panel upgrade, be prepared to have the power turned off for most of the day. If you work from home, get your laptop and phone fully charged or make arrangements to work elsewhere.
While it is a hassle to be without electricity for several hours, the added safety, improved function, and increased property value you enjoy will all be worth the minor inconvenience.