Upgrading Your Electrical Panel with MCBs: What You Need to Know

Upgrading Your Electrical Panel with MCBs: What You Need to Know

Home improvement projects are a must at times during a home’s lifespan. However, more often than not, a crucial aspect of such projects that often gets overlooked is the upgrading of a home’s electrical panel. 

With rapid advances in technology and increasing reliance on electronic devices, the demand for your home’s electrical system has never been higher. One significant stride towards enhancing the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical infrastructure is the installation of miniature circuit breakers (MCBs)

In this article, we shall look comprehensively into upgrading the electrical panel of homes with MCBs, exploring the reasons behind the need for such an upgrade, when an electrical panel change out should be considered, and how to upgrade an electrical panel with MCBs. 

Join us on this electrifying journey as we shed light on what you need to know about upgrading your electrical panel with MCBs – ensuring a safer, more reliable power distribution for your home.

Why Upgrade Your Electrical Panel?

Before considering an electrical panel upgrade, you need to study your home’s existing electrical panel. If you find round glass fuses, the panel is extremely old and needs to be changed immediately. Black switches indicate a relatively newer panel. Electrical panel change-out is recommended every 15-20 years for all homes, so the older your home, the more concerned you need to be about upgrading your electrical panel.

Here are some reasons why you may require an electrical panel upgrade

  1. Increased Electrical Demand: In today's digital age, homes are equipped with an ever-growing number of electronic devices and appliances. Upgrading the electrical panel allows for a higher amperage capacity, ensuring it can meet the increased demand without risking overload or electrical fires.
  2. More Robust Safety: Older electrical panels may use obsolete technology, such as fuses, which are less effective in safeguarding your home against electrical glitches. Modern electrical panels, equipped with devices such as MCBs can quickly and automatically disconnect the power supply in case of a short circuit or overload, reducing the risk of electrical fires and shocks.
  3. Home Renovations and Additions: If you are planning to renovate or add new rooms to your home, it becomes imperative to upgrade your electrical panel to sustain the additional electrical load. 
  4. Prevention of Electrical Hazards: Older panels must never be ignored as they may develop issues over time, such as loose connections, corrosion, or wear and tear. These issues can lead to electrical hazards, including overheating and sparks. Upgrading your electrical panel reduces the likelihood of such hazards, enhancing the overall safety of your home.
  5. Improved Energy Efficiency: Newer electrical panels often come with features that promote energy efficiency. For example, some panels allow for the integration of smart technologies, enabling you to monitor and manage your energy consumption more effectively.
  6. Code Compliance: Electrical codes and standards evolve over time to address safety concerns and incorporate technological advancements. Upgrading your electrical panel ensures compliance with current electrical codes, providing peace of mind that your home meets the latest safety standards.

Read Also - Mcb (Miniature Circuit Breakers) Guide - Types, Sizes, And Uses

When should you consider an upgrade?

If you are wondering whether your home’s electrical panel needs to be changed, you need to watch out for the following indicators:

  1. Your home is quite old: If your home is more than 15 years old, it is safe to get your electrical panel checked by a professional. Old, outdated panels may harm your home as they are prone to electrical faults. They may also be unable to support the power requirements of modern equipment. Therefore, it is safer to upgrade to a new electrical panel.
  2. Your panel has fuses instead of circuit breakers: You must prioritise an electrical panel upgrade if your home relies on fuses instead of circuit breakers. A circuit breaker upgrade is paramount for modern homes as they are more reliable than fuses. Besides ensuring safety, MCBs are also compliant with the varying energy needs of modern household appliances and equipment, thereby ensuring efficient energy use and long-term cost savings by reducing energy consumption and enhancing overall wiring efficiency.
  3. Your electrical panel is emitting sparks or burning smell: Sparks or burning smell from your existing electrical panel is a sure sign that there is a fault in the panel. It must be inspected and upgraded immediately.
  4. You notice a sudden surge in your electric bill: If you have not renovated your home or added a significant number of new equipment but your electric bill has seen a sudden and dramatic surge, it indicates that the electrical panel of your home is faulty. There may be power leakage which can cause significant damage. In such a scenario, an electrical panel upgrade becomes absolutely necessary.

How to Upgrade your Electrical Panel with MCBs?

Upgrading your electrical panel with MCBs is often the best electrical panel upgrade in any situation. It is advisable to contact a professional for such an upgrade. 

First, assess your home’s requirements and choose MCBs that match the amperage rating and number of circuits required for your home. Chosen MCBs have to be compatible with the electrical panel model. 

Then, the circuits will have to be labelled to identify which breakers will control specific areas or appliances in your home. 

Installation Process

  1. The cover of the electrical panel has to be removed carefully.
  2. The wires from the existing fuses or breakers will have to be disconnected carefully one at a time and replaced with the new MCBs.
  3. The wires have to be securely attached to the corresponding terminals on the MCBs, ensuring proper connections according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. The new MCBs have to be installed into their designated slots in the electrical panel.

Testing and Verification

  1. Once all MCBs are installed, all connections have to be double-checked to ensure they are secure and correctly wired.
  2. Each circuit has to be tested to ensure proper functionality by turning them on and off individually.
  3. Remember, electrical work is highly hazardous. It is crucial to prioritise safety and take necessary precautions throughout the upgrade process. Consulting a certified professional is highly recommended.

Schneider Electric eShop For all Your Electrical Needs!

If you are looking for electrical equipment for upgrading your electrical panel, look no further than the Schneider Electric eShop. From supplying high-quality wires to offering affordable MCBs, any electrical need you might have to upgrade your electrical panel can be met at the eShop. Visit the website for a comprehensive and hassle-free solution to all your electrical panel woes.

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