True or false? Your home’s electrical capacity is fixed, and there’s no way to boost it if you want more juice.
While many people think a household’s electrical capacity is born rather than made, it is possible to bring more power to your space. Whether you want to install another large appliance, invest in air conditioning, or simply upgrade your power system, a good electrical installation team can help you do just that.
Here’s what you need to know about the electric service upgrade process.
Electricity and the Modern Home
Today’s homes use much more electricity than their older predecessors. While building materials have become more efficient, the electrical load of most homes has also increased.
Today, most of us have air conditioners, dozens of appliances, and countless lamps, televisions, and phone chargers throughout. As a result, we’re using more power than years past. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average U.S. household currently consumes about 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) each year.
While newer homes are usually built with the electrical capacity to support that level of electrical output, older homes may require an electric service upgrade to keep up.
Is it Time to Upgrade Your Electric System?
How do you know if your home’s electrical system is ample for your needs? And what are the signs it’s time to upgrade? Here are a few things to consider:
The Age of Your Home
Homes built or rewired more than three decades ago typically have 60-100-amp service, while newer homes typically have about 150-200-amp service. Very large homes, on the other hand, commonly have systems of up to 400-amp service.
This increase in amps throughout history represents a move to keep up with larger appliances and increasing electrical needs.
If you live in a home that’s more than 30 years old, you may need to upgrade your electrical system to support your current needs - especially if you’re considering adding a large appliance like an air conditioner.
The Condition of Your Breaker Box
If you’ve noticed hissing sounds from your box, or if circuit breakers trip all the time in your home, it’s time to upgrade your system.
If you elect to have this work done, a team of electricians will replace your current panel box with a larger one. Once the job is all finished, your home will be able to handle the increased power burden you want.
Your Future Needs
If you plan to remodel or expand your home or invest in large, power-consuming appliances, upgrading your electrical system is critical. Contact Tingley Electric to learn more about our residential electrical service and how you can add more power to your home.
The Importance of Working With a Skilled Electrician
If you think you need an electric service upgrade, it’s critical to work with a skilled electrician to do so. In addition to the fact that electrical work can be dangerous, upgrading an electrical system requires the cooperation of a licensed electrician, your utility company, and a local building inspector.
Most jobs follow this process:
The utility will cut power to your home from outside so the electrician can make the switch safely.
The electrician will reattach wiring from your home to the new box.
The electrician will add circuits for new appliances or the home addition and ground the box with a copper electrode run from the box to the water pipe or a grounding electrode buried outside.
When the electrician is finished, the building inspector will inspect the work.
If the work passes the inspection, the utility company will reconnect outside power lines.
The utility company will not reconnect your power until the inspector signs off on the job.
If the electrician uncovers other issues with your power throughout the course of the job, these will need to be brought up to code before the task can be completed.