A very common question many people ask is whether or not they need to upgrade their electrical service. All structures have limited electrical capacity. When a service is upgraded or changed, that capacity is increased, allowing the potential for more circuits to be installed and used.
Many homes and businesses still have their original 100 amp service, so when it comes time to remodel or add an addition, often there is little or no room in the distribution panel to install the required additional circuits. The amount of electricity available to use is limited by the capacity of your main breaker. So when major appliances that need electrical power are added, or the size of the building is increased, very often the electrical capacity of your service needs to be increased as well.
In addition, many electrical services have been hanging on the side of buildings for a long time, subject to deterioration caused by the environment and weather. Some have become damp and corroded; some have been overloaded over the years and due to overheating, joints and connections have become loose. Some services still rely on fuses, which, because of their age, are corroded, overstuffed and overheated. These conditions are dangerous and good reasons to invest in changing your service.
The panel is the heart of your electrical system. It controls the flow of power through your home, and in the case of an irregular event, it will cut off electricity to prevent serious damages from occurring.
The panel is just like anything else in your home, it needs to be properly maintained. In the event of a fire, the first place an insurance adjuster checks is the panel. If it is not kept up properly, they will attempt to show negligence.
An electrical panel upgrade is just what it implies – an upgrade from the existing electrical panel. With today’s new appliances and technical devices, we find that older homes and buildings might not have sufficient power available to handle the increased demand. Therefore, a “service change” is required. This includes not only an upgrade in your electrical panel, but an upgrade in your meter socket and wire size between the meter and panel.
The following items should be checked for compliance:
- Non-approved breakers for your brand panel
- Panels that are older than 5 years
- Missing Breakers
- Hot Spots
- Over sizing of breakers versus wiring size