MMElectric Electrical Upgrades
Today’s homes and businesses run on technology. From computers, to microwaves, to flat screen TVs, it is easy to see how important an electric system isfor any property. Yet despite the clear importance of an efficient and up-to-date electrical system, this is one aspect of home improvement that is often neglected by even the most attentive property owners.
There are numerous benefits to upgrading an electric system. Many older properties, especially homes over 25 years old, have systems that are not set up to handle the power demands of a modern home or business. Property owners should be aware that an outdated electrical system can pose a dangerous safety hazard. Moreover, an outdated, or insufficient electrical system can also simply be a major inconvenience, and make it difficult to use common home appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers.
Let’s take a look at the different types of electrical systems upgrades, and how they can improve a home or business.
Types of Upgrades
Electrical Panel Upgrade: An electric panel upgrade is one of the most common electrical upgrades performed by electricians. There can be numerous reasons to upgrade an electrical panel. In cases where the electric panel be a defective model or a discontinued brand the entire electric panel will need to replaced. In other cases individual components within the panel, such as circuit breakers need updating. If the building is need or more power the electric panel will need to be upgraded to allow for more connections and more power. Some older houses actually have an older form of electrical panel known as a fuse box. Fuse boxes are ineffective and a fire hazard, so they will need to be replaced in favor of a modern and safe electrical panel. The electric panel is the most important part of an electric system, so any changes, upgrades, or replacements, need to be handled by a professional.
Electrical Wiring Upgrade. An electrical wiring upgrades is another very common electrical upgrade requested by homes and businesses. Faulty wiring is the main culprit behind electrical fires and blown or tripped fuses.Wiring insulation can deteriorate over time causing electrical shorts. Wiring can also become damaged and exposed during routine home improvement projects. Modern homes are wired with copper wiring. However, older homes may have aluminum wiring, and what is called knob and tube wiring which is a fire hazard. Depending on the condition the wiring is in, an electrician can either perform whole property rewiring, or partial rewiring.
Power Increase: One of the most common reasons that properties, especially older ones, need an electrical system upgrade is to simply be able to generate more power. Today’s homes are wired to have what is known as 220 volt service. This means that they have two wired each with 110 volts of power that feed power into the home. This is the recommended amount of power that will be able comfortably operate modern electronics and appliances. However, many older homes are wired to only have one 110 volt service. This means that some major appliances such as washing machines, will cause tripped circuit breakers, or it may mean that multiple electronics cannot be used at the same time. A home with not enough power can be upgraded to accommodate modern appliances, and be able to handle the demands of multiple electronic devices used at once.
GFCI: A GFCI, or ground fault circuit interrupter is a circuit breaker device that turns off an electric current when it detects that the current is flowing through a path it was not intended to go. In other words, it can tell if the electricity is going through a wire, or if it is going through something like a person or water, and it will shut off to prevent shock or electrocution. It is a safetydevice that is installed in places a power outlet will be close to a water source, such as in bathrooms or kitchens. Business owners should be aware that GFCIs are required by the NEC (National Electrical Code) for all commercialoccupancies.
AFCI: In addition to GFCIs, the NEC also requires the installation of Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters in all dwelling units such as bedrooms. An AFCI shuts of electricity whenit detects there is an electrical arc occurring. An electric arc is when electricity jumps from one place to the other, causing a high amount of heat that can lead to a fire. While a GFCI is intended to prevent shocks and electrocution, an AFCI is specifically designed to prevent fire. If a property does not currently have AFCIs installed, this would be an important upgrade to make.
Many of today’s devices are powered by USB ports. It is in fact, the only way to charge such essential technologies such as tablets and smartphones. As a result, many new homes, and especially business are installing USB power outlets. These outlets can enhance any office space and power a number of modern devices. USB outlets are becoming more common and will likely be part a routine part of any property’s electrical system in the (very) near future. An addition of USB upgrades can bring any home into the 21st century!
Energy Efficient Upgrades
Many home and business owners have been in the frustrating position of having high electrical bills month after month. Often it seems that no matter what steps are taken to conserve energy and lower that utility bill noting seems to work. One of the best things a homeowner can do to help reduce energy cost is to look for issues in the electrical system that are causing high energy use. From faulty wiring, the issues with the power meter there can be multiple reasons an energy bill is too high. Property owners can get to the root of the issue with a just a few upgrades and adjustments to their electrical system.
Unlike other property improvement projects, such as repainting or re-tilling, upgrading an electric system is not something that the average do-it-yourselfer should take on. Electrical system upgrades require professional knowledge to be both functional and safe. Always remember to consult with your local licensed electrician when making any upgrade or change your property’s electric system.