Adding A Subpanel To Your Home's Electrical Service

Posted on: 2 June 2019

There are a lot of reasons you may need to add additional electricity in your home and sometimes to buildings outside on the property. A garden shed with lights and heat or a workshop that you can use all your power tools in are just a couple of ideas. The important thing is to get the right professional to deal with the electrical work so that you know it is down right.

Evaluating the Electrical Service

Before you can run any new wiring out of the existing breaker panel, you need to have an electrician come and inspect the service to determine if the current service has the ability to support a subpanel or additional power requirements. In many older hoses, a 100-amp service was standard and with the requirements of today's electronics and demands put on the system, that is just barely enough for the house.

If the service is not up to the task, the electrician can upgrade the service to a 200-amp service and give you the extra electricity you need. The process involves removing the old breaker panel and installing a new one that has more space in it for additional circuits and in most areas, the law requires a licensed electrician do the work.

Running Lines

Once you have the power you need, a supply line will need to run from the service at the house to the new subpanel in the exterior building. In most cases, a high-quality direct burial cable is the best option to get the power where you need it. You can run it in a trench without any conduit but bury it deep enough to keep it from popping through the surface later. This is not something you want to find with the lawn mower one day.

Installing the Box

The electrician will install the new panel in the building for you and run lines to any of the outlets or lights that you need inside. The box will hold your breakers for this building but is also connected to the main on the house, so if the main power is shut down, you will lose power in this building as well. The breakers in the new panel need to have the proper rating so they pop before tripping the main at the house. The idea is to protect the out building from a short or other problem and shut off the power before the house is ever at risk. 

For more information, reach out to a residential electrician in your area.