Besides regular residential services, our company also performs a variety of service upgrades. Particularly if your home is more than 40 years old, you might need an electrical service upgrade to provide it with enough power for today's appliances. At Blaine Electric, we perform the panel and wiring upgrades you need to regulate your home's power level, ensure electrical safety, and eliminate the voltage fluctuations that can damage sensitive electronics. All of our electrical services are performed quickly, reliably, and in full compliance with the current Electric State Code.
Let us help make your life easier with some convenience options you may not be thinking about!
When they first began wiring homes in the early 1900s, all electrical panels contained screw and cartridge type fuses. Breaker panels became the norm in the 60s.
Electrical panel boxes look the same, whether they use fuses or circuit breakers. A fuse panel in and of itself is just as safe as a breaker panel. There are two main problems with fuse panels though:
The number of circuits: When fuse panels were prevalent homes did not have the modern conveniences of today. There were no microwaves, dishwashers, etc... These appliances require new circuits and more electricity to run. One major problem we see with fuse panels is that circuits are added where there is no safe room to add them. This results in multiple wires under one screw terminal (against code and unsafe), and/or over-fusing (see below). Fuse panels commonly had 8-12 spaces for circuits. Modern circuit breaker panels commonly have up to 42 spaces for different circuits!
Installing an over-sized fuse into the fuse block. The original fuse panel has no safety mechanism to prevent over-sizing the fuses. Let's say a kitchen circuit keeps blowing the fuse because too many appliances are running at once. It is so easy to insert a 20 or 30 amp fuse into a 15 amp fuse block to avoid the nuisance of the fuse blowing. THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS! The fuses (or circuit breakers) main job is to protect the wiring. Fuses and circuit breakers are sized (15-amp, 20-amp, 30-amp, etc...) according to the circuit wire size. For example: 14-gauge copper wire is required to be protected by no more than 15-amp of overcurrent protection. If you were to put a 30-amp fuse to protect this 15-amp rated wire, then you put 25-amps of electrical load on that wire you could melt is and cause a fire!
Circuit breakers are not as easy to change as fuses, and therefore offer more protection from over-sizing.
All electrical service panels are measured in amperage: 60, 100, 150, 200 or 400+ amps. The higher the amperage, the more electrical appliances can be accommodated by the service. A 100-amp service is perfectly appropriate for some homes and some people, especially if the home is heated by gas or oil.
However, if the 100-amp homeowner is contemplating an addition, adding several new electrical appliances, a hot tub, or a new electric HVAC system, he will want to have a licensed electrician make an assessment as to his new electrical needs.
There are two main reasons for a panel or service change:
A service inspection and/or upgrade is standard today for older homes. Upgrading the panel from fuse to breaker does not necessarily mean that the amperage must also be increased from 100 to 200 amps. However, it is an opportune time if appropriate.
Today's open-concept floor-plans make it easy to move furniture around and to use an area for more than one purpose. But with these larger-than-usual rooms comes a problem. How do you provide for electricity when the furniture is not against the wall? How do you place a lamp beside that comfy chair or use electronic devices while seated on the sofa? Even our toothbrushes these days need to be plugged in, why not keep that cord hidden too?
We have a solution for you...a floor/hidden outlet. With a floor outlet, you can plug in your lamps and then place the sofa on top of it. Have more than one thing to plug in? No problem, you can plug in a surge protector power strip and plug in all the electronic devices you need, right in the middle of the den. With a hidden outlet, you can do things such as plug your toothbrush in under your vanity!
One of the benefits of a floor outlet is that each one comes with a cover that you can place over the plug for those times when the plug is exposed, making your floor smooth again.
With a floor/hidden outlet, you minimize or eliminate the need to string cords across your floor. Electrical cords are a tripping hazard and can lead to serious injury, especially for older people. Of course, electrical cords strung across the room or counters are also just plain unsightly. Whatever you do, NEVER run cords underneath rugs or carpet. While this takes care of the tripping hazard, you now have a major fire hazard from worn cords. Floor plugs can be installed in hardwood, ceramic tile, carpet, or laminate flooring surfaces.