An electrical panel on the outside of a home

If you want to add onto your house, install a hot tub, or make some other addition that requires more energy, you’ll need to know if your circuit breaker can handle the extra load. But if you’re not sure, don’t be fooled into thinking that a breaker box with all of the slots filled is the same as a full breaker box. There are many telltale signs to know if you need to upgrade to a breaker box with a higher capacity, but there are also a few things that can fool you into believing that you don’t have enough capacity when you actually have plenty.

Safety is always number 1 when we are dealing with electricity. There are certain outdated brands you need to know about before you try to do any work by yourself. Here’s how you figure out if your breaker box is dangerous. And then take a look at these tips for knowing when your breaker box is adequate and when you need to an electrical panel upgrade for a home addition or just to keep your home safe from electrical fires.

Electrical Panel Wiring: When to Use a Tandem Circuit

When an electrical panel is installed, a single breaker is installed over two circuits. In this case, you might be able to install a tandem breaker so that the electricity can be routed to multiple places. On most electrical panels, there should be a diagram that tells you how many breakers are installed and how many circuits there are available. For instance, if you see a 20/40 notation, this means that there are 20 breakers, but you actually have 40 circuits. If you don’t see a diagram or any other kinds of notations, an electrician can tell you how many circuits you have and if your breaker box can handle the extra load.

Breaker Box Fuse: How to Know If Your Current Breaker Box Can Handle More Amperage

While you might have more than enough circuits to add another switch, you still might not have enough available amperage. For instance, if you added an electric dryer on an electrical panel that was already near capacity, you might not have enough available amperage capacity to add the hot tub that you wanted.

Telltale Signs Your Breaker Box is at Amperage Capacity

There are several signs that your breaker box is above its capacity, including:

  • Flickering lights or appliances that shut off
  • Electrical box switches that frequently turn off
  • Buzzing or sparking around the electrical panel

If you notice any of these signs, it’s probably time to get an electrical panel upgrade before you add on anything more. Even if you’re not ready to add another major electrical appliance or addition to your home, it’s still time to have your breaker box upgraded so that your home is more protected from electrical fires.

Remember safety first – check out the permitted DIY electrical jobs.

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