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Are you using your tax return to make some home system upgrades this spring? Make sure your electrical system can handle the load. An often overlooked part of any home improvement project is how your home’s wiring is set to accept the changes.  

In today’s modern age of technology, your home uses 75% more electricity today than it did 20 years ago. High-powered appliances and smart devices have taken over contemporary households, including smart fridges, Bluetooth speakers, and even Wi-Fi-enabled smart lightbulbs! Heavy internet usage, streaming shows, and countless hours spent on social media only contribute to your home’s electrical load. 

Here are some things to watch out for before upgrading your home’s electrical system.   

Signs you need an electrical upgrade  

  • Flickering or dim lights when appliances turn on  
  • Heavy use of extension cords or adapters   
  • You see or feel a spark when plugging something into an outlet  
  • You smell smoke or “something burning” around an outlet  
  • An outlet is warm to the touch  
  • There is a dark discoloration on an outlet
  • An outlet feels loose when you plug or unplug a cord
  • Breakers trip frequently
  • Fuses blow repeatedly

Age of your home matters   

Most circuit breaker panels have a 40-year life span. This means if your home is more than 40 years old, it may be time to upgrade your electrical system. Back then, houses were meant to leverage 30 to 60 amps across a few circuits to provide all electrical power to your home. Now, modern homes require 100-200 amps to power computers, television systems, game consoles, and other daily necessities. If your electrical systems are 40 years old or older, it may be a good idea to have a professional perform an inspection.  

Replace your electrical meter   

Replacing your electrical meter includes the cost of the new meter and installation by a professional. They help determine how much energy a household consumes. On average, a new energy meter costs between $500-$1,000, but this simple upgrade can help you save on your energy bills for years to come! 

Cost of upgrades  

When estimating the cost of upgrading your home’s electrical system, it is important to determine the amount of amperage your home needs as well as consider whether you need to. upgrade or install a new electrical panel. If you are upgrading your home by 100-amps, then a panel can cost as low as $500, but if you are installing a new electrical panel, the cost can be as much as $4,000. 

An electrical inspection will determine your home’s current amperage needs. From there, it will be determined if your electrical panel itself requires upgrading or replacement. This is a primary factor in project cost. A 100-amp upgrade to an existing panel can cost as little as $500. However, if a full new panel needs to be installed, the total project cost can be $4,000 – $5,000. Another upgrade to consider, depending on the age of your home, is whether surge protectors should be replaced or installed to protect your home’s electrical from unforeseen electrical overload, such as a lightning strike. The cost for this upgrade begins at around $400.  

It is important to find an electrician you can trust to help determine your home’s needs and walk you through the options. SPS Electric will help you diagnose, install, or repair any issues, and our estimates are always free. SPS is licensed, insured, and ready to help you protect your home from severe electrical hazards and determine the correct steps for upgrading your home systems.