Thomas Edison helped bring electricity to Manhattan in 1882, but it was many years before most homes had electricity. In fact, 43 years later, only half of the homes in the United States had electricity. Rural homes got electricity even later. When homes were eventually wired for electricity, a 30-amp panel was installed. This was the norm until 1950. After the 1950s, homes were outfitted with a 60-amp panel, and they also had capability for resource-heavy appliances. This system used plug fuses. The next decade saw the modern circuit breaker panel and an increase to 100 amps.
While new construction is now 200 amps, with room to add on if needed, many older homes are still at 100-amp service. This is not sufficient for the needs of a typical home with the modern appliances and electrical devices most people have. Additionally, many homeowners who want to insure or sell their home with 100-amp service find they run into problems. So, what is involved with having an electrical contractor upgrade an old house to 200-amp service? Here's a look at the process.
Disconnect The Electrical
The utility company will need to take care of this first step. They will undo the electric lines, and then they will install a new meter socket box outside. Once this is complete, they will reconnect the power line.
Install A New Circuit Breaker Panel
Your electrical contractor will install a new breaker. This breaker should have room for future expansion if needed. It may also have a surge protector, which does cost more. However, when you consider the potential damage an electrical surge could cause to your computers and other electronic devices, it's well worth the additional expense.
Replace The Wiring
You can stop once the new circuit breaker is in place. Unfortunately, older homes usually have old wiring, too. Upgrading the circuit breaker to 200-amp service doesn't matter if the wiring isn't capable of dealing with the increased load.
Replacing the wire is a BIG job. It requires opening walls, obviously. For this reason, new wiring is usually done at the same time the home is remodeled. First, the wall board is removed. In old homes with outdated wiring, this is often plaster over lath, which is thin boards. This was common until the 1950s, when drywall and other materials became available. Next, all of the wiring as well as the outlets and fixtures are replaced. Then new drywall is put in. This must be done for each room.
To learn more, contact electrical services in your area.