Why Upgrade Your Electrical System?
Electrical system upgrades make sense for several reasons. We use so many devices that require electricity for operation or charging that you may find you’ve out of outlets or you’re using numerous extension cords and power strips throughout your home. Adding outlets and charging ports to your home can reduce the tangle of unsightly and potentially unsafe cords cluttering up your baseboards, countertops, and desks.
If your home is older you may not have ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. Designed to protect you from electrical shocks, they’re mandated by most building codes in new construction kitchens and bathrooms. It only makes sense you should have the same protection in your home.
You may also want to evaluate your light switches. If you’ve remodeled in the past you may find that the current placement of light switches doesn’t match the traffic flow of your newly remodeled space. Plus, motion-sensing light switches and other advanced light switches can make your home safer while saving money.
Finally, is your electrical panel up to the task of powering your home? There are telltale signs that will let you know it’s time for an upgrade.
Add and Upgrade Your Electrical Outlets
It’s one of the marvels of modern life that we can rely on an uninterrupted supply of electrical current just by plugging into an electrical outlet (after paying our bill, of course). But that convenience can become a hassle if you’re tripping over extension cords or always searching for an open outlet. Here are a few smart ways to upgrade your electrical outlet infrastructure.
Take stock of your current electrical outlet situation. Are you short of outlets in a particular room, or need to run extension cords to power lamps and other devices? Perhaps you need multiple power strips to power your home office’s computers and accessories or your home entertainment system. If this is the case, you could benefit from adding additional outlets. A qualified electrical contractor can evaluate your existing wiring and help determine the best way to upgrade your outlet options.
Banish USB Wall Warts
Do a quick count around your home. How many devices do you have that charge or are powered by a USB connection? Chances are, the electrical outlets in your kitchen, in your home office, and by your bedside table are clogged up with unsightly AC-to-USB converters. Consider having new outlets with integrated USB outlets installed in convenient locations.
Install GFCI Outlets in Your Kitchen and Bathroom
Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets detect irregularities in current flow and automatically shut off power to prevent electrical shocks. They’re particularly useful in areas where electrical outlets can come into contact with water, such as bathrooms, kitchens, or garages. If your home was built before building codes required them, adding GFCI outlets in these areas will make your home safer and improve resale value.
Time For New Switches?
We take light switches for granted. Flip it, and the lights come on — pretty simple, right? But as with electrical outlets, the positioning, number, and type of light switches in your home can make the difference between purely functional and optimal. Let’s examine some of the ways you can optimize your lighting controls.
Adding or moving light switches
If you’ve ever thought, “I wish I had a light switch here,” why not add one? Along the same lines, there’s no reason you can’t move a light switch to better meet your needs, particularly if you’re remodeling and changing floor plans.
Dimmer light switches
Adjusting the lighting in your room is a great way to change the mood and ambiance of the space. Adding dimmer light switches in place of your existing ON/OFF switches lets you take control of your lighting levels.
Motion-sensing light switches
Adding motion-sensing light switches ensures that the lights in your room will come on (and shut off) automatically when you enter or leave a room. They’re a great addition to utility or laundry rooms, plus pantries and closets.
Smart devices are becoming a part of our daily lives. Why not tap into their potential for your home’s lighting? A variety of smart light switches are available that offer easy control of your lighting options from anywhere with your smartphone or tablet.
Does Your Electrical Panel Need an Upgrade?
As you consider your remodeling plans, consider the center of your electrical system — your electrical panel. This collection of circuit breakers in the corner of your basement or garage is at the heart of a healthy home electrical infrastructure. Consider these circumstances — they may indicate it’s time to upgrade or replace your existing electrical panel.
- You have an older home – How old, you ask? Somewhat, surprisingly it’s probably a good idea to evaluate your home’s electrical panel if your home is 20 years old or older. Although 20 years doesn’t seem like that long ago, the electrical requirements of many homes have increased as we’ve added more appliances into our homes. And if your home is old enough that you’re still using fuses rather than circuit breakers, get it upgraded right away. Not only are circuit breakers easier to reset than replacing a fuse, a home with a fuse box probably doesn’t have the capacity to handle modern needs.
- You’re adding (or have added) an addition – It almost goes without saying that an addition to your home will require additional circuits. But this also counts if you’ve remodeled an area, such as finishing a basement or adding a workshop in your garage. Even if these areas were wired, they may not have the capacity to handle your current needs.
- Your system is warning you that it needs attention – Do your lights flicker or dim when you switch on appliances? Are you having to reset circuit breakers frequently? It’s time to get your electrical panel checked out by a competent electrician.
- Red flags – In a worst-case scenario, your electrical panel is hot, you smell smoke, or you notice scorch marks around the panel. Turn off the power and call an electrician immediately!
Talk to the Pros
As we said at the top, upgrading your electrical system may not be at the top of your home improvement and remodeling list. But the ideas we’ve suggested can make a big difference in the livability, aesthetics, and safety of your home. And many of these ideas and improvements can be done quickly and they won’t bust your budget.
Interested in learning more about making electrical upgrades in your home? Call us and we’ll be happy to help you make the changes you need to make your home a better place to live in.
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY: TEAM ENOCH
(817) 888-8880 | mail[at]teamenoch.com
Team Enoch provides electrical, plumbing, roofing and HVAC services to residential and commercial customers in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metro with an emphasis on value (service price, quality).
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