The Electrical Service is what brings the power to all the outlets and equipment in your home or business. This power can’t be taken for granted, as any sudden failure to have sufficient service could lead to a loss of electricity that can leave you without lights, appliances or even a way to charge your phones and other devices. This is why regular preventive checkups of your Electrical Service are so important. By catching any problems before they can escalate, you can keep your system running at its best.
When you are deciding whether or not to have your electrical service upgraded, it is helpful to understand what is involved. In most instances, this will be an upgrade to the amperage of your home’s breaker panel. However, the electrical service also includes a number of other components, such as the meter base and service drop. The responsibility for the installation of these is often determined by the electric utility company, but should always be discussed before starting any work.
You may notice the wires that run from the electric meter base to the home’s service point hanging off your house, or you may see them connected to a metal service head at one of your exterior walls. Depending on where you live, the service head may be in a ground-level metal box or buried underground. In some cases, it may be in a garage, but most homes will have theirs on an interior wall, usually tucked away in a built-in closet or utility room.
Inside the service panel, you will find two rows of individual circuit breakers with small toggle levers. Each is labelled with its amperage rating, and the total amount of available amperage is indicated on the main fuse block. If you have an older fuse panel, a simple look at the main block will let you know what its total capacity is by indicating if it is 60- or 30-amp.
The service point is where the main wires from the electric company connect to your house’s internal wiring and branch out to the different rooms in your property. The National Electric Code recommends that these overhead wires are kept 3 ft. away from any windows, doors, porches or fire escapes.
The size of your current electrical service is based on the wattage requirements of your house as well as the type of equipment you have. Incorrectly sizing your service can cause numerous issues, including electrical equipment damage, excessive utility bills, and dangerous safety risks. Getting your service rightsized is a simple process, but it should be performed by a professional electrician. Electrical Service