In your utility room, basement, or designated area, you will find a big grey metal box known as the electrical panel. The box comprises a series of wires and circuit breakers that determine where power goes in your home.
An efficient or upgraded main panel determines the right amount of voltage to meter out and ensures power is distributed safely and properly.
A main panel in need of an upgrade is more inconvenient than you would imagine. Hence, when it becomes necessary, don’t hesitate on a main panel upgrade.
The options that come with an upgrade
Upgrading your main panel depends on your precise electrical needs. If you need to upgrade from a smaller panel to a big one, that’s one option. It might be because your current panel can no longer provide enough power. You may also upgrade to fix faulty or damaged parts of the panel. The options usually involved with an electrical panel upgrade include;
- Getting a bigger panel to bring more power into your home
- Upgrade circuits to meet current National Electrical Code standards.
- Replacing damaged or old components.
- Increasing the number of circuits so you can add more outlets.
Ask all the right questions first.
To upgrade your main panel, you will need to hire a professional electrician. The electrician should be licensed and experienced in panel upgrades.
But, before you dive into signing any contracts and starting the work, ask the right questions to confirm that you need an upgrade and what to expect.
This is relevant as you may want an upgrade for the wrong reasons. For example, some homeowners take on this project when an electrician performs the inspection to say you need an upgrade; you think your insurance company demands it; you’ve heard something scary about fuses; you experience lights dimming and flickering, and so on. Within this list could easily be someone trying to sell you a bill on what you don’t need and your fear.
An honest electrician can tell you if you really need an upgrade and why. If they don’t tell you why be sure to ask first before agreeing.
When it’s time for the upgrade, the electrician should also have ready,
- A detailed electrical estimate of the cost of upgrading the main panel.
- Permits sorted before any work can take place.
- An installation date on a day with good weather.
What happens when it starts?
A main panel upgrade can be highly disruptive or not so much depending on factors like the work involved and your electrician. It’s best to know what to expect to stay prepared.
The power to your home will be turned off for a minimum of 4 hours to as long as the electrician estimates to finish. During that time your appliances should be unplugged. You can also avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer door until it’s over.
The electricians will need access to your home. They will work mostly around the area of the panel and possibly others like your water tank or meter area. If there is wiring involved, they would work room to room.