If you don't have enough power in your breaker panel to run all of the appliances in your home without causing a power outage, it may be time for a breaker panel upgrade. This is a particular problem in older homes that were built before most people had a house full of things that required electricity to operate. You can upgrade your breaker panel yourself if you are very sure of what you're doing. It's not something that should be attempted unless you have electrical experience, or you could seriously injure yourself in the process.
If you know how to operate the electrics in your home safely, here's how to upgrade your breaker panel on your own. If you don't have the experience required for this, always call a professional.
1. Get The Necessary Permission From Your City
Most cities require permission before you do any DIY electric work on your home. A professional electrician can pull the necessary permits for you. If you're going it alone, you need to pay a visit to city hall to get the permission.
According to DoItYourself.com, you have to make sure your project conforms with city zoning codes and safety requirements before you begin, or you could be fined if city officials discover what you're doing. It may also hinder you selling your house later if it is revealed during an inspection by potential buyers that you didn't get the necessary permits before doing the breaker panel upgrade.
2. Remove The Old Panel And Install The New One
Pay attention to how the panel is wired. Draw a diagram if you need to, for later reference, since it is very important the new breaker be wired the same way. Turn off the power to your circuit breaker, then unscrew and remove the old panel. Take all the circuits off of the old panel to recycle later. Then, screw the new panel on.
Re-wire the new panel the same way the old panel was wired. If you don't, different switches in your house may turn on different things than in the past. Depending on how wrong you get it, it could even be dangerous and cause a fire hazard in your home.
Once you're sure you've got the new breaker panel wired correctly, re-connect the circuit breakers. Your new panel should look just like your old one did at this point, except maybe cleaner and brighter, with less corrosion or rust.
3. Test The Connections
Turn the power back on and test the areas of your home where there was strain on the electrical service before the panel upgrade. If you can use these areas together without causing a power outage, you are good to go with your new breaker panel. If there is still a strain on your electrical power in certain areas, you may need more powerful wiring.
If you need more powerful wiring, it is a bigger job than just replacing the panel. You will need to hire a professional electrician to do this for you. Never attempt to re-wire your house on your own, no matter how skilled you think you may be. If you haven't been to electrician school, you are not qualified to do it.
Upgrading your breaker panel can be a relatively easy DIY project if you have some basic electrical knowledge and the patience to make sure you re-wire everything exactly the same. It's a time-intensive project, but worth it if you need the extra power in your home. Just know when the job requires more than you are qualified to do on your own and call an electrician like Attaboy Electric Service LLC when necessary.