Your home’s electrical panel plays a critical role in the distribution of power throughout your house. Everything drawing electricity in your home depends on the electrical panel’s ability to support the circuits needed for your electricity use. If your home’s panel is older, it may be struggling to keep up with the modern demand for electricity. If so, there’s a good chance your panel and circuits will need replacement as part of your upcoming home remodel.
What Is An Electrical Panel?
Electrical panels are the power center of the home, distributing electricity throughout the house through the circuits that run through the panel. Older electrical panels sometimes support the delivery of as little as 50 amps of electrical service to the house. Modern homes have electrical panels that have enough circuits to deliver as much as 200 or even 400 amps of electrical service.
Why the difference? Many years ago, homes had few appliances and electronic devices. In the past, 50 amps were more than enough power to run the lights, televisions, and electric devices that homeowners used.
Today, homeowners not only have more electronical devices and appliances, but they often require more amperage than in the past. Plus, homeowners often run many electrical devices at once.
Why Might You Need an Electrical Panel Update for Your Home Remodel?
It all has to do with the circuits. Each circuit in your panel will support the different electrical uses for your house. Your panel may show dedicated circuits for certain appliances like your fridge or your air conditioning. And then you’ll have circuits that support multiple uses. For example, you may have a circuit plug supplying your TV, gaming system, lights, and smart devices all at once. The breaker in your panel will flip, cutting off your electricity to protect the circuit, if you overload them.
If you’re remodeling and you don’t have enough circuits or your circuits are not powerful enough to support the upgrades in your appliances or supply electricity to your new addition, that’s when you’ll need a new panel.
For example, one of KitchenAid’s top fridge models requires 15 to 20 amperage on its own. Their dishwashers ALSO require 15 to 20 amps. In just two appliances you already need 40 amps. So as you embrace your beautiful kitchen remodel, you may need the updating of your electrical circuits and panel to be part of your renovation plans.
An Electrical Panel Upgrade Could Lead to Energy Savings
It’s clear when you’re undergoing a home remodel with new appliances or needing to reroute electrical systems, a new electrical panel and circuit upgrade will be in order. However, there’re more reasons homeowners consider a new electrical panel.
For example, you might consider updating your electrical panel in order to take advantage of new smart panel upgrades. Smart panels are electrical panels that supply additional information to homeowners about their electrical usage and service. Smart panels show homeowners:
- how they use electricity.
- which circuits have the highest electrical demand.
- when electrical service has been cut off.
This additional information helps homeowners make smart decisions about how to save power and maintain their homes. Smart panels are great for energy-conscious families and many even include customizable energy schedules that result in long-term savings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you DIY replacing an electrical panel? Should you?
Electrical panel replacement is an advanced electrical procedure that most homeowners are not qualified to perform themselves. Remember, the electrical panel is more about the electrical circuits that run through your home, and as such, it’s not something you’ll want to DIY. This home improvement often requires a permit, and even if it does not, it should still be performed by a trained electrician. The only homeowners who are themselves professionally trained electricians should perform their own electrical panel upgrade.
What is the life expectancy of an electrical panel?
An electrical panel, on its own, isn’t likely to be the reason for an upgrade. The capacity or number of circuits your panel hold is the reason its life expectancy would be cut short. Ultimately, many panels are replaced because they no longer support the capacity needed. It’s not because they’re just too old to work. If your home’s electrical panel supplies less than 100 amps, or is a fuse box, it may be time to replace your panel.
How much does replacing an electrical panel cost?
Does a new electrical panel add value to a home?
Yes, a new electrical panel will add value to your home. However, its value has more to do with the remodel and systems it supports than the panel itself. It’s more important your remodeling is done with proper permits and your electrical systems are properly upgraded to match any changes. Not having the proper permits and not upgrading your panel and circuits to match the capacity needed for your remodel WILL cause you problems when trying to sell your home.
If you plan to sell your home soon and your current panel or circuits aren’t functioning properly, homebuyers may view the panel as a liability needing replacement and could ask for repairs. However, upgrading it panel in of itself isn’t going to be a selling point or cause for increasing your overall home value.
Who do I hire to replace an electrical panel?
You’ll need to hire a licensed, trained electrician to replace your electrical panel. When replacing the panel and circuits as part of your home remodel, it’s best to work with an experienced architect. Working with an architect or architectural team that understand the role of your electrical systems as part of the architectural plan will save you a lot of headaches. Your architect should be able to help you know:
- what changes need to be made.
- who will handle them.
- and at what stage of your remodel.
Your Home Remodel is Worth the Upgrades
Your home remodel may involve more logistics than you thought. However, upgrading your electrical panel and circuits is well worth improving your living space. One great benefit of a professional architect with a project management setup, is you get to focus on what you want. Your architect will figure out how to make it happen.