Sometimes your family is just outgrowing your current electrical capacity, with additional circuits and power consumption that require an upgrade such a 100 to 200 amp service or even 250 amps. You might be adding an HVAC system, EV charging station, or other high current demand devices, and need the capacity to meet those needs. In some cases, very old homes can start with just a 30 amp service, just enough for basic lighting and not much else. The quest for more power is natural in our electricity-oriented culture, whether we draw from the commercial electric grid or add power generation capacity of our own such as solar or wind power. At Tioga Contractors in Hurst, TX, we recognize the need for increased power capacity, and we believe that planning properly for that connection helps your home grow with the times. Adding a new circuit breaker panel along with your new electrical service, and even replacing existing older wiring can be a solid investment in your home’s future.
High Power Using Devices in Your Home
If you are adding on HVAC to a home that previously didn’t have it, you’ll need to provide for the power needs of the unit. A typical 3 ton AC unit for a 1,800 sq. ft. home pulls about 3500 watts and needs a 60 amp circuit breaker. For an older home, that could take all the power available from the current 60 amp electrical service, or most of 100 amp electrical service. Other devices that pull significant power that you might have added include:
- Water Heater
- Refrigerator and Chest Freezer
- Electric Range
- Whole House Lighting
- Washing Machine
You’re also drawing a significant amount of power, typically about 10 percent of your home’s power load, from vampires. That’s vampire load, or phantom power load devices that use electricity even when they’re not being used. You can probably guess some of them since you know they’re ready to respond to your remote without being turned on at the device:
- TV, Stereo, DVD or Blue-Ray Player
- DVR with Cable, or Satellite TV Box
- Cable Box Alone
- Video Game System
These all pull between 5W and over 60W on standby, around the clock, and more when they’re operating. Then there are the loads you might not have thought of, also drawing power to stay “alive” until you need them:
- Garage Door Opener
- Cable Modem for Internet
- Cordless Phone, Answering Machine, Clock (alone or on other devices like stoves and microwaves)
- Computer Monitor, Desktop PC, Laptop
- Furnace, Room Air Conditioner
- Coffee Maker, Cell Phone Charger
These range from 50-60W on standby for computers, to a few watts for coffee makers and cell phone chargers.
There are two points here: your power use is increasing much more than you know, thanks to always-on electronics and other vampire devices, and even if you increase your home’s power capacity, it might not hurt to research ways to reduce your phantom power use.
Finally, one more set of power-consuming devices that homes increasingly install, the home theater system. With a solid TV, AV receiver, subwoofer, and media devices system, you can easily be pulling around 2400W, or 20 amps, enough that you really should split it over a couple of circuits. Subwoofers draw an amazing amount of power, and AV receivers are catching up quickly with multichannel amplifiers for 3D sound.
Preparing for Your Home’s Peak Load Needs
When you upgrade to a 200 amp electrical service, you’re getting a big enough wire coming in to handle a combination of significant loads at the same time. It’s also the responsible thing to do when you’re adding circuits, and our electrical service specialist can explain how the math goes for determining how many circuits you can support. These days, older homes with several rooms sharing a circuit should probably have their own, since we do use more power even for things like hairdryers and space heaters, and it’s hard to share a low power limit in separate rooms because you don’t know what devices are in use in the other room. Heaven forbid your teen should have a microwave in their room, too! We also tend to pull more power in garages and workshops, with devices like air compressors, welders, and shop tools all needing plenty of wattage, sometimes to the point of requiring additional 240V circuits to accommodate them. Plenty of outdoor lighting and power outlets outdoors can add to your expansion power needs too.
When You Decide to Bump Up Your Electrical Service
When our electrical service experts have done the math with you, covered all of the active and phantom power needs you to expect to have, the circuit count and capacities, typically 15 amps or 20 amps, that works for you, and tallied it all up, you’ll have some idea of the capacity you need. You might also decide to pick a number that is likely to be future-oriented, looking good when you put the house on the market someday. By the way, rewiring older circuits can also be something that adds safety and convenience now, and looks really good in the future. Our team can set you up with a plan that includes working with permits and the power company to perform the electrical service upgrade, installing a new circuit breaker panel if appropriate, and adding the appropriate circuit breaker values for typical circuits and higher-powered ones like the 60 amp HVAC circuit. Since technology is constantly evolving, we now have the option to add GFCI and AFCI protection in circuit breakers, and surge and lightning protection on a whole-house basis.
Your Comprehensive Electrical Service Experts in Hurst, TX
We’re Tioga Contractors, an experienced team of electricians who can fix a few outlets for you in Hurst, TX or upgrade your whole-house power capacity. We can help you plan, and keep you safe today. Call us for expert electricians.
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