Electrical Service Upgrade | GFCI Outlets | Wiring
Upgrade Your GCFI Outlets
Prime Electrical Service can walk you through the process of upgrading your electrical systems, including electrical wiring upgrades, GFCI outlet installations, and more. Increasing power requirements from modern appliances, technological advances, and safety concerns have prompted many homeowners to consider upgrading their home’s electrical panel.
Electrical Panel Upgrades
Newer homes typically utilize a circuit breaker and ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, so a need to replace or upgrade your electrical panel is less likely. However, the older your house is, the greater the chance that the electrical wiring is outdated and unsafe. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, faulty wiring is the leading cause of residential fires.
For many years, Zinsco electrical panels were found in most homes in the United States and Canada. They have not been used since the 1970s and most experts today recommend replacing these panels due to design flaws and deficiencies. If your home was built in the 1960s or 1970s, be on the lookout for aluminum wiring, which is now considered a safety hazard. Because aluminum wiring connections often loosen up over time, overheating at outlets can occur.
Even if your home’s current electrical panels appear to be in good working order, you may feel the risk to your home and family is unacceptable. In addition, insuring houses with older wiring can be very expensive. An inspection can determine if leaving the wiring in place is safe, or if an upgrade is needed.
Fuses versus Circuit Breakers
Many older homes have fuse boxes, which may work fine for some, but may be insufficient for meeting your family’s power needs. The standard for household power used to be 60 amps. Today, modern homes are running more appliances, computer equipment, high-definition televisions, and other devices that may need as many as 200 amps – additional amperage a circuit breaker can provide. Another possible issue with a fuse box is that there can be a delay during a surge before the fuse blows, which can be a fire hazard.
Circuit Breaker Replacement
Circuit breakers are safe because they switch off immediately when there is an electrical surge. If they are constantly tripping, you might need to upgrade the panel to allow for more amperage or replace faulty circuit breakers. Households tend to use a lot more electric-powered devices than they used to, so what was adequate 20 years ago may be insufficient today.
In addition to replacements that are needed due to the age of the electrical panel, consult an electrician if any of the following occurs:
- Lights sporadically dim
- You hear buzzing or sparking sounds from outlets
- You are installing a new major appliance like a hot tub
- You have to use special outlets or extension cords to accommodate all of your electrical devices
Electrical Wiring Upgrade
If you decide to upgrade your electrical panel and add GFCI outlets, you will probably also want to upgrade your wiring (add link), which is significantly more involved and expensive because the new wires have to be run inside the walls. The best time for a wiring upgrade is when major renovations are being done; since the walls will already be under construction, they can be repaired as part of the renovation.
Structured Wiring Upgrade
Upgrading to a structured wiring system can increase the value of your home. Structured wiring is cable that allows data to be dispersed throughout the house, like electrical wires conduct electricity. A control box is installed and bundles of wires run from the box to each room in the house. You will want to be sure that the system is wired this way; some people install the wiring more cheaply by running it from the controller to one room and then another, but then the signal is shared by different rooms. When the wires are installed like this, you may have less than optimum reception on phones, TVs and computers.
Prime Electrical also provides upgrades or replacement service for:
Smoke & CO Protection – Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can be hardwired. This method provides better protection because the alarms are wired to each other and the power source (including battery backup) so that if one alarm goes off, they all do, alerting residents to danger.
Doorbell Systems – Wired doorbells have the advantage of more style options than wireless systems and no possibility of interference from other signals.
Bathroom Fans – Newer model bathroom fans are quieter and more efficient. Some even feature heat-exchange ventilators that use the heat being extracted from a room to heat the colder incoming air.
Childproof Receptacles – Tamper-resistant receptacles prevent children from inserting objects into the outlet and protect them against electric shock.
Prime Electrical’s specialists have over 30 years of experience helping people with their electrical service needs, like replacing circuit breakers, installing GFCI outlets, upgrading electrical wiring, and solving other electrical problems. For more information or a quote for an electrical upgrade, contact us or call 610-994-0290 today.