Electrical Panel Upgrades for Solar: A Technical Case Study
looking to reduce his electric bill by going solar and he decided to call an installation company that he found on the internet. The next day, a rep from XYZ Solar came out to his house and, after looking at his electric bill, told that he would need an 8.5kW PV system to offset 100% of his past 12-month usage.
Two days later, received a call from the same rep and was told that, unfortunately, the main panel upgrade would be required, adding an additional $2,000 to the cost of the project. When the rep tried to explain why an upgrade would be necessary, the explanation made much less sense. In fact, it made no sense at all when the rep told John, “Normally, an upgrade would not be necessary, but your main service panel is center-fed, which is why an upgrade – in your case – is required”.
In many cases, a homeowner could be spared the $2K expense if the installation company were to perform a simple load calculation to determine whether or not de-rating the main breaker is possible, safe, and passable by city inspectors. For project, a 7600W string inverter is being proposed by the installation company – a good choice, and the spec sheet shows 40 amps of back-feed protection is required by the main service panel in order for this inverter to be connected
Project aspects like this might sound slightly complicated, which was why Solar was founded – to ensure the consumer is protected when technical aspects of projects are laid out.
Cost to Replace a Circuit Breaker Box
How much can you expect to pay a qualified electrician to replace a breaker box?
Cost to replace circuit breaker box
“It depends on how many circuits you have, the existing conditions, whether it’s a single-family dwelling, multi-family dwelling and the amperage of the panel — whether it’s a 100, 150, 200 amp,” says It could range anywhere from $500 to $1,300, depending on site conditions.”
installed, replaced or upgraded breaker boxes in 2014 reported paying an average of $1,932 with a general range of $1,625 to $2,225, not counting discounts many service
Instead, advises homeowners to upgrade a circuit breaker box because it protects electronic devices and the data contained within them. “I tend to go with that logic that almost everyone has something electronic in their home with valuable information inside that electronic equipment,” he says. “Whether you’re a video game person or a stock market trader or you collect family photos, whatever your area of interest, that’s the best reason to have up-to-date, functional electrical equipment protecting your home.”
How prevalent are Stab-Lok breakers?
Federal Pacific circuit breaker panels, with their faulty Stab-Lok breakers, still lurk in many older homes, says “Each electrical supplier is going to sell a manufacturer that they support. When you have a company that’s producing them three towns over from where your supply houses are, most suppliers sold Federal Pacific electrical panels, and that’s why everybody had them.”
Both electricians report trying to help customers who stubbornly decline service to replace their old breaker boxes. “I have Federal Pacific panels in customers’ homes who are not willing to replace them,”
Signs Your Electrical Panel Needs An Upgrade
As a homeowner, it comes as no surprise that equipment in your home requires maintenance over time. Electrical panels, or circuit breakers, are no different. Aside from the fact that they are out of sight and typically out of mind, usually come in contact with electrical panel only in the unfortunate event need to reset a breaker! With infrequent visits, how can you tell if you need to replace your electrical panel? Here are a few tell-tale signs that your electrical panel is in need of replacement.
Do you know how old your electrical panel is? If you don’t, chances are it might be relatively old. Homes today have more electrical needs than they did in the past! Making sure your electrical panel is up to date and is equipped to power your home is important to consider. It’s a good idea to have an experienced electrician take a look if you have concerns about the age of your electrical panel.
Frequent Tripped Breakers
If you are constantly resetting breakers, it could be a sign that your electrical panel cannot power the electrical needs of your home. Tripped breakers happen to everyone. In fact, they are designed to do just that! As a necessary safety measure, circuit breakers “trip” to protect your home from overloaded and short circuits. Even dangerous electrical fires. So, tripped breakers are actually a good thing, just not when it’s happening around the clock!
As with any area of your home, there is always cause for concern when you start to smell something burning. In the case of your electrical panel, the concern is a little bit higher. Seeing as 51,000 electrical accidents happen each year according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Hence, if you notice burning smells coming from outlets or your electrical panel, call Service Professor!
Have you made major appliance upgrades lately? Larger appliances require a higher electrical draw than older appliances and typically will need an upgraded electrical panel for the extra capacity required. If you are planning to upgrade some appliances in the near future, ensure your electrical panel is up for the challenge!
ELECTRICAL PANEL UPGRADE GUIDE WITH COSTS
As modern electrical needs and demands have increased, the same demand for higher and more reliable power. To meet modern electrical needs and ensure your electrical system is safe, you might have to upgrade your residential electrical panel.
At some point, any homeowner will likely find themselves in the position where an upgrade is necessary. When that time comes, it is important to know what to expect and how much it’ll cost. That way, you can make the most informed and cost-effective decision for your home and lifestyle.
When and why replace an electrical panel?
Like all things, electrical panels have a set lifespan before they eventually need to be replaced. The older the wires in the panel, the more risk there is of short-circuiting or even sparking hazardous electrical fires. It is possible that your older panel is not up to recent code, and for safety reasons, an upgrade is needed. Other times, it may just be that your household’s power needs have changed and so an upgrade is in order. Either way, knowing the signs or reasons you need an upgrade or replacement will help with that final decision.
Signs it’s time to replace the electrical panel
Regular maintenance and checkups by a professional will help keep your electrical panel in excellent condition. Generally, this should be done at least every 3-5 years. That said, any problems that come up before, such as an overloaded circuit, can pose premature issues. If that happens, don’t wait to buy a replacement and risk a safety hazard. Instead, knowing the signs of when it’s time to replace will help keep your home safe.
Breakers trip frequently: If your safety panel is getting old, it may wear down and be more at risk of power surges. When this happens, the circuit breakers will trip more often as a result. It may also be that your home’s electrical demands are too high for the electrical panel and is causing it to trip more often.
Breakers don’t reset: A related problem with breakers tripping is if they don’t reset afterward. In this case, it’s likely a fault with the electrical panel itself. A professional electrician is the best way to identify the problem and then either repair or replace it.
Burn marks or odours: The wires inside the panel can also wear down, and as they do, it risks causing electrical fires inside the panel. That is a more severe problem that should be dealt with immediately by a professional. If any wires become exposed, that is another safety hazard that should never be ignored. Turn off the power and call in a professional right away.
Flickering lights: If the problem isn’t fixed at the light source, it may be a problem with a lack of energy. You might notice lights flickering when the microwave runs or the furnace kicks in. Old homes have fewer circuits, so they aren’t able to meet the demands of modern electrical needs. Replacing your old electrical panel or adding more power will help stop this problem.
What To Know About Upgrading Your Circuit Breaker Panel
Your home’s circuit breaker plays an important role in supplying the power you and your family need for all of your appliances and electronics. Typically, older homes were built with 60- or 100-amp breaker panels; unfortunately, this is quickly becoming an insufficient amount of power with all of the high-tech appliances and electronics homeowners have these days. The good news is that a residential electrician in Tampa can upgrade your home’s circuit panel to supply you with all the power you need.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Circuit Breaker Panel?
There are lots of good reasons to upgrade your home’s circuit panel. For one, an old electrical circuit breaker panel can pose a safety hazard. Old circuit breaker panels can also struggle to deliver the power you need to use all of the appliances and electronics in your home, and in some cases might even damage these expensive belongings due to power surges. Upgrading your electrical panel is an investment in your safety and in the continued performance of your valuable appliances and electronics.
What are the Signs That I Should Upgrade My Circuit Breaker?
The sooner you upgrade your circuit breaker panel, the better. But how do you know when to contact a licensed electrician in Tampa to upgrade your home’s service panel? A few warning signs that it’s time to replace your circuit breaker panel include:
Frequently tripping circuit breakers
Flickering lights when appliances or electronics are in use
Burning smells or smoke coming from the panel
How Much Does a Circuit Panel Upgrade Cost?
The cost to upgrade your home’s circuit panel depends on a number of different factors, including the size of your home, the age of your electrical system, and any additional electrical system upgrades or repairs that will be made at the same time as the breaker panel upgrade. Contact a residential electrician today for a quote on a circuit breaker panel upgrade.