There are many reasons to purchase an older home, but it's also good to plan for a few extra expenses due to the age of the house. The electrical systems, in particular, may be out of date in an older home, which can pose a safety concern at worst or cost you money in energy usage at best. The following are a few signs that you have an outdated system and may need an electrical panel upgrade.
Outdated Fuse Box
The fuse box, sometimes called a breaker box or electrical panel, is the central control panel for most of the electrical systems in your home. Unfortunately, fuse boxes installed in the 1980s or earlier can pose a major risk for fire. These boxes don't always trip the electricity off when there is a problem, which increases the chances of a fire. Even if the box is not one known to cause issues, it's still a good idea to upgrade the electrical panel if it is this old just to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
The fuse box is typically divided into zones. For example, the bathroom is usually on its own breaker, a bedroom or two may share a breaker, and rooms with lots of appliances, like the kitchen, might be controlled by two or more breakers. Older homes weren't designed for high electrical loads, especially outside of the kitchen and laundry room, but modern homes tend to have TVs, computers, and other tech in most rooms. The fewer the individual breakers, the greater the chance of one becoming overloaded. Appliances that draw a lot of power, such as the dryer or the HVAC system, should be on their own breakers. If you notice that a lot of high-electricity zones or high-use appliances are on a single breaker, it's time to consider a panel upgrade.
An occasional blown fuse isn't usually something to be concerned about. Slight power surges from an appliance or the main power grid can occasionally trip a fuse, which just means the box is working as it should. If you are constantly having issues with tripped fuses, though, there may be a larger problem. Older homes can be more prone to this simply because they were not wired to handle the increased electricity use of the modern family and modern technology. If it seems you are constantly grabbing a flashlight to peer into the electrical box, it may be time for an upgrade.
For more help, contact an electrical service in your area.