Do I Need an Electrical Service Upgrade?

Portland OR and Vancouver WA Metro Area

electrician working on a home electrical panel, performing an electrical service upgradeYou may need an electrical service upgrade to accommodate future electrical needs and avoid potential disruptions or safety issues. An electrical service upgrade involves upgrading your home’s electrical panel and, often, the associated components like the service meter and wiring. 

This kind of upgrade increases your home’s capacity to handle more electrical load. This is crucial in older homes that were not built to manage today’s typical electrical consumption. An upgrade ensures that your home system can handle modern appliances such as HVAC systems, refrigerators, and state-of-the-art electronics without overloading the system.

Upgrading your electrical system also includes enhancing safety features to protect against electrical fires and other hazards. 

What Is an Electrical Service Upgrade?

An electrical service upgrade involves making sure your electrical service is up-to-date and up-to-code. Often, this entails replacing a small fuse box with a modern panel with breakers. You may already have breakers, but they too are old and outdated, or you need more power for your home. 

Your electrical service refers to the pipe (metal or PVC), the meter (from the power company), the wires inside the pipe, your electrical panel (breakers or fuses), and your grounding system. Your service is measured in Amps. The most common residential service sizes are: 60 amps, 100 amps, and 200 amps. Although you may have a size in between these (like 150 amps), these are the most common.

A full-service upgrade replaces the pipe on the outside of your home, the wires inside that pipe, the meter, the wires going from the meter to your panel, the panel itself, the breakers inside the panel, and updating your grounding system with ground rods, gas ground, water ground, etc.

How Do I Know I Need an Electrical Service Upgrade?

electrical boxYour power company is responsible for maintaining the lines running from the power pole to the power pole or underground to your house. After their line touches your house, it is your responsibility to maintain it. 

Some signs that you need a service upgrade include: 

  • You hear buzzing near your electrical panel.
  • Your panel is full and you want to add more circuits. 
  • You have fuses in your electrical box.
  • There is visible rust on or in your electrical panel. 
  • You have many wires under each fuse or breaker, or your breakers trip and won’t reset.
  • There is fraying of wires feeding your panel. 
  • The exterior pipe or meter are damaged or falling. 
  • You have a 60-amp service.
  • Your electrical service is more than 30 years old. 

There are dozens of electrical codes dealing with electrical services that have changed in the last few decades. This is all to improve safety and keep up with the ever-increasing demands we put on our electrical systems.

My electrical seems fine, do I really need an upgrade? Possibly. Even if your fuses aren’t blowing or your breakers aren’t tripping, your system may still be out of date. 

What Size Electrical Panel Would I Need?

Having 60 amps to power your home is no longer considered up-to-code. Contemporary homes use much more electricity than they used to. Oftentimes during the sale of a home, insurance companies will require a 60-amp service to be upgraded prior to insuring the home for the new owner. A 100-amp service is sufficient for smaller homes with many gas appliances. 

You may need a 200-amp service if: 

  • All of your appliances are electric (stove, dryer, etc.).
  • You have or want a hot tub.
  • Your home is greater than approximately 1600 square feet.

Our team can help you decide which size is best for your home.

How Much Are Electrical Service Upgrades?

The cost of electrical service upgrades varies based on many variables – but it typically starts around $5,500.00, including materials, labor, and permit fees. Factors that change cost are how far the service panel is from the meter base, how high the weatherhead needs to sit, etc.

What Other Things Are Typically Upgraded at the Same Time?

Whole-house surge protection is a common service done at the same time as an electrical service upgrade. This helps prevent electrical surges caused by lightning strikes and blown transformers. It protects not only your electronics but also the wiring within your home. 

Another common project is to install a 50-amp electric car charger at the same time. The price for this is greatly reduced if done at the same time as a service upgrade vs. a standalone project.

Something common our experts can perform at the same time is to install a home backup generator system. Portable generators or on-demand generators can be added at the same time as a service upgrade to make sure you are never powerless. 

Ready to Upgrade Your Home Electrical System?

Our experts will help you determine if an electrical service is right for you and discuss the best options for your home. With a service upgrade, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your electrical system is in top condition. 

Contact us today for a free estimate, and our experts will give you their honest opinion about your electrical service!

Do I Need an Electrical Service Upgrade? in Portland OR

Serving Portland and Vancouver WA Metro Area

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