Older homes are not set up to have enough amperage to manage all the elements in the home. The panels in older homes only have around 60 amps, while today’s panels have 200 amps or more. The electrical demands of an older home can cause the panel to trip frequently. If this is the case, it might be time to upgrade your panel. It’s important to understand that this job should not be taken on by someone who doesn’t know much about electrical systems. A professional electrician should be used in every panel upgrade.
The first step to upgrading your panel is to get the correct permissions. Before you dig into your circuit breaker panel, you need to check with your local building and safety. You will need to obtain a permit to start working on your electrical box. If you do not get the proper clearance first, you may get in trouble later. Once the job is complete you may have to call an inspector out to make sure the job was done to code.
After you have the correct permissions, the next step is to open up the panel and take a look at what you have. Check out what breakers control the different parts of the home. The bathroom and kitchen should be fine to leave alone but the power to other areas of the home may need to be assessed. Here is were a multimeter or voltmeter comes into play. Turn on all the power in your home and scan all the devices you are using. Take a look at the circuit load and compare it with the capacity. Doing this will help you see if it’s near the limit.
The next step is to install the panel. The most important step is to turn off all the electricity. This is vital as any electric going to the panel can cause great danger. Begin removing all the circuits from the panel and place them all to one side – you can scrap these all at a later time. Attach the new panel into the wall by screws and cut a small piece of insulation from the wires. Rewire the panel as it looked before and attach the circuit breakers to the panel.
The circuits that were overloaded or near to being overloaded should be divided into different parts now. Place the new circuit breakers into the new slots and locate the wires that need to be enlarged. Use these wires with the new breakers. Make sure that the neutral and grounded wires are placed securely before moving on.
Once you have completed the process, you should be up and running with a brand new panel. The tripping circuit breakers should be working fine now with the additional space for loads.
Please note that you should not complete this process unless you are sure you know what you are doing. A professional electrician is the best way to go if you are unsure.
The Electric Connection is proud to serve Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. We are professional electricians who specialize in new panel upgrades. If you think your panel needs to be upgraded, please contact us today.