MECO Power, Inc

MECO Power, Inc.

The little electrical contractor that can!

System Upgrades

Lets face it homes built prior to 1990 (even some of the newer buildings) weren’t wired to handle today’s technology and electrical loads.

You need a service upgrade if:

  • you currently have a fuse box.
  • you have an electric meter that looks like a welders helmet.
  • you currently can’t make toast and coffee at the same time the microwave is on.
  • you have no spare breakers in your circuit breaker panel or if you have mini-breakers.
  • Your lights dim when the air conditioner kicks on.
  • You are experiencing brown-outs.

        What exactly is a service upgrade?

It is increasing the amount of electricity available to your home/building from the utility company. (Yes, this means your electrical utility company will be involved in the process and an electrical permit is required. Don’t worry, we take care of this aspect as well.) The size of the service, e.g. 100 amps, is the total amount of amps available to the building at any one time.

The electrical system in your home is like a tree. The overhead electric wires from the alley to your house are like the trunk of the tree that feed your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. From there the circuits branch out through your house to feed the different rooms or mechanical systems.

Early 20th century homes were wired for 30 amps and had two 15 amp fuses in a fuse box that served the entire building – even if there were two apartment units in the building. But in those days you were the “cats meow” if you had electricity – even though you may have only owned one or two things that actually plugged in!

Eventually the typical electrical service for a residential building was 60 amps and individual apartments may have had as many as 6 circuits/fuses. Talk about getting modern – you with your electric stove and washing machine, Hi-Fi stereo, TV, ice box and window AC unit!

It wasn’t until the 1990’s that new construction moved to 100 amps for the entire building and 10 circuits in individual apartment/condo circuit-breaker panels. Sadly, not all new construction since the ’90’s included a 100 amp service.

Now that our homes have dishwashers, microwaves, commercial kitchen & laundry appliances, needs for dedicated computer and entertainment circuits, central heat and air systems, insta-heat hot water units, radiant floor heat, and electric charging stations for our electric vehicles the standard is moving to 200 amps and 30-40 circuit panels. (Whew! That’s a lot of electricity we’re using and paying for – want to rethink adding solar electric panels now?)

Upgrading your service does not include replacing the circuit breaker panel and adding circuits….but it is advised. Why? Because just increasing the amount of electricity available to your home doesn’t mean you’ll have it where you need it inside your home. Replacing your circuit breaker panel means we can add more circuits – like those dedicated for computers, AC condensors and radiant floor heat. We then need to run new wiring to where these dedicated circuits are needed. We can also install ARC-fault circuit breakers – highly recommended and sometimes required by Code. It also means we can balance your electrical load by separating out lighting circuits for individual rooms, outlets for your microwave and other appliances, outlets for your entertainment center, or for your electric charging station for your car. This means that your bathroom lights or your computer won’t be affected when you trip a circuit in the kitchen. In the words of a famous person you all know, “It’s a good thing”.