Skip navigation

Serving The Chicagoland Area Since 1998


ServiceMax Blog

How Long Can I Expect My Electrical Panel to Last?


Your electrical panel, or circuit breaker panel, is like a traffic cop ensuring that all the electrical traffic in your home is flowing correctly. It also performs the critical job of shutting down certain circuits or sections of your home’s electrical wiring when a problem occurs. This prevents major hazards like electrical fires.

An electrical panel can last quite a long time, but it won’t keep working properly forever, and when it stops doing that critical job, serious risks can result. How long do electrical panels last? What if you don’t know how old yours is? How can you tell if you need to replace it? Here’s what you need to know.

Electrical Panel Lifespan

A relatively new electrical panel can be expected to last at least 25 years. It might be just fine for up to 40 years! However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that an electrical panel that’s in its thirties now is still in great shape. There have been a lot of changes in recent decades that can affect whether your electrical panel is able to keep up with the needs of your home.

When Replacement Is Urgent

There are three categories of problems you might have with your electrical panel in Skokie, IL that mean you must have it replaced as soon as possible. 

  • If It’s a Fuse Box: If your electrical box has round fuses instead of rectangular switches that flip, it’s a fuse box. This means it’s probably been in place since at least the 1960s. It is a less-safe system, and that increased risk is compounded by how old it is, and potentially by the old household wiring around it. You need an electrician, stat!
  • If It Was Manufactured by Federal Pacific: This company made a lot of electrical panels from the 1950s through the 1980s, but the company was held liable for failing to meet safety standards in a class action lawsuit. This concern, in addition to the age of the panel, means you should absolutely replace it right away.
  • If You Experience Electrical Problems: The other time that you need to replace your electrical panel right away is when you notice specific problems with the electricity in your home or with the electrical panel itself.

Specific Electrical Problems

Some of the problems that warrant electrical panel replacement include frequent tripped circuits, scorch marks or corrosion on the panel, odors such as hot plastic or fish, flickering lights, frequent burnt-out lightbulbs, buzzing sounds, or outdated or damaged wiring connecting the panel.

If your only problem is frequent tripped circuits, your real issue might be that your family’s electrical needs are greater than what your home was designed to provide. This is understandable considering how much we rely on electronics today. 

But if you have other concerns, you should know that it’s common for these things to occur as electrical panels age. If your panel was in place when you purchased your home, you may not know how old it is. A qualified electrician can inspect the panel and the wiring that connects it and provide you with clear recommendations or a panel replacement if necessary. 

Contact ServiceMax with any questions about your electrical panel.

Comments are closed.