If your home was built in the 70s and its electrical system has been mostly untouched, it’s time to give it an overhaul. After all, a lot has changed since the decade of disco. You have more gadgets and power-hungry appliances than ever before, and they’re taxing your aging electrical infrastructure.
Here are five upgrades to bring your home’s wiring into the 21st century.
A 150 to 200 Amp Panel
Most older, single-family homes have 60 to 100 amp circuit breaker panels. This limits the number of electrical appliances and devices you can run at the same time. That means your appliances will be competing with each other for electricity. When both your electric range oven and central air system are operating, something’s got to give. When that happens, your breakers trip. If this is a recurring problem, it’s time to update your service panel.
Consider a 150 to 200 amp panel. This will allow “room for growth” if you decide to add a major appliance later or finish your basement.
A Whole-Home Rewire
Homes built between 1965 and 1972 were commonly wired with a certain type of aluminum that posed a serious fire hazard. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, homes with this type of wiring are 55 times more likely to have electrical fires.
Early aluminum wiring expands and contracts, causing loose connections at the switches, outlets, circuit breakers, and lights. Today’s aluminum wiring is safer, but copper is the preferred electrical conduit. It conducts electricity better and is more resistant to corrosion, expansion, and contraction.
If your home was built during this period, schedule a professional inspection of your electrical system.
A Whole-House Surge Protector
A whole-house surge protector is your home’s first line of defense against sudden electrical spikes. Power surges can happen for several reasons, including downed power lines and lightning strikes. They can also occur when power is restored to the grid after an outage. A whole-home surge protector device mounts directly to the electrical panel box to divert excess energy to the grounding wire, sparing your expensive appliances from damage. Any plugged-in electronics will be protected, too. Items containing microprocessors — TVs, computers, and mobile devices — are especially vulnerable during a power surge. Even a minor fluctuation in voltage can fry sensitive components. A whole-home surge protector regulates voltage swings large and small.
Three-prong outlets: The National Electric Code began requiring grounded three-prong outlets in 1962. If you haven’t updated your outlets since then, they’re long overdue. Two-prong outlets are ungrounded, which means they could cause electrical shock and fires. In contrast, a three-prong outlet has a ground wire to divert extra voltage away from the outlet.
USB outlets: “Honey, where’s the USB charger?!” If that’s a common question in your house, consider upgrading to outlets with built-in USB ports. These outlets are super convenient. You can plug in your devices while leaving the AC outlet available for other things. These outlets also charge your electronics faster than portable chargers.
Standard light switches give you two options: on or off. That’s not always ideal when you’re trying to set a mood. Dimmer switches allow you to control precisely how much light you want, whether you’re setting a romantic dinner for two or need a little light for a late-night work project.
Dimmer switches also help you save electricity and increase the lifespan of your light bulbs.
Bottom line: When you want to upgrade your home’s electrical system, turn to the pros at HedgeHog Electric. They provide quality electrical services in St. George and beyond. No job is too big or too small. To set your appointment, call (866) 605-2113 today!