Help For You In Purchasing Electrical Panel Upgrades

How to Upgrade an Electric Meter and Panel to 200-Amp Service

Working inside an electrical panel is dangerous and is best left to a professional electrician.

Steps:

Ensure that power is off to the entire building, which may involve more than just shutting off the main breaker.

Have utility company to disconnect electrical cables from the house.

Remove the glass meter from the meter socket.

Unscrew meter socket from side of house, then use cable cutters to sever the cable connected to the socket.

Enlarge existing cable hole in wall using a cordless drill and 3-inch-diameter hole saw.

Bore through the rim joist using an extension shaft and 2-inch-diameter hole saw.

Attach a length of 200-amp SE electrical cable to the new meter socket.

Feed the SE cable through the hole in the wall and then screw the meter socket to the exterior of the house. Use a torpedo level to ensure the socket is level.

Install the new PVC weather head and conduit to the exterior wall, directly above the meter socket. Secure the conduit to the meter socket using PVC cement. Fasten the conduit to the house with U-shaped plastic clips.

Have the utility company mark the locations of any underground lines. Then, pound two copper ground rods into the ground using a 3-pound sledgehammer. Space the rods 6 feet apart.

Make the wire connections between the ground rods, up to an inter-system bonding termination, and into the meter socket.

Connect the power wires to the meter socket.

Plug the glass meter into the meter socket. Then, snap on the meter cover.

Working inside an electrical panel is dangerous and is best left to a professional electrician.

Steps:

Ensure that power is off to the entire building, which may involve more than just shutting off the main breaker.

Use diagonal-cutting pliers to sever all wires inside existing electrical panel.

Unscrew and remove old electrical panel from the wall.

Screw a large ¾-inch-thick plywood panel to the wall for mounting the new electrical panel.

Feed the SE cable through the top of the new electrical panel, then screw the panel to the plywood. Use a torpedo level to ensure the panel is level.

Make all the electrical connections inside the electrical panel.

Feed the house circuits into the panel, making sure each cable passes through a cable connector.

Connect the bare-copper ground wires and white-insulated wires to the ground and neutral bar inside the panel.

Plug new circuit breakers into the bus bar.

Run the main ground wire from the bottom of the electrical panel to the copper water main.

Have the utility company reconnect the electrical cables to the exterior of the house.

Label each breaker with the correct house circuit.

Thinking of upgrading your electrical panel or service? Some things you should know

Just like many other electrical contractors (ECs), I get numerous estimate inquiry calls for electrical panel or service “upgrades”. Service upgrades are the mainstay for many ECs businesses–and they are very good at doing them quickly, and with excellent quality.

However, don’t be fooled. Just because an EC has the experience doesn’t mean that are actually good, reputable, or licensed electrician. As with any other contractor you must do your due diligence. Before hiring anyone, you should know how to spot a shady or unlicensed electrician. And of course, you should also know how to hire a good electrician

Before you Say “Yes!”, Ask “Why?”

One of the first questions I ask a potential client is why they want to upgrade their panel or service. As a homeowner, you should do the same thing if your EC suggests a panel upgrade.

One of the big topics of discussion revolves around future home improvement plans. It’s important for the EC to ask about the homeowner’s future plans. What other reno work do they want to do? Does this support their decision to get a service upgrade?

How do you Know when your Electrical Panel needs an Upgrade?

The Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) details the minimum electrical service size should be by using a “demand calculation”.

Breaker Panel Upgrade

Does your home need a breaker panel upgrade?

Your home’s breaker panel, or also known as the fuse box, fuse panel or breaker box, is the central control of the entire electrical system for your home. It distributes the electricity delivered by your electric provider and powers everything in your home. Power to your home is turned on and off by circuit breakers to protect wiring from damage by “tripping” when an electrical short or over-current occurs.

With the arrival of so many new electronic devices over the last 8-10 years, many home electrical systems do not have the capacity to support today’s high powered devices on top of the core circuits they were originally designed to support.

Now is the time to upgrade your home’s circuitry to ensure that your home has the capacity to support your electrical needs without the risk of a fire. You may consider replacing your electrical panel or adding a sub-panel. It’s important to note that a new breaker panel will not provide additional power to your home. To achieve additional power, Amps & Volts Electric Inc., has a process that includes a new breaker panel as well as other accessories, such as new cables and a new electrical meter.

Types of Breaker Panels

When looking at a breaker panel upgrade, there are different types to choose from, each of which meets a certain code requirement or application, depending on your area.

Main Breaker Panels

Main breaker panels have a built-in main breaker which can be used to shut off all power to your residence. A main breaker is a large double-pole circuit breaker that limits the amount of electricity coming in from outside to protect the circuits it feeds. It also identifies your breaker panel’s amperage capacity. Main breakers can be installed when the meter and feeder cable are within 10 ft. of the panel.

Electrical Panel Upgrades

Whether you just built your Charlotte home or your home is decades old, you’ll eventually need to change out your electrical panel. Electrical panel upgrades are needed when your existing panel has the potential to cause issues. These issues can range from consistent circuit overloads to dangerous electrical fires. It’s important to have your panel inspected and replaced as soon as you start noticing issues.

Many older homes don’t have adequate amperage or are lacking in breaker spaces, which can lead to serious problems and safety concerns. New appliances and home updates require higher electricity capacities, and operating your home on an outdated panel can be very dangerous. Even if your panel isn’t causing issues, if you know your panel is outdated it’s always a good idea to have it updated. Not only will your home be much safer, but your appliances and electrical systems will run much more efficiently.

Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

There are quite a few signs that tell us that it’s time to upgrade your panel, but one of the most obvious signs it’s time to upgrade is simply the age of your panel. Many older homes still have 60 amp panels, while most modern appliances and electrical systems require at least 200 amp panels to run efficiently.

It’s common in older panels to combine circuits, which adds unnecessary strain to your panel. This electrical overload leads to issues with electrical efficiency and can lead to dangerous electrical problems in your home. Most large appliances require a dedicated breaker, and with older panels often having far fewer breakers than newer ones, breakers may be used for multiple appliances, which overloads the system and causes serious safety concerns.

Finding and Choosing the Right Panel for Your Home

As we mentioned, most modern homes require an electrical panel rated at a minimum of 200 amps for basic electrical needs. For modern appliances, additions to your home, and features in your home that draw a lot of power, you may need even more than that. The first thing you should do when considering an upgrade is to look at your current panel and search for a new panel with at least 200 amps.

ELECTRICAL UPGRADES & ELECTRICAL HEAVY-UP PANEL UPGRADES

There are many types of electrical upgrades you may consider for your home. Some of the most common types of electrical upgrades include adding a new circuit to your home’s electrical system or adding or replacing switches and outlets, including ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). You may choose to install a whole-home surge protector or upgrade your home’s system of integrated smoke detectors.

What Is An Electrical Panel Upgrade?

Electrical Panel Upgrade, or heavy up, is essentially an upgrade for your power panel. It enables more power to surge through the currents of your home, creating the ability to utilize the most electricity possible, without the dangers of overloading your system.

What Does A Heavy Up Entail?

Your electrical panel heavy up can include a range of upgrades. Your technician will be able to assess your personal need and meet it right away. Some upgrades are as simple as adding on a few circuit breakers to your existing box. Often times you can simply expand the box with a sub-panel. If you’re in need of a more complex upgrade, this could include replacing a fuse box or an old panel with one that is built for a higher energy capacity. At F.H. Furr, your upgrade will fit precisely to your needs!

How Long Does A Heavy Up Take To Complete?

This all depends on the particulars of your job. Simple things like, adding breakers to an existing panel is generally fairly quick, often taking up less then an hour of time. Even installation of a brand new sub-panel shouldn’t take more than a few hours. A more detailed fix could take up some of the day, such as replacing the fuse box or circuit main. These projects are designed to fit your personal needs and schedule.

Does A Heavy Up Improve Electrical Safety?

When you have too many devises sucking power from an insufficient source, you’re in danger of an overload on the electrical system. This could lead to other electrical problems and safety concerns. Using an outdated system is certainly not recommended for electrical safety. When you have an electrical panel upgrade, you’ll never need to worry about a lack of power to operate your home. You can use as much as you need–safely!