If you were asked the capacity of your service panel for a panel upgrade, would you know how to check?
Many homeowners know that when the lights go out, the first thing to do would be to go down to the grey breaker box to reset the circuit that has tripped, but not much further thought is given to the proper functioning of their service panel. Knowing the capacity of a service panel is an integral part of panel maintenance. To check the capacity of your service panel, start by taking a look inside.
There should be one breaker larger than the others, marked with an amperage amount. Amps are a unit used to measure how much electricity can safely flow through a circuit, meaning that the amperage amount marked on the breaker is the maximum capacity of your home’s entire electrical system.
Regularly checking your electrical panel is a good habit to have, as underlying damage to the system can manifest in rust or scorching. Even in cases where there hasn’t been a need for electrical fixes, incorporating these checks into the maintenance of your house is crucial. Being aware of your service panel’s capacity will also allow you to know when an electrical panel upgrade is in order. As a general rule of thumb, no electrical circuit should exceed 80% maximum capacity. 20% of this capacity is normally used for home lighting, while another 20% is used for appliances such as heating or air conditioning.
In situations where the electrical load has significantly increased, a panel upgrade will in most cases be recommended for safety and ease of living. Older homes are especially likely to have a low electrical capacity, which is highly incompatible with the amount of smartphone chargers, televisions, computers, and other technological devices used in the home today. In fact, a survey conducted in 2020 found that a large percentage of Canadians regularly use electronic devices that require constant charging. The electrical draw for the modern home has increased, and so has the demand for a higher amperage capacity.
In addition to the increased use of technological devices, homeowners frequently cite large additions or renovations as a reason for requiring more electrical power. This can include adding in a spa or hot tub, installing heating or air conditioning units, or adding in additional appliances, such as stoves or dryers. When adding additions to a home, the electrical panel should also be upgraded. Without an upgrade, the power is likely to go out do to a strain on the home’s electrical system. In even worse cases, this can be dangerous!
If your home has not had a service and panel upgrade in the past 25-40 years, it’s worth looking into, as an outdated electrical panel is a dangerous one, putting your home at risk for electrical fires. The modern demand of electronic devices has created the need for a much higher capacity more than ever before. Don’t take the risk — upgrade your electrical service and panel today!
Contact MADE ELECTRIC for more information, to learn more about service and panel upgrades, and to inquire about having a service and panel upgrade installed in your home! We operate within the GTA to ensure that your home and your electronics are safe.