If you’re like most homeowners, chances are you don’t think about your electrical service too often. After all, when your home is running well below your service capacity, your breaker won’t be tripping often, if ever. But as more and more appliances and devices draw on power in your house, you might begin wondering if it’s time to upgrade your electrical panel and bump up your service capacity. At TCA Electric, we often recommend that homeowners with smaller service panels consider installing a 200-amp panel. But why should you consider upgrading, and how much does it cost to upgrade to 200-amp service in Canada? We’ll be addressing these and other questions in today’s blog post!
What is your service panel’s capacity?
The main function of your electrical panel (or “breaker”) is to break down the power entering your home into smaller circuits that the wires of your home can handle. Your electrical panel serves as the first line of defense against dangerous overloads and electrical fires.
The capacity of your panel comes down to how much power it can safely distribute to your home. The standard capacity these days is usually 200 amps, while many older homes still have 100-amp panels. And while 100 amps was plenty of power when many electrical panels were installed, these panels have become increasingly strained as modern homes have many more devices running all at once. So, next time you’re near your electrical panel, take a quick look inside—if it’s marked as 100 amps, your home could be due for an upgrade.
Why upgrade your electrical panel?
There are many good reasons for homeowners in Canada to upgrade their panel to 200-amp service, despite the cost (which we’ll cover shortly). Some of the best reasons to upgrade include the following:
Upgrading your electrical panel to a new model can greatly improve how safely your home uses power. Even if your breakers aren’t frequently tripping, chances are your home is running close to capacity with a 100-amp panel. Between the built-in safety buffer, your home’s lighting, and heating and air conditioning systems, more than half of those 100 amps are likely being used before a single hair dryer is switched on or computer is booted up. Upgrading your panel to 200 amps is effectively giving your home’s electrical system more breathing room.
More circuits available
Newer electrical panels open up additional room for more dedicated circuits, which come in handy in several ways. For instance, appliances that draw on a large amount of power can be given their own circuit, meaning you’re very unlikely to cause your breaker to trip by using other devices in tandem with these appliances. It’s also often smart to dedicate a circuit to areas such as a home office or a workshop where power tools are used. Smaller service panels simply don’t have the space for many circuits.
Room for new devices
One of the biggest reasons why older electrical panels can’t keep up with the power needs of modern homes is the advent of new technologies. These additional appliances and devices all need to be plugged in somewhere, putting increased strain on outdated service panels. For many folks in Canada, an upgrade to 200-amp service is well worth the cost when it opens up room for home upgrades such as a pool, a home theatre, or an electric vehicle charging station.
Upgrading your electrical panel: Costs and considerations
While some smaller electrical projects can be DIY, upgrading your electrical panel is definitely not one of them. Because the process involves working directly with your home’s power supply, it’s a task that should only be handled by a licensed and qualified electrician.
The cost to upgrade your home to 200-amp service in Canada can vary quite a bit. For most homeowners with above-ground electrical service, the cost is likely to fall anywhere between $2,000 and $5,000. The precise figure within this range will depend on the city and province where you live, your home’s current electrical panel, and the age of your home, as homes with older electrical systems may need additional updates in order for a service upgrade to be possible. Luckily, reputable electricians will be able to provide you with a more specific estimate before getting started.
TCA Electric Offers Service Upgrades!
At TCA Electric, we’re here to help make sure your home’s electrical systems are ready to handle the demands of modern living. For many homeowners, that starts with a service upgrade to make sure your home can support the new appliances, devices, and renovations you’ve been planning to add. Our professional team of electricians will work with you to provide a complete estimate so you know exactly what to expect before getting started. If you think it’s time for an upgrade to your electrical panel, contact our TCA team today!