Upgrades | Do You Need A Permit To Upgrade Electrical Panel?

Do You Need A Permit To Upgrade Electrical Panel?

The technical answer? No. The right answer? Yes. Electrical panels age along with your home, and it is likely that a time will come when you either need a new one or upgrade the one you already own. While the fastest path would seem to do all of the hard work yourself, it might be smarter to put a process like this in a professional’s hands.

Common Signs an Electrical Panel Should Be Replaced

Although there are some fairly clear indications that a tune-up might be needed for your electrical panel, there are also some that are more on the subtle side and important to look for. If you have a hunch that needs to repair your electrical panel, it is most definitely one of these factors.:

  • Because your electrical panel smells. Perhaps the most popular and the most obvious one. When you find that a pretty distinct burning smell is created by your electrical panel, this means you probably have a bad circuit breaker or disconnected cable. This warning is very urgent, and if you see that, it’s better to call a licensed electrician quickly because of the possibility of an electric fire.
  • Because your lights flicker often. Trying to relax at home, and going in and out of your lights? This is probably because there is something in your panel that is loose and it’s time for a new one. Or, internally, a linked wire can fail with nothing outwardly apparent to indicate it.
  • Because you are upgrading your home appliances. If you’ve noticed that your appliances don’t operate at maximum capacity and need an update, or you’re planning to update older appliances, your electrical panel may need some attention too. Usually new appliances mean more amps so you will need a stronger panel to support them.
  • Because you’re using a lot of power strips. Not enough outlets for your hairdryer, lava lamp, speaker and mini-fridge to plug into? Your electrical panel is likely to work overtime to try and handle all the extra energy and will benefit from an upgrade.


Can I Replace My Electrical Panel Myself?

We strongly recommend against it. When operating an electrical panel, you ‘re dealing with live energy at high voltage speeds. In other words, it is an extremely dangerous method in which a single mistake may result in serious injury, or even death. The method of modifying an electrical panel is however very complex. When you remove a breaker box, you should typically add new cables, as well as an electrical meter. All this is to say that working inside an electrical panel is dangerous and is best left to a professional electrician who has a license.

Working with an electrician not only guarantees a safe and efficient experience, it also saves you the inconvenience of figuring out whether you need a permit and the ensuing hassle of obtaining one actually. Electricians are also aware of building codes in your area so your box is up-to-date on local regulations. The only way we can recommend dealing on your own electrical panel is when you test it to determine whether it should be updated first.

Considering Electrical Upgrades and Improvements for Your Home?

At Frontline Electrical Services we love helping our clients feel safe and secure in their homes and businesses. If you are in the Benicia, Walnut Creek or Fairfield, California or surrounding areas, contact us today at 800-945-0268 (here is a map to our location) and we’ll have one of our certified specialists review your home’s current electrical grid and give you the best upgrades possible to suit your needs while maintaining the safety and security of your property!