How an electrical panel upgrade can protect your home, belongings and family while preparing you for the future.
Making an upgrade to your electrical service may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to home maintenance. Upgrading your home’s electrical panel from 200 to 400 amps is a smart and important thing to do for various reasons. Most importantly, hiring a licensed electrician to make this change will protect your home and family from potential danger.
When we go about our day, plugging in phone chargers, blow dryers and adding new appliances to our home, we don’t take the time to think about how much stress we are putting on our home’s electrical service. Homeowners that have a lot of draw on their service from HVAC units, a pool, hot tub, Tesla chargers and/or other appliances risk overloading circuits, ruining their appliances and potentially causing a house fire. Below we discuss the importance of making that upgrade to your electrical service, from 200 to 400 amps.
Is a 200 amp Electrical Panel Enough?
If you own an older, historic home, you likely know that most homes were originally built with 100-amp electrical panels. As homes grew in size and homeowners started adding more and bigger appliances, homes began to be built with 200-amp electrical service.
However, is a 200-amp electrical panel enough? Let’s take a look at living space and if you should upgrade your electrical service.
How to Calculate Your Electrical Needs
Hiring an electrician to calculate your electrical needs is the easiest and best way to determine if you need to upgrade the electrical service in your home.
- Determine the wattage capacity of all general lighting branch circuits and add them together
- Add in the wattage rating of all outlets
- Add to that the wattage of all large, permanent appliances (washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator)
- Subtract 10,000 from that total
- Multiply the number you get by .40
- Add 10,000
- Next, find the full wattage of permanent electrical components such as air conditioners, furnaces and space heaters. Then, add only the highest of those numbers since you don’t use the furnace and air conditioner at the same time
- Divide the total by 240
Be sure to allow a 20% buffer, as you never want your electrical draw to be more than 80% of the power capacity of your electrical panel.
The Simple Way to Determine Your Electrical Needs
If the above formula is too overwhelming for you, here is an easy-to-understand guideline from The Spruce to help you determine your electrical needs.
“100-amp service is generally large enough to power a small- to moderate-sized home’s general branch circuits, plus one or two electric appliances, such as a range, water heater, or clothes dryer.”
“200-amp service will handle the same load as 100-amp service, plus electric appliances and electric heating/cooling equipment” (in a small to medium-sized home).
“400-amp service is recommended for large homes with all-electric appliances and electric heating/cooling equipment. This service size is recommended where the expected electric heat load is over 20,000 watts.”
Clues You Need to Upgrade to 400 Amps
When the circuits in your home are overloaded, it causes symptoms and gives clues you may not even notice.
Though you should have your electrical service inspected and diagnosed by a licensed electrician, here are just some of the clues to look for which alert you if it’s necessary to upgrade to 400 amps.
Symptoms of Overloaded Electrical Services
- The breakers in your electrical panel keep tripping.
- Lights dim, especially if you turn on more lights or plug something in.
- An audible buzzing sound can be heard from outlets or switches.
- Outlet and switch covers that are warm to the touch.
- The smell of burning plastic or wires coming from outlets or switches.
- Scorch marks on plugs or electrical outlets.
- Appliances, power-tools or electronic devices that act strangely or don’t power fully.
The Dangers of Overloaded Electrical Panels
If you are experiencing any of the above home symptoms, be sure and contact a certified electrician right away. If you need a certified electrician in Atlanta and its communities of Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Roswell, Milton, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Duluth, Norcross, or Peachtree Corners, iTrust Home Services is here to help.
Some early signs that you may need to upgrade your electrical service are things you might typically overlook. For example, using power strips and extension cords demonstrates that you don’t have enough outlets and you are overloading that circuit.
Plus, if you are remodeling, adding more or new appliances, adding onto your house or adding a hot tub, car charger, deep-freeze or upgrading your heating or air conditioning, you must have an electrician check your electricity load. Unfortunately, not upgrading your electrical services can have deadly consequences.
The National Fire Protection Association has some grim facts to share about home fires. According to their statistics, 47,700 home fires in the United States are caused by electrical malfunctions each year. Sadly, those fires result in an average of 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and damages totaling $1.4 billion.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Service?
Property damage, injuries and loss of life are convincing reasons to upgrade your electrical service. But, if your home isn’t experiencing the symptoms of circuit overload, should you still upgrade to a 400-amp service? Absolutely! Upgrading your electrical service protects you from trouble down the road, but it also helps you prepare for future changes to your home like remodeling, adding appliances, a car charger or even an outdoor kitchen or pool.
Houses are Larger
Homes are bigger in size and require more power to run all the electrical. According to Property Shark, homes in the US are now 74% larger than they were 100 years ago; meaning living space increased by 211%. This interactive chart shows the evolution of home sizes and occupancy over that 100-year time period.
Atlanta Area Homes are the Second Largest in the Country
Atlanta, Georgia, has the 2nd largest home size in America behind Houston, Texas, with our average home size being 1,914 square feet, according to a Lending Tree study. Homes in the Atlanta area average just $102 per square foot lending to the fact that homeowners here get more living space for their hard-earned cash.
But keep in mind, more square footage means more appliances, more lighting and outlets, luxury items like saunas, pools, hot tubs, larger furnaces and air conditioning units. Also, many homeowners are buying Tesla’s and other electric and hybrid vehicles which need dedicated charging outlets.
Your Appliances and Electronics Pull A Lot of Watts!
Another reason you may need to upgrade your electrical service is that each and every appliance, electronic device and lamp we plug into an outlet in our home draws watts of electricity from our electrical service. While you may not consciously think about it, here are just a few items we use daily and how many watts they draw:
- Clothes dryer: 1,500 to 4,000 watts
- Coffee maker: 900-1,200 watts
- Jetted bathtub: 1,800 watts
- Dishwasher: 1,800 watts
- Car charger: 7,200 watts
The Energy.gov website is a great tool to help calculate just how many watts your everyday appliances and electronics use. You may be surprised at just how many watts of electricity you consume!
You’re Responsible for the Electrical Service in Your Home
Your local power company takes care of your electricity until it attaches to your home. From there, you are responsible for the electrical components. For instance, if a horrible storm rolls through and lightning hits a power line and that surge of electricity blows up your television, it’s your responsibility.
That is why it is so important that your home is prepared with the proper electrical services and an electrical panel that can handle your home’s electrical needs. Additionally, whole-home surge protection adds another layer of protection. If you’re looking for an Atlanta area electrician, iTrust Home Services can provide you with the right person for the job.
Upgrading to a 400 Amp Electrical Service is Complicated
If you thought calculating the electrical usage in your home is complicated, upgrading your electric service is even more complicated. Aside from figuring out if your electrical panel is sufficient for your home’s electrical needs, a licensed electrician handles so much more.
- State codes
- Contacting other utility companies
- Meter locations
- Above or below ground installation
- Height requirements
When it comes time to replace or upgrade your electrical service, you must call a professional, certified electrician to do the work for you. Using a licensed electrician ensures that your home and family are safe and the dangers of electrical problems are eliminated.
iTrust Can Upgrade Your Electrical Service
When it’s time to upgrade your electrical service or if you need an inspection, a car charger outlet installed or whole-home surge protection, call the Alpharetta, Georgia, electrician at iTrust. iTrust’s electrical business is led by a GA Licensed Master Electrician ensuring safety, code compliance, and client satisfaction.
Our team of Atlanta area electricians and home service professionals are insured and covered by Workers Comp giving you another reason to rest easy and let us take care of your home’s electrical needs. You can count on iTrust for quality work at reasonable rates.
How iTrust Installs Your 400 Amp Electrical Service
When you are ready to have someone evaluate or upgrade your electrical service from 200 to 400 amps, iTrust is here, waiting for your call. Our certified electrician will come to your home, evaluate your service, listen to your needs and give you a free estimate. No high-pressure sales techniques, just trustworthy, friendly service.
Once you have decided on the electrical upgrades and services you desire, iTrust’s electrician gets to work, handling all of the complicated details, ensuring everything is done quickly, professionally and to all local codes. Depending on the electrical services you choose, your upgrades will be finished in a matter of a few days.
iTrust Electricians in the Atlanta Area
When it comes to safe, reliable and professional electricians in the Atlanta area, iTrust can provide you with the help you need to upgrade your electrical service and so much more. Whether you need an electrical inspection, planning to expand your home, or simply planning for your future electrical needs, iTrust is here with the best electrical service in the Atlanta area.
In addition to upgrading your electrical service, iTrust’s electrician can offer you:
- Electric vehicle car charger installation
- Back-up generator sales, installation and service
- Light fixture installation
- Outdoor lighting installation
- Circuit troubleshooting and repair
- Switch/outlet repair and installation
- Landscape lighting
- Whole-Home Surge Protection
Call iTrust Home Services Today
We not only offer electricians in Alpharetta, GA, but we also offer electrical services near you in Johns Creek, Roswell, Milton, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Duluth, Norcross and Peachtree Corners. In addition, iTrust offers home remodeling in Alpharetta and the areas listed above. Just a few of our remodeling services include kitchen remodeling, cabinet refinishing, lighting, smart home services and much more.