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Service Upgrades

I've worked in homes of service sizes from 60A(Amperes or Amps for short), up to 800A. The smallest home had never been upgraded since it was built in the 1900s. The biggest home had an elevator. Back in the 1990s, homes started moving to 100A service upgrades for most homes. As the demand for power has risen, the standard service size moved to 200A.

A 200A service is needed more than ever due to more electric vehicles, more electronics being used by families, and the recent change of homeowners removing their gas stoves for electric ranges. If you currently have a 100A or 150A service, you will not likely have the ability to get these type of circuits installed on that service size. I had a customer recently who removed their gas stove, capped off the gas line, and bought a range before even having the range circuit in place. I viewed their existing electrical service, and they were fully maxed out with their 100A service.

When a service upgrade is needed, a permit needs to be pulled by a master electrician. Inspections will be completed by both the power company and the authorities having jurisdiction. The power company has to upgrade the service size. They make the final connections to the new service entrance cable that runs from the home. They will not come out to do this without proper permitting and inspections being completed.

The work to complete a service upgrade varies due to minimum requirements for an upgrade in each county versus exceeding minimum requirements to add more safety features. It could be one long day or two days broken up to complete the work depending on how many electricians are on site, and what type of service is being installed. Part of the service upgrade requires the new electrical panel to be labeled to the best of the electrician's ability.

I like to explain to the homeowner the different levels of safety that can be added to their potential service upgrade. As different counties adopt newer code book cycles, the time that it takes to complete a service upgrade takes longer. The additional safety measures are worth it. I really like having an exterior service disconnect switch in between the service meter and electrical panel. It allows a safer way for firefighters to shutdown the power at a home in a safer way without having to pull a meter. Whole house surge protection is great in the time period that we currently live in. It is designed to protect your valuable electronics and appliances should there be a power surge.

A service upgrade allows you to be able to add more circuits in your home for bigger appliances. It allows you to add more circuits to separate power from certain areas that may be overloaded. It adds more safety due to the quality of electrical products that are being installed. If you have an undersized or even an older electrical panel, it would be a good idea to schedule an estimate for a service upgrade.

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