How To Perform An Electrical System Upgrade

April 20, 2023

For many homeowners, the electrical aspect can be a challenging task, especially if there's a need for an upgrade. As technological advancements and dependence on electrical devices continue to grow, the demand for a safe and efficient electrical system in your home should be a priority.

If it's been quite a while since you last checked the condition of your electrical system, consider giving it an inspection as soon as possible. Similar to other elements in your home that deteriorate over time, the components of the electrical system, such as the circuits and wires, eventually break down. At the same time, appliances and devices consume large amounts of electricity, which can strain your current system.

An outdated electrical system can pose serious safety risks, such as overloaded circuits, electrical fires, and electrocution. Consider upgrading it to cater to your household's growing electrical needs while ensuring safety and efficiency. But it is best to consult a licensed electrician first before launching an upgrade to your home's electrical system to ensure the work is done safely and in conformity with regulations. In case you want to tackle the upgrade yourself, it may be time to find out more about the necessary electrical supplies for the job. Here is an overview of the electrical system upgrade process.

1. Consult A Licensed Electrician

If you want to ensure the best outcome for an electrical system upgrades for your home, it's best to consult a licensed electrician.

Research reputable electricians and shortlist a few choices based on the service cost, experience, and reputation. Once you have decided on the electrician to work with you, discuss your upgrade needs and plans to ensure they're safe and compliant with the local codes and regulations. Working with a professional can provide valuable insights while pinpointing potential issues with your current electrical system.

2. Assess The Electrical System In Your Home

When upgrading the electric system in your home, the initial move is to assess your current system. You can determine the amp rating on the main circuit breaker. You can find it on its handle or within the breaker panel. Note down the current service size. The usual ratings typically range from 60, 100, 150, or 200 amps.

You must also identify any potential issues with your current electrical system, such as flickering lights, outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, or insufficient outlets.

3. Determine Your Upgrade Needs

Calculating the anticipated electrical load is important for determining your upgrade requirements. You can achieve this by looking into all your appliances, devices, and equipment, along with their wattage. You should also think about any future additions you have in mind when calculating the total load. For example, if you plan on investing in a central air conditioning unit or home theater system, expect a significant increase in the electrical demand in your household.

Select the suitable service size that can accommodate your increased load. It's best to consult an electrician to determine if upgrading to a higher amp level is needed. Additional upgrades may include the following:

  • Installation of ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets in areas prone to wetness
  • Adding arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to lower the risk of electrical fires
  • Switching to energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs

4. Obtain The Necessary Permits

Before starting an electrical system upgrade for your home, you must consult the local building department to obtain the necessary permits for the upgrade project. Make sure you note down the fees and timelines.

In certain regions, supplementary inspections may be mandated. For instance, rough-in inspections conducted prior to sealing the walls could be deemed essential. A comprehensive final inspection may also be performed once the upgrades have been successfully executed.

5. Prepare The Area

When starting the upgrade project, switch off the power to your home at the main circuit breaker. Doing so prevents the risk of possible electrocution. It is also important to remove any obstacles to ensure a safe working environment. Move any appliances or furniture near the electrical panel and provide the space with proper lighting and ventilation.

6. Upgrading The Electrical System

The electrician will remove the current electrical panel and install a new one with the appropriate service size. The task usually involves adding new breakers and circuits as necessary. In some homes, it may involve the integration of a dedicated circuit for a new home office or an electric vehicle charger. If the current wiring shows deterioration or damage, the electrician will replace it with new, code-compliant copper wiring.

Often, many homeowners face the reality that their homes are running low on power. Aside from adding the essentials, it may be time to add more circuits to cope with the daily electrical consumption. The task requires planning and wiring the circuits and installing new breakers. If you lack the skills to handle the task, you can always hire an electrician to do it for you.

Most homeowners opt for a complete Custom Control Panels upgrade if safety is their priority. Doing so allows more power to be readily distributed around the household. Although the cost of an upgraded electrical panel and all its components may be costly, it's a worthwhile investment.

7. Inspection And Testing

Once the electrician completes the upgrade, the system will require inspection and testing. The purpose is to ensure all the components are functioning safely and efficiently. The task involves checking for proper grounding, breaker function, and correct wire connections.

Depending on the protocols in your area, the local building department might require inspections. In such instances, you should schedule inspections to execute the necessary corrections.

8. Restore The Power

Once you gain a go signal from the inspections that confirms the system is safe, the electrician will restore power at the main circuit breaker. The electrician will test the switches, outlets, and appliances to ensure they work properly. When everything is in working order, your home has an upgraded electrical system capable of accommodating your household's demands.

Final Thoughts

When the safety and efficiency of your home are a priority, an electrical system upgrade is worth considering. Although upgrading the electrical system in your home requires time and effort, think of it as a worthwhile investment to improve the electrical infrastructure.

Due to the dangerous nature of electricity, safety should always be a priority, and you should adhere to the local codes regarding this matter. The decision to upgrade your electrical system is a practical one. Doing so protects your property and household and paves the path for an energy-efficient and comfortable living environment for years.

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Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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