Electrical Service -Size and Safety

Reading the sticker on the electrical panel is only an indication of the size of the service. The true indication is the size of the wire coming into the house and that determination is best left to a qualified electrician. Do not attempt to measure the wire yourself since the incoming wire is still live even when the panel is shut off.

Older services tend to have fewer circuits and fuses or breakers. Inside meters and panels with less than 12 circuits are an indication that the service may be inadequate to serve modern needs. Appliances that produce heat such as stoves, dryers and electric water heaters are major power users. Computers, televisions and other small appliances require very little electricity.

A 60 amp electrical service is usually fine as long as the electric stove and dryer are not fully utilized at the same moment. Using all four burners and the dryer at the same time will not work.

A gas stove and dryer with a 60-amp service will leave as much usable electrical supply as a home with a 100-amp service and all electric appliances.

The most important consideration then becomes adequate distribution of the electrical service. A standard household circuit is 15 amps. Use of one or more appliances on the same circuit, that draw more than 15 amps, you will overload the circuit and blow a fuse. More circuits allow for better distribution.

A 60-amp service with 24 fuses or breakers is better than a 100-amp service with only 12 circuits. Safety comes with separation and the larger service will allow for better distribution. This is usually lacking with older services or panels.

Article by Brian Edwards M.A.A.T.O, B.C.Q, President of Westbrook Building Inspections Ltd. hope this helps and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Century Office Building Conversion

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