You may not give your electrical panel much thought. You just expect it to do its job, and it can do that for many years. However, electrical panels can wear out, and they can also become outdated as your electricity needs grow. When that happens, you'll need a new panel.
Electrical panel installation is one of the more dangerous home improvement projects due to the high voltage that's involved. You'll want a licensed electrician to handle the installation. Here's what an electrical panel installation involves.
The City Has To Disconnect Power At The Pole
The power has to be completely off in your house to put in a new electrical panel. The electrician should prepare you for this because the power might be off for hours. You'll want to make arrangements for your pets and family to be comfortable without climate control, lights, or a way to cook during this time.
The Electrician Creates A Plan
Your old electrical system could need an overhaul at the same time. You might want more dedicated circuits for kitchen appliances or an electric car charger.
A new electrical panel is capable of providing more electricity and more circuits. The electrician has to determine how to hook up the circuits so the power draw is distributed evenly.
Then they prepare the electrical panel by knocking out the small metal pieces that cover the circuit openings. Even when your house is all connected, you'll probably have some knockouts remaining for future expansion.
The Service Wires Are Connected
The new electrical panel has to be connected to the service wires that come from the utility pole. That's why it's important to have the electricity turned off.
The panel is mounted on the wall and the main breaker is installed to the service wires. This breaker is usually at the top of the panel and is used to turn off all the power in your house at once.
The Branch Wires Are Connected
Next, the branch wires from the service wiring are attached to each individual circuit that is to receive power. The circuit breakers are added to each circuit. The wiring is hidden behind the panel once the inside panel is put on. The only thing exposed is the circuit breakers. These are actually safety switches. Although it's annoying for a breaker to trip, it does so to protect your home from a fire, so it's important for the breakers to function properly.
The Circuits Are Marked
A simple but essential step is to mark each breaker with what it serves in your house. If you ever need to install an overhead light or repair an outlet, you need to know which breaker to turn off.
A new panel that has a lot of breakers and dedicated circuits is confusing, so use a marker to write beside each breaker what it controls inside your house. Some may control an entire room while others may control a single appliance. For more information on electrical panel installation, contact a company near you.