Proudly Serving Calgary and the Greater Area
Proudly Serving Calgary and the Greater Area
Open Electrical Panel

Electrical Panels & Subpanels

It doesn’t matter how modern or efficient your appliances may be, they still require electricity to run. You could have the most advanced infrastructure in the world, but if you don’t have the necessary power to bear the load you won’t be able to fully utilize them. The electrical panel is what keeps everything ticking along when it can’t handle the load. This is when your appliances, lighting, and all other electrical items fail to function properly.

When this is happening you may notice flickering lights or sporadic power to certain appliances, and it doesn’t matter how many times you wiggle the wires it won’t fix the problem. The best solution at this stage is to opt for an electrical panel upgrade. Our talented and knowledgeable electrical technicians are highly experienced and can provide you with the best electrical panel upgrade to fit your budget and situation, and they’ll walk you through every step of the process.


Signs You Need an Electrical Panel Upgrade

Electricity is everyone’s necessity. Almost all daily activities revolve around it, from lighting, cooking, laundry, etc. And that’s why it’s important to know how the electrical system works. One of the main components of your electrical connections in your home is the electrical panel.

The panel’s primary responsibility is to distribute power to your lighting and electrical devices. It is subdivided into two, the main panel and the subpanel (when there is one).

PES - Panels - Sub Panels - Electrical Panels - 1


What’s the difference between the main panel and a sub-panel?

Also referred to as the service entrance panel, the main panel links electricity from your power supplier directly into your home, it houses the breakers for most of your electrical wiring. On the other end, a sub-panel enables power distribution to a particular part of your home, and its main aim is to provide more breakers when your main panel is already full or to more conveniently access power in a remote part of your building.


Signs You Require an Electrical Panel Upgrade

Electricity is a poisoned chalice, so any minor hitches in the electrical panel can lead to an enormous amount of damage or disrupt power in your home. On that note, it’s always essential to know when an electrical panel upgrade is obsolete. Scroll down to identify signs that show an electrical panel upgrade is required.


Faulty Wiring Problems

Old wires are more likely to result in faulty wiring.  According to different Canadian surveys, faulty wiring problems are a major power problem that ignites “electricity-related” fires. Signs that show you have faulty wiring problems are limited to:

  • Flickering lights
  • A continuous burning smell
  • A tingling sensation when you touch appliances
  • Sparking outlets

Contact an electrician right away in case you experience any of these signs.


The Age Of Your Panel

Electrical panels like all electrical devices fail over time and should be upgraded and replaced once the life expectancy has been reached. It is recommended to start considering a new panel when the panel is about 20 yrs old. Preparing for this costly expense ahead of time can save you from the dangers that lurk with old electrical panels. 


The Main Breaker Keeps Tripping

When the main breaker of the panel keeps tripping it could be due to a few reasons. The first reason could be due to the breaker being faulty and simply needs to be replaced. In the case of aluminum service conductors being used the breaker may just require tightening, this should be done by a professional as the lugs are live and a high current fault is possible. Another reason is the point of connection of the breaker to the panel is failing to cause excessive heat, this may require a new panel especially when the panel is older. The final reason your main breaker could be tripping is due to an unbalanced or overloaded panel. If your main breaker is constantly tripping for any of these reasons you should call an electrical company that is panel experts to diagnose and make the appropriate recommendations.


A Burning Smell At The Panel

If you for whatever reason smell burning at the panel you should immediately call an electrician to have a look. Burning smells are due to your panel overheating or a circuit in the panel has overheated and the insulation protecting the wire is burning, this can lead to an electrical fire putting you in danger.


Breakers In The Panel Are Warm/Hot To The Touch

If your breakers are warm or even hot to the touch, you could require a panel upgrade to replace all the components. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as tightening the terminals but other times can be the panel itself is overheating.


New Appliance Installations

When we talk of new appliances, it does not necessarily mean you need to update an electrical panel because you purchased a blender or a radio. No! Literally, this refers to devices that consume a lot of power and are beyond the amps of an electric panel, such as some fridges, washing machines, etc. This also applies when you’re adding more rooms to your home. An electrical load calculation is recommended to determine if a service upgrade and panel replacement are necessary.


Ditching Fuses For Circuit Breaker

Nowadays, the use of circuit breakers is recommended rather than fuses. Although they perform the same functions, preventing short circuits or overload to the connected appliances, they are different. Fuses are one-time use and are old-fashioned, while circuits are durable and only need a reset in high current. An upgrade from fuses to breakers calls for an electrical panel upgrade immediately.


Water Leakage

In the circumstances of water leakage near your electrical panel, avoid the place and call an electrician right away! If the electrician finds any traces of rust or corrosion in the wiring, that calls for an electrical panel upgrade.

Just like anything else, an electrical panel needs maintenance. Ignoring signs that point to the need for an electrical panel upgrade may lead to greater repercussions. Contact a panel expert electrician at PES today in case you experience any of the outlined signs. We have the best electricians in Calgary ready to offer an electrical panel upgrade if need be. PES caters to your electricity issues professionally. We offer Grade A services for either regular or emergency electrical needs. Don’t try to solve your electrical problems without consulting an electrician. It’s riskier than you think! Always remember, accidents hurt; safety doesn’t.  

Don’t sit in the dark, call us at PES and arrange for our friendly team to upgrade your electrical panel. You’ll never have to worry about a tripper breaker or power outage again.

Always Hire a Professional

No matter how urgent any electrical repairs seem, it’s never okay to attempt to handle them on your own. Trying to take care of electrical problems without professional training is extremely dangerous. If you or someone else aren’t hurt during your attempt, there’s still a chance that you’ve left something undone that poses a huge risk to you, your home, or your family. In fact, faulty electrical wiring is the number one cause of house fires in the Canada, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. So in order to make sure that your home is safe, always rely on a professional for any electrical services.

When searching for a reliable electrician, call us at (587) 896-3351. We specialize in electrical repairs, indoor and outdoor lighting installations, panel upgrades, and even hot tub wiring!

Electrical Panels & Subpanels - FAQ's

The cost to replace an electrical subpanel is usually between $900 – $1500. This cost tends to be a lot less than a main electrical panel replacement due to the number of circuits and lack of requirement to have the electrical service temporarily disconnected as it is fed from a breaker that can be easily turned off. For the cost to replace the main panel see the response for How much does it cost to replace a breaker panel?


A homeowner is not allowed to replace their main electrical panel. To replace the main panel you require the services of a licensed electrician who has permits.

A Federal Pacific electrical panel costs the same to replace as any other panel. Main electrical panel replacements cost $2500 – $2700 while subpanels can range from $800 – $1500.

Electrical panels should technically be replaced after 20 years. All electrical devices will stop functioning safely over time. After 20 years the likelihood of your electrical equipment failing increases and this is why 20 years is the recommended replacement period.

The cost to upgrade an electrical panel can be found in How much does it cost to replace a breaker panel? If you are looking to upgrade your electrical service to have more amps available the cost will be $3500-$4500 on average. You should consult with an electrician in your area to get a better idea of what to expect for cost in this type of alteration.

Electrical panels like everything else will eventually decay over time. If your electrical panel is 20 or more years old it is time to consider an upgrade. Other signs that tell if you should upgrade your panel to a newer electrical panel are if you had a fire in your panel, if your breakers are overheating, if your breakers are constantly tripping, if your panel has corrosion and rust present, and finally if your panel has come into contact with water by means of a flood or leak.

Only qualified electricians should upgrade your electrical panel. The cost of messing up and causing major damage to your home’s electrical system far outweigh the price savings. With that said, a homeowner has every right to replace a subpanel as long as they pull the required permit. The main electrical panel can only be upgraded by an electrical professional.

Upgrading your panel to a 200 amp service is not a task that should be taken lightly. It is highly suggested that you do a load calculation to check if you require a service upgrade before you start to plan such an investment.

A panel is where the electrical circuits are terminated to breakers to separate them from the main electrical supply that feeds the smaller circuits.

A homeowner can only replace an electrical panel in their home if they are currently living there and pull a homeowners permit for electrical work, and secondly if it is not the main electrical panel. Only qualified electricians are allowed to perform panel replacements for the main electrical panel.

There are 4 different types of electrical panels: the main electrical panel, main lug panels, sub panels, and fuse box panels.

Inside an electrical panel consists of breakers, the main breaker or lug where the wires terminate into the panel, a neutral bar, a bus bar, and a bonding bar.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
back to top