When Your Home Might Need An Electrical Heavy-Up And An Overview Of How It's Done
A heavy-up is when your electrical panel is upgraded to supply your home with more power. If your electrical panel is fairly new still, it may have plenty of power and empty circuit slots for you to add new equipment and electronics to your home.
If your panel is several decades old, it might have 100-amp power and be too small to add more circuits to when you buy a new appliance. When that happens, your electrical contractor might recommend a heavy-up that upgrades your panel to 200 amps, or even more, so your home has all the power you could need now or in the future. Here's why your home may need a heavy-up and how the work is done.
Reasons To Get An Electrical Heavy-Up
If you want to add a new appliance that needs a dedicated circuit and your old panel is full, the panel may need to be upgraded. Even if there is an available slot in the panel, it might still need an upgrade for power-hungry equipment such as power tools, a tankless water heater, or a hot tub.
Even if you're not adding anything new to your home, if your lights flicker regularly or if you trip the circuit breaker often, your system may be overloaded and dangerous. In that case, you'll need a heavy-up for safety reasons.
Regulations That Have To Be Followed
Your electrical contractor has to follow a number of regulations when upgrading your electrical panel. They must follow local codes, which are often the same or more strict than the National Electrical Code.
Also, your local power company may have its own regulations the electrical contractor has to comply with. Since both the electric company and codes inspector have to inspect and approve the work, everything must be done according to regulations and codes. This ensures your safety too.
Steps To A Heavy-Up
The electrician has to coordinate with the power company so the company can disconnect the service drop from your home. The company may also need to change the service cable that goes to your new electrical panel. The electrician then chooses the ideal spot for your new panel. It has to be a certain height, a certain distance from windows and doors, and a certain distance from metal building materials.
Once the electrical panel is installed, the circuit breakers are put in. The electrician can also install new circuits at the same time, or they can leave them empty until you need them. When the installation of the circuits is complete and the electricity is ready to turn on, the electrician has to get a final inspection from the city, and the power company has to reconnect the service drop cable.
This process could take nearly all day, and even longer if you also need new wiring and outlets installed for an addition or new hot tub. However, once the work is done, you will enjoy having enough power to go around so you no longer trip the breakers or cause lights to flicker if you have too many things on at once. Reach out to an electrical contractor to get started.