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Serving the Buffalo Area since 1995

Scherer Electric Blog

Answering FAQs About Electrical Panel Upgrades


One of our essential jobs as electricians in Buffalo, NY is servicing and updating residential electrical panels. Outdated and damaged electrical panels are a major cause of electrical problems in homes, including potentially hazardous ones like electrical fires. We take this work seriously and encourage homeowners to pay special attention to their panel needs. 

People often have questions about their electrical panels and when they should make upgrades to them, as well as how to do an upgrade. Below we’ve answered some of the most common questions. 

When should I have a panel upgrade?

We recommend having our electricians inspect your panel if it’s more than ten years old to see if it’s ready for a replacement. You can also watch for signs your current panel is in trouble: frequently tripped circuit breakers, humming or buzzing sounds coming from the panel, signs of scorching on the breakers or other parts, and acrid burning smells. Don’t hesitate to call us if you notice these signs—you may need a panel upgrade ASAP. 

Can I buy parts and then do a DIY panel upgrade?

We can’t say no to this question emphatically enough. In general, you should not attempt any DIY work on your electrical system, and with a panel the potential dangers of amateur work are extreme. Making even small errors when it comes to a panel replacement or upgrade can ruin the electrical system and cause electrical fires. There’s also the danger of a high voltage shock. Also, any DIY electrical work will put your house in code violation, which means you won’t qualify for insurance. Please leave this job to licensed electricians. 

Is a fuse box still good enough for my house?

Fuse boxes are definitely out-of-date. They cannot handle modern electrical loads without placing fuses in them that are too large and will become fire hazards. Please have a fuse box replaced with a circuit breaker panel. The convenience alone is worth it. 

Is upgrading a panel the same as rewiring a house?

Rewiring a house is a much larger job than a panel upgrade; they are separate tasks. For most homes, when it’s time to put in a new panel, the rest of the wiring will be in good shape and not need any replacements. Replacing the panel is almost always part of rewiring a house since it’s necessary to meet the new requirements. If you’re concerned about your home’s wiring in addition to the panel, ask us to do an electrical inspection. 

Are there any specific panels to watch out for?

Yes: Federal Pacific electrical panels. We’ve talked about these panels before. Although no longer manufactured, Federal Pacific panels were never officially recalled—even though they were linked to almost 3,000 electrical fires because of the 25% failure rate of their Stab-Lok circuit breakers. If you have a panel installed before 1990, check on its inside lid to see if it says Federal Pacific. If it does, call us to have it replaced right away. 

Whatever your current electrical panel needs, you can trust our licensed electricians to provide you with effective and safe work.

Need more information about electrical panels or want to schedule service? Call Scherer Electric, Western New York’s Favorite Electrician! 

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