What To Expect When You Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

Posted on: 6 June 2017

If you're planning to put in a pool or hot tub, you may be wondering if your current electrical system can support the extra load. If your house is several decades old and has never had an electrical upgrade, you may have problems with circuits tripping when you add a new major appliance, operate hand tools, or install a hot tub. The solution may be to upgrade your electrical panel from 100 amps to 200 amps. Here's what this entails.

Obtain A Permit

You'll probably need a building permit to upgrade your circuit panel. That's because the work has to be done according to local electrical codes. You may be required to have the work done by a licensed electrician, and even if you're not, DIY installation of a circuit panel isn't usually a good idea. Since you need a permit, you'll also need to have the work inspected by the codes office when the electrician is done. The inspector checks the entire electrical system, so it's possible other work will be required before he or she signs off on the job.

Contact The Electric Company

The electric company has to come out and disconnect your home from the power line before work can start. There can't be any power to your house while the job is underway, so you won't have any electricity in your home until the inspector approves the work and the utility company comes back out and connects your house back to the main pole. One thing you want to discuss with the power company is the amount of power that comes through the line to your house. Make sure it is suitable for a new 200 amp circuit. If your home is in an older neighborhood the supply line may need to be upgraded too, since older homes didn't use as much electricity. It's possible this fee will be passed on to you, so you want to know about it in advance.

Hire An Electrician

The actual work of installing a new circuit panel goes pretty fast, it's just coordinating the job with the inspector and utility company that might run into snags and cause you to be without power longer than you like. The electrician has to remove the old panel, attach the new box to your home, and then attach all the electrical connections. In addition, the panel has to be grounded with a copper wire that attaches to a pipe that's buried in the ground.

Once the work is done and your new panel is functional, you'll have plenty of new circuits for running power-hungry appliances and tools. The circuit box itself doesn't draw any extra power, it just allows you to power more electrical devices at the same time without tripping a breaker. You may not notice that much difference in your power bill unless you start using more electricity.