The complete guide to electrical panel upgrades in Calgary

If you are planning electrical panel upgrades in Calgary, it will be best to read this guide to understand what the project is about, and how you can get the best results possible without breaking the law. Electrical panel upgrades in Calgary indeed are one of the most effective home improvements that improve the overall comfort and safety of the home. As a result, electrical panel upgrades in Calgary are the way to go to increase the amount of electricity available in your home.

What Is An Electrical Panel?

Electrical panel upgrades in Calgary result from the need to carry out regular inspection or assessment on the electrical panel in the house to ensure that it meets the electricity or
energy demands in the home.

In the case of underperformance, there are dangers involved. Meanwhile, before going further, it is needful to understand what an electrical panel entails. An electrical panel is a service box installed in the home to connect the main power line to the home and also distribute current to different circuits in the home.

The box houses circuit breakers to regulate currents during distribution. An electrical panel controls and manages all electrical actions in the house, such as power distribution, transmission, and power system control.

What Are Circuit Breakers?

Circuit breakers are stacked in the electrical panel and they contain a lever each that can be switched to the “On” or “Off” position to supply and control energy to certain parts of the
home. Each circuit breaker is marked with its amperage capacity. Meanwhile, there is a “Main” breaker that controls all the power to all the circuits at one time, either to power on or off.

From the above, it is safe to say that an electrical panel is the heart of the electrical system in the house. As a result, it should be checked regularly to ensure that it is in the best working condition and functioning optimally, and find out if there are underlying problems that should be fixed immediately. Otherwise, it should be upgraded without delay to guarantee safety. Do not stress out; this guide will let you know when your electrical panel needs an upgrade or replacement, and how the upgrades can be done optimally, efficiently, and safely.

However, it is recommended strongly that you hire a licensed electrician for all electrical panel upgrades in Calgary.

What Are The Reasons For Electrical Panel Upgrades In Calgary?

On average, electrical panels need replacement or upgrade every 25-40 years, their estimated lifespan. So, if your home is at least 25 years or the existing panel was installed about 25 years ago, the chances are high that you need to upgrade your panel. Meanwhile, there are other reasons why you need to consider electrical panel upgrades in Calgary apart from the panel’s age.

The following are the signs that your existing electrical panel needs to be upgraded:

1. Faulty Wiring
Most of the fire accidents recorded are caused by electricity, and faulty wiring is the main suspect. It should be noted that older wiring is more likely to be faulty and pose threat to the overall safety of the home. Meanwhile, faulty wiring and other issues can be detected through regular inspection of the electrical panel by a professional and experienced electrician.

2. Flickering Lights
If the lights in your home flicker when you turn on other appliances, there is a problem with the panel. If there is a running appliance and it seems to be experiencing reduced output, the circuits are likely overloaded. The electrical panel may have become outdated or need to be upgraded to meet the large energy demands in the home.

3. Little Electrical Shock
If you experienced a small electrical shock, especially when touching appliances, that indicates that there is a problem with the wiring in the home and the panel is likely malfunctioning.

4. Frequent Panel Tripping
If your electrical panel trips frequently or you hear a crackling sound, start planning an extensive repair, replacement, or upgrade. Usually, the panel will trip when several appliances are plugged into a circuit, demanding more power than the circuit can provide. The tripping serves as protection to prevent wires from overheating and other dangers.

5. Burning Smell or Discoloured Outlets
When you notice a burning smell from the electrical installations, that is a danger sign. If the electrical panel gets too hot, it could be that it is overloaded. When the wires are heated up, the burning smell may be perceived, and this may result in discoloured outlets. You most likely need electrical panel upgrades in Calgary; contact a licensed electrician immediately.

6. Home Is Over 20 Years Old
If your home is 20 years old and above without a prior electrical panel upgrade, you should consider electrical panel upgrades in Calgary. Older homes usually have 60 to 100 amps electrical panels, which may not meet the current electricity needs of appliances in homes these days. The existing panels in older homes need to be upgraded to cope with modern power demands.

7. Installation of New Appliances
If you are intending to add more appliances to your older home, such as a hot tub and air conditioner, chances are that the existing electrical panel cannot meet the energy demands of modern appliances. You need to upgrade the panel to avoid frequent circuit tripping.

8. Adding Circuit Breakers
Circuit breakers are improved versions of fuses. They serve the same purposes by cutting off the supply of electricity to the home when the current in the circuit gets too high. The main difference between fuses and circuits is that fuses are single-use and can cause fire hazards. For safer homes, circuit breakers are the way to go. You unavoidably have to upgrade your panel if you want to change from fuses to circuit breakers.

9. Use of Power Strips
When you find yourself using power strips to cater to your electricity needs for your laptops, phones, TVs in other rooms, etc., you need to increase the number of outlets in your home, leading to the need for an electrical panel upgrade. This will allow your home to have the needed panel that can cope with the gadgets or appliances filling your home.

10. Planned Home Extension
If you plan to extend your home or remodel your basement, you will need additional wiring and the existing electrical panel may not have the capacity to cope with the additional electricity that will be required to power the extended areas. It is important to plan for electrical panel upgrades in Calgary to take care of the additional needs.

11. Home Sale
Electrical panel upgrades in Calgary are one of the most effective home improvements that help increase the value of a home. Potential buyers are usually attracted to homes that have upgraded electrical panels because they are assured that they will not incur additional expenses upgrading the electrical panel. Moreso, electrical panel upgrades in Calgary come with a permit and approval from the City of Calgary, which will confirm that the upgrade was up to code and standard.

Immediately you detect any of the signs above, contact a licensed electrician immediately to inspect your electrical panel and plan for possible electrical panel upgrades in Calgary. The safety of your home is crucial, and an electrical panel upgrade can help make your home safer and protected against a fire accident.

How Much Does Electrical Panel Upgrades In Calgary Cost?

If you are planning to upgrade your electrical panel in Calgary, it is important to know the cost implications. Meanwhile, upgrading your electrical panel does not require breaking the bank but you must hire a licensed and professional electrician to fix the panel.

When considering the cost of upgrading the electrical panel in your home, it is important to know that the bulk of the cost for the upgrade will be labor, which will cost from $700 to $2,200 depending on the magnitude of the tasks involved. The cost of upgrading electrical panels varies from one contractor to another. However, you are advised to hire a Calgary-licensed electrician for the upgrade to ensure that the project meets code and gets approved by the City of Calgary.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to upgrade your electrical panel to 200 amps, labor costs can range from $1,300 to $3,000. And if you are upgrading to 400 amps, expect to be charged between $2,000 and $4,000 for labor. Upgrading from a fuse box to a circuit breaker costs. from $1,500 to $2,000, while moving an electrical panel from one place to another costs between $1,000 and $2,000.

Keep in mind that electrical panel upgrades in Calgary are a significant investment that will take place sometime later, especially if your home was built more than 25 years ago and the wiring and panel were installed then. Irrespective of how expensive electrical panel upgrades in Calgary may seem, investment in it is the best thing you can do when you consider the safety of the home and the homeowners’ insurance.

Can I Carry Out Electrical Panel Upgrades in Calgary Myself?

It is natural to be tempted to attempt upgrading your electrical panel yourself to save cost since labor cost takes a significant percentage of the total cost. However, working on an electrical panel yourself in Calgary is not entirely illegal but you should hire a licensed electrician for the project.

Before you try to upgrade the electrical panel in your home, you must have technical knowledge that can guarantee that the panel will be connected correctly and safely following the Canadian code and the standard in Calgary. It might be necessary to show your technical knowledge level.

Besides, in the City of Calgary, you need a permit before you can upgrade your electrical panel yourself, and there are conditions for eligibility. Even if you can obtain the permit and upgrade the panel yourself, it is much better to let professionals handle the project. Hiring a licensed electrician for electrical panel upgrades in Calgary is the best decision you can make.

Technically, you should not try to upgrade your electrical panel yourself. The task is complicated and dangerous. It requires professionalism, experience, and understanding of the electrical codes in Calgary. The task needs to be inspected and approved before your home can be powered. Any mistakes can lead to a fire accident, electrical shock, electrocution, and or death. It is best to let professionals carry out the upgrade for you.

If you think about getting the homeowner’s permit to upgrade the electrical panel yourself, you must meet the requirements outlined for the permit and must be ready to follow through with the other requirements. However, the entire task of determining the right size of the panel and the installation will be handled by you. Keep in mind that you must be the one to complete the installation and must be living in the house.

If you think about it carefully, the stress of attempting to save cost on labor is much more than the money you would have spent. Talking about expertise, experience, compliance with the electrical codes, and safety, the best thing to do when planning electrical panel upgrades in Calgary is to hire Calgary-licensed professionals for the task.

How to Carry Out Electrical Panel Upgrades in Calgary

It is illegal to upgrade electrical panels yourself in Calgary, except you are a licensed electrician or professional. Below is the guide or reference on how to upgrade electrical panels. However, it is not a comprehensive guide, and cannot be taken as the manual for the process. Given this, we are not responsible for and cannot be held liable for any of your actions.

Keep in mind that you need a permit to do this task in Calgary. Meanwhile, if you are a licensed electrician, the following are procedures or steps involved in electrical panel upgrades in Calgary:

Step 1: Turn Off Main Circuit Breaker

This is the first and the most crucial step when you want to work on an electrical panel. Turn off the main circuit breaker to cut the electricity supply to the electrical panel. Meanwhile, you must schedule an appointment with Enmax, the utility company, to shut off the electricity supply to your home.

Even when the cables to your home have been shut off, the wires will still have electricity. If you do not have the expertise or you are not comfortable doing this, please contact a licensed electrician.

You will likely need to upgrade the Service Entrance (SE) cable also. Upgrading from 100 amp panel to 200 amps panel without upgrading the SE cable can result in melting cable and fore outbreak. Ensure to upgrade the SE cable to avoid hazards. Having turned off the electricity supply to the home, you would need a flashlight to illuminate the panel. Set the flashlight so that you will not have to hold it when working with both hands. Keep your screwdriver with you and colored tape for labeling the wires. If there is someone who can help you, it will make the task easier.

Step 2: Remove Outer Panel

Having turned off the main circuit breaker, the next step is to remove the outer panel. Hold on to the panel as you unscrew it to prevent it from falling, and carefully remove it to avoid touching any wires.

Do not touch the two black wires that enter the panel from above – they are live wires that connected the electrical panel to the electrical grid. Do not touch them with the screwdriver, the pane, or any tools to avoid electrical shock or electrocution. Meanwhile, keep the panel and the screws to one side as you move to the next step.

Step 3: Remove Wires

The next step is to label each of the wires before you remove them to make it easier when installing the new electrical panel. Having labeled the wires, remove them gently. Do not forget to be cautious with the live wires even though you are sure that power has been shut off.

Remove the breakers or fuse from the panel one after the other. Keep the breakers or fuses to one side. The next item to disconnect is the ground line that is attached to the ground bar. Remove it carefully and the neutral bar as well. Check if you have followed all the steps above and removed all the mentioned items. If you removed them, the main breaker is next to be removed. Keep in mind that the wire is still live, be extremely cautious.

Step 4: Prepare The New Panel

Now that you have removed the old panel, get ready to install the new electrical panel. Create space for the breakers in the new breakers. Connect the neutral wire to the neutral bar. Next is to connect the ground wire to the ground bar. Then connect the ground bar to the neutral bar.

Attach the new panel to the wall and ensure that the panel is in place. Connect individual wires to individual breakers before inserting them into the panel. Remember to label each breaker with the right house circuit. This is important and one of the requirements outlined in the codes. It will also make future tasks on the electrical panel easier and safer.

Step 5: Restore Electricity Supply to The House

Now that the new electrical panel has been installed, the next step is to schedule inspection and approval from the City of Calgary. The inspector, having been satisfied with the installation, will give an order to Enmax to restore the power supply to your home. Without approval and instruction from the City of Calgary, power may not be restored to your home. When the power had been restored to your home, turn on the main circuit breaker to supply power to each circuit in the panel.

This will supply electricity to the entire home. If there one part of the home does not have power, check if you toggled the relevant breaker to “On,” and power will be restored.

Why Should You Hire A Licensed Electrician for Electrical Panel Upgrades in Calgary?

Hiring a professional electrician for electrical panel upgrades in Calgary is the most appropriate thing to do when you want to upgrade your electrical panel. There are several reasons why hiring a licensed electrician for an electrical panel upgrade is the best thing to do.

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider hiring a licensed electrical contractor:

1. In-depth Knowledge and Vast Experience
When you hire a licensed electrical contractor, you can rest assured that the electrician is fully knowledgeable about the complex workings of the wiring and electrical system in your home. Besides, the electrician also possesses vast experience handling panel upgrades and related tasks. The electrician has the right skillset required for the project.

2. Understanding of Codes and Regulations
A Calgary-licensed electrician understands all the Calgary electrical codes and regulations for both residential and commercial electrical work. This will make the electrical panel upgrade in your seamless and meet the codes and regulations without hassles. You do not have to worry whether the upgrade will be approved or not.

3. Access to Proper Tools and Equipment
A licensed electrical contractor has all the right tools and equipment necessary to complete the work professionally and safely. While you may have to improvise some tools, a licensed electrician will use the right tool to get the job done and guarantee safety.

4. Assurance of Safety
One of the major concerns of the City of Calgary about electrical panel upgrades in Calgary is safety. Meanwhile, hiring a Calgary-licensed electrician will assure you and the City that the job is professionally and carefully done to codes and safety. A licensed electrician is skilled and knows how to complete the job without compromising your safety.

5. Additional Repairs
During the electrical panel upgrade, a licensed electrician may detect some faults that can undermine the upgrade and make your home vulnerable to fire hazards. The electrician will fix such fault and ensure that your electrical system is running perfectly, efficiently, and optimally.

6. Permit and Approval
It is easier to get a permit for the upgrade in your home and also get the project approved. You need the permit and approval in the future when you decide to list your home for sale. Hiring a licensed electrician will make the procedures hassle-free.

Final Thoughts

Are you searching for a Calgary-licensed electrical contractor to hire for all kinds of electrical panel upgrades in Calgary? Do not stress out; contact Ampt Calgary Electricians today. We are experienced, licensed, certified, and professional electricians in Calgary, and we are committed to ensuring safe and efficient electrical systems in residential and commercial buildings. Contact us today for all your electrical work and have a pleasant experience.

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