COVID-19 has many of us working from home, allowing us to take closer looks at our immediate surroundings. We’re scratching the itch to remodel by replacing outdated appliances, upgrading or adding televisions, purchasing digital exercise equipment to allow us to visit exotic places while cycling in our rec rooms. These changes can also prompt the need for changes to our electrical systems. What are some of the easiest ways you can upgrade your home’s electrical system?
Upgrade the panel.
By upgrading your electrical panel, you can introduce additional power to your home without rewiring the house. Consider changing an electrical panel showing signs of damage or is obsolete. Breakers that trip frequently or fuses blowing repeatedly indicate the need to upgrade your electrical system.
Extend a circuit.
Do you need another electrical outlet? You might consider extending a current circuit. However, you need to ensure the extended circuit can accommodate any appliances you intend to plug into the new outlet. That is, you need to calculate the maximum load the circuit can handle given the breaker size. According to the National Electric Code, a circuit should not carry more than 80% of its maximum load.
Add a new circuit.
Under certain circumstances, you may prefer to add a new circuit. Are you adding an appliance that requires a dedicated circuit? Would the currently existing circuit become overloaded with the addition of another appliance? If your answer to either question is ‘yes,’ you need to add a new circuit. If your panel uses breakers, and it looks full, you may replace one of the 120-volt breakers with a 120-volt, two-circuit breaker to accommodate the additional circuit.
Add a subpanel.
Unlike the main or service panel, a subpanel controls only branch circuits, the end-of-the-line circuits connecting to appliances or other electrical devices. The main panel uses circuit breakers to monitor the flow of electricity to the subpanels, and the subpanels can reside in an area more convenient to where the branch circuit supplies power, for example in a garage or room addition.
If you are considering upgrading your electrical system, contact a licensed electrician that can recommend the easiest way to upgrade your electrical system, ensuring your electrical needs are met safely and effectively.