Has Your Electrical Panel Upgrade Been Inspected

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Replacing an Old Circuit Breaker Panel: Our panel box will be replaced because it has been sizzling and the lights are blinking, will this be safe enough?

Blinking Lights and a Sizzling Panel

Electrical Question: Our panel box will be replaced because it has been sizzling and the lights are blinking, will this be safe enough?

  • The lights in my house were blinking so bad I couldn’t even turn on a lamp and the microwave.
  • The property manager and his “electrician” didn’t think it was an emergency until I told them that the panel box was sizzling.
  • My kids and I left because I was told the box was fried and they were installing a new one.
  • The house only had a 100 amp service and it needs to be upgraded to 200 amp.
  • There is a 1600 square foot garage in the back yard that runs off a 50 amp breaker in the house panel box.
  • What I would like to is this:
    • If the panel box and circuit breakers in the house were upgraded, but not the electrical service to the house will this be safe?
    • There are a variety of circuit breakers in the panel box.

Thank you.

This home electrical question came from: Michelle, from Garner, North Carolina.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your Home Electrical question Michelle.

Replacing a Circuit Breaker Panel

Application: Electrical Panel Project.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for the electric panel upgrade.
Estimated Time: Depends on the exact type of the existing panel or fuse box, the replacement panel to be installed, the original wiring methods that were used for installing the existing wiring, and available access to the project area.
Precaution: This is an extensive project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and typically requires specifications in accordance with the local utility company or electric service provider.
Notice: Making changes to the Home Electrical Service Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Electrical Service and Panel Project

  • Replacing an Old Circuit Breaker Panel

    • Electrical Sizzling and Blinking Lights Spell Trouble: The electrician obviously discovered that the old existing electrical panel had sustained damage and they were very smart to upgrade to a larger 200 amp electric service panel for this 1600 sq ft home.
    • Electric Service Panel Installation and Inspections: Installing the panel and service upgrade components according to code and having the project inspected by a local building department official will ensure that the project is done correctly. In most cases, a service upgrade may involve the local electrical utility company who will disconnect the power so the new service panel may be installed. The utility company will not connect the power to the new service panel until the project has passed inspection.
    • Stay Informed about the Project: As a tenant who is concerned about the well being and safety of your family, stay connected with your property manager, or contact your local building department for more detailed information about the project.
    • More Power for the Circuits: The  existing electrical circuits that have been added to the home will be connected to a larger service panel so there should be no more blinking lights.
    • Labeling the Circuit Breakers: The circuits in the new panel should be labeled so that you understand what each of these circuits are for, in fact labeling the circuits is required by code and this should have been in order to pass inspection.

    More about the Home Electrical Wiring

Electric panel

  • House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
    • This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.

Circuit breakers

  • Electrical Wiring Protection using Circuit Breakers
    • A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring.
    • When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.

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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.


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