The main reason that homeowners get an electrical panel upgrade is for purposes of safety. Upgrading a service panel will give your electrical system a greater capacity, allowing you to use larger amounts of power safely without the worry of going overcapacity. Even if you don’t suffer from the problem of your breakers constantly tripping, having a panel with a capacity greater than 100 amps is considered a must for today’s modern home, as sticking to the bare minimum can be risky.
A 200-amp service can support modern lighting and appliances, and is highly recommended if you plan on renovating or if you are considering upgrading your home with other additions. Operating on a low service with a huge demand can be seriously dangerous, and one of the telltale signs that you may be constantly exceeding the safe limitations of your home is if you are regularly using power strips. Homes are designed with as many power outlets as the home is able to handle, and although power strips are important to protect against surges, using too many too constantly could very well be an indication that your home needs more power.
To know how much demand there is for your home prior to any upgrades, a licensed electrician can be hired to do a load calculation. These calculations (based on the standards of the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC)) are important since any major additions or renovations will likely add to the total square footage of your home, affecting the total demand for electricity. Generally, you should never be exceeding 80% of your home’s capacity. If the demand exceeds the load calculation, it is time for a service and panel upgrade.
The price between different capacities are usually negligible, but after the load calculation is done, the electrician will provide you with an estimate. Although most homes are recommended to have at least 200 amps of capacity, there are some cases where it can go as high as 400 amps. This is especially useful to have if you use power tools.
Upon hiring MADE ELECTRIC to conduct an electrical service and panel upgrade, you will be asked to call your hydro provider to book a service disconnection (for the GTA, this is usually Toronto Hydro or Hydro One). The request should be approved within a week, but this can vary between hydro companies. You will then be contacted to book an appointment date, which should be coordinated to be on the same day as the panel upgrade. Note that the cost of a disconnection and reconnection can vary depending on the hydro company as well.
On the day of the service upgrade, the power will be turned off in the early morning, after which a team of electricians will arrive to do the upgrade. The average time of this upgrade is a minimum of four hours. To ensure that the work that has been done is of the best possible quality, an ESA inspector should arrive shortly after to check that it is safe to reconnect your power.
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.