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Service Upgrades

When do you know if you need an electrical service upgrade?

1) If you are tripping the main breaker and you do not have an electrical fault in the home.

2) If you are installing additional circuits or appliances and you expect to exceed 80% of the load capacity of the existing service panel.


Studies show that since the 1950s individual home electrical use has increased by more than 400 percent, and yet this fact is often overlooked by homeowners who believe that their electrical system is still adequate. The type of cable used to wire homes has had dramatic improvements over the last 50 years. The Electrical Safety Code changes every 4 years. What about your electrical system? For an older home, or any home built to minimum electrical code standards, there is a good chance that the electrical system is already working well beyond its intended capacity.

Consider the following: A standard asphalt shingled roof has a life expectancy of 15 - 25 years. A Furnace or Air Conditioner has an average lifespan of 8 – 12 years. Major Appliances are expected to last only 7 - 12 years, Plumbing Fixtures 5 – 10 years. How long should an Electrical Service Panel or wiring last?

Manufacturers estimate the average lifespan of a Main Electrical Service Panel to be 20 – 25 years, yet we still find that there are many Electrical Service Panels in operation that are over 60 years old. Some of the main switches on these older panels are so dangerous that they can have a catastrophic failure when operated.

Likewise wiring that was installed even 40 years ago can show visible signs of disintegration. Modern wiring is rated at a much higher temperature (90 degrees Celsius), meaning that it can stand up to increased load and proximity to sources of much higher heat, when compared to the 60 degree wiring of the 1970’s or earlier.