Panel-Upgrade

Many people consider hiring an electrical team when something goes wrong. However, with so many advances in technology and home entertainment, many homeowners should consider upgrading their electrical work.

Upgrading your electrical current to at least 125 amps is already a necessity if you’re remodeling a home, since most local governments will require you to do this. Anything less and you risk fire safety issues and overloading your circuits and wire. This is because there are many more appliances in newer homes than there were in older ones, and use more power (despite there being “energy-efficient” models, they simply use more juice than they used to).

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to re-wire your entire home.  Usually this just involves upgrading the main electrical panel and/or interior panel, and adding a few additional circuits to handle the load.

Upgrades also help to provide for home improvement projects like:

  • Installing outdoor lighting for increased safety
  • Installing a new, heated spa (or large-scale landscaping projects)
  • Using new exercise equipment like treadmills
  • Installing automatic sprinklers or misters
  • Remodeling your kitchen
  • Room additions

In addition, how do your interests typically change over a ten-year period? Do you think you might want to install a new entertainment system in ten years? Are you thinking about a hot tub after you’ve finally earned that promotion? It’s much easier to be ready before you start the project, than it is to add whole house electrical upgrades to your list of things to do.

Most home electrical circuits are 120-volt lines, usually found in homes built earlier than the 1990’s. However, today’s appliances, heavy electrical machines and tools need 220-240 volts to run properly. An electrical dryer alone requires 220-volts.

In addition, it’s much safer and easier to have the right number of outlets in strategic places instead of running cords and wires everywhere. If you’ve ever been inside a new home, you will see plugs everywhere, and for good reason. A good electrician can also asses your surge protection to make sure you have enough. Some homeowners should opt for a whole house surge protection. This protects your circuit breaker box, your home’s wiring and your appliance motors along with your switches and outlets.

Other Things to Consider:

  • Do you want to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle one day? Those usually require charging units that run at 220 volts and 20-40 amps.
  • Did you know that installing ceiling fans can lower your air conditioning costs? You’ll need to know if your home will able to handle additional ceiling fan wiring, or allow you to control the fans from both the fan cord and the wall switch. Also, keep in mind that if you have a heavier fan or a whole-house fan, those require strong beams/trusses, and the fan has to be able to remain steady.
  • Besides common kitchen appliances like refrigerators, stoves, garbage disposals and dishwashers, a typical kitchen has blenders, food processors, coffee makers, bread machines and cappuccino makers. Also, plugs that are near sinks also must be GFCI-protected.
  • How has your home entertainment arrangement changed in the past ten years? Do you have enough outlets for what you need and want? Modern homes have so many devices, including TVs, VCRs, DVD players, BluRay Players, stereo systems, remote speakers, mobile devices, gaming consoles, PCs, MP3 and MP4 players and so much more. Do you have enough power if one of your kids takes an interest in music, gaming or science? Ten years might bring machines and electrical products into your home you would never consider.

Though most homeowners don’t think it’s necessary to control electronic products in their home with a central control station, ten years from now that view could change.  Just think of how many people never found cable necessary or never thought they’d ever want or need a smartphone. However, prices drop and make things accessible. When that happens, will you be ready? In addition, if you want to install a central security system on your home, it will probably require a new circuit for the control board.

Some people take things a step further and hire lighting designers. They then control the lighting with central controls and consider it part of their decor. However, any type of dramatic or theatrical lighting, (even a simple vintage chandelier or a track lighting set you bought from IKEA), could introduce significant problems to your home’s wiring.  LED lighting is catching on quickly, due to its increased accessibility, dropping prices, customization options, and savings on energy usage.

Contact Us Today!

If you read this and realize your home has electrical problem areas, don’t hesitate to give us a call. In essence, if you find that you have to unplug some things, or make sure lights are turned off before you use hair dryers and electrical tools, it might be time to upgrade your electrical wiring.