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You may wonder what an electrical service panel really is or perhaps you visit it all the time when your breakers trip. In any case, when it comes to power, the service is the most important component in your electrical system.
What is a Electrical Service?
Also known as a breaker box or distribution panel. An electrical service is essentially a metal box that safely receives the main power. It then distributes it by using branch circuits. A branch circuit is the wire and breaker combination specifically designed for a particular use.
A breaker protects you from overloaded circuits that can start fires. If your breaker trips, don’t get frustrated, know that it’s doing its job protecting you and your family. These panels include a main branch circuit which serves as a primary disconnect. They are normally 100 amps that feed several smaller circuits.
These smaller electric circuits feed power to the switches, lights and receptacles in different areas of your home. When the power suddenly goes off in one of your rooms, find your panel and reset the breaker. You can reset the breaker by flipping the switch off and then back on.
Where can I find my electrical panel?
Most electrical panels are located on and outer wall and either in the entry ways, basement or even the garage. Sometimes you can find them in the kitchen or even a closet! Hiding anything electrical in a closet does not comply with the Canadian Safety Standards of today. You may even have a sub-panel which is a smaller breaker box fed off the main electrical service. It is usually located in the basement, garage or a recent addition.
Reasons You may Need an Electrical
Service Change or Upgrade
You’re planning a renovation and need more electrical power
Although the light bulb was in production in the late 1800’s it wasn’t until the 20’s when more people started using them in their homes. The average electrical service panel was 30 amps which provided 120 volts of power and wouldn’t be able to handle the electricity needs of today. Between 1950 and 1965 the 60 and 70 amp services were popular and could provide 240 volts, which was enough electricity for the new TV, fridge and other electric appliances.
These days a100 amp service is the standard and would be capable running a single family home with no trouble at all. However, many new builds are opting for 200 amps to allow for more circuits and appliances to satisfy the need for more electrical comforts and capabilities.
You’re selling your home
The electrical in a home is one of the major decision makers when considering a purchase. Most people feel it’s a daunting task to update the electrical and don’t want to bother. Others may use it to force your asking price down due to the costs it would take to change out the electrical service panel. You may be surprised at the cost of a panel upgrade when considering what you can lose. In most cases the cost of the upgrade can easily be covered in the asking price. We at Promax Electric are happy to provide a free quote from our master electrician to help you make the most of your sale.
You’re buying a home
You’ve found the home of your dreams, an old character home with charm and most likely an outdated electrical service panel. Before you start writing cheques, always consult your insurance company. Ask if they would insure a home with the particular panel in question. Insurance companies are not quick to put themselves at risk and consider the electrical, and rightly so, to be a major concern. Once you know they’re requirements contact us for an electrical inspection that will give you the bargaining power you need to secure a home that is safe and insurable.
You’re adding a rental suite for additional income
Legal suites are a great way to make extra money and pay your mortgage off in half the time. Before you start advertising for tenants consider they’re electricity needs and do the math. A great way to do this is to look at your electrical bill and then factor in another fridge, stove and possibly and washer and dryer. Even with shared laundry the electrical can get out of hand especially if your tenants are using space heaters, portable air conditioning units, vacuums and hair dryers. You’ll find your tenants will get frustrated fast with tripping breakers and possibly accuse you of providing an unfit unit. Save yourself the headache and contact us, Promax Electric Ltd. to make sure you understand your homes electrical capabilities and potential.
You want to relocate your service panel to a safer location
Sometimes you’ll find your electrical service in a closet or pantry or maybe its just in an unsightly location. The former being of concern, the latter perhaps just an aesthetic case, let us help you make the right choice when changing out your electrical service.
The Electrical Service bottom line
The age of a home can usually give you a good idea of the type of electrical service panel inside. Most are from 60 to 100 amps and are considered safe and do not require an upgrade. However, when its time to sell or renovations are at hand, call us to help you make and educated decision for you and your future.