Today’s homes have a lot more appliances and devices demanding power than they did just twenty or thirty years ago, but many houses still have the electrical systems they were built with, even homes that are nearly a century old. Luckily, there are electrical improvements that can bring any house up to speed. If you have to reset breakers regularly, there’s a very good chance that increasing your circuit panel’s capacity by upgrading to an option with more breaker channels and higher capacity options will even out your experience. Breakers tend to snap off when they are taxed near or past capacity.
Check Panel Capacity
It’s recommended that you set aside approximately 20 percent of a panel’s maximum rating as a safety buffer, just to make sure you don’t have to worry about frequent breaker resets or surges due to outside events like storms. That means most people only have about 80 amps to work with, and some appliances like dishwashers or laundry machines can take several amps on their own. Realistically, once you include all your lights and basic appliances, you might have half of your home’s electrical capacity used before you plug in any personal devices, power tools, or home entertainment systems.
Upgrading to a 200-amp panel provides you with an opportunity to expand. Even if you think you only have 100 amp needs, it removes the 20 percent buffer so you can use 100 amps, and for most homes, it means having 100 amps or more free for use even after your lights and other electrical infrastructure is taken into account. Some older homes were originally built with 60-amp service, and not all of them have been upgraded. While most insurance companies will no longer insure homes with less than 100 amps available on the circuit panel, you might find a house on the market that still has an old system.
Upgrade for Efficiency
If you have 100-amp service and the experience has been smooth, a 200-amp upgrade can still improve your home life. Not only will it future-proof your electrical supply against upgrades you might make, but it also replaces your older electric panel with an updated system that reflects today’s building standards. Typically, that means it operates more efficiently and has more breaker options, in addition to having a higher capacity.