Articles / Electrical System Remodels
New technology does not always work well with older electrical systems. In fact, upgrading your electrical system can be an important aspect of remodeling, whether you live in an older home or suddenly find that you have more technological and electrical needs, perhaps for a home office. Moreover, it's imperative to note that electrical remodels are more about safety than luxury or convenience, although they're also usually part of a larger remodel. Home builders have strict codes they must adhere to, and new homes have reliable wiring, nearly without exception. Install a new microwave, air conditioning system, or other load-bearing appliances, however, and you will usually need to an electrical remodeling upgrade as well.
Electrical System Upgrades
Electrical systems are complicated home systems that must be left to a professional electrician. Yet, there are several factors surrounding electrical system upgrades that may indicate how expensive the project will get and may require homeowners to make important decisions for their home before the work begins. Here are some of the most important factors you should consider for your home's electrical remodeling upgrade:
Location: Outdoor, kitchen, and bathroom circuits should be protected by a special ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) circuit breaker to guard against electrocution. Because it is highly sensitive to any short, this type of breaker may need resetting more frequently than standard breakers and should be tested periodically by the homeowner by turning the circuit breaker off, then on.
Amperage: If you're remodeling an older home, odds are your local building department will require you to upgrade your electrical service to 100 amps. Why? It's to ensure that there's enough power in the home for all the modern electrical needs without causing a fire. Older homes didn't need to support so many appliances.
Ease of access: Metal stud framing is the easiest type and least expensive of home construction for electricians to work with because holes are already pre-drilled. Conventional wood framing is the next easiest because of available space between walls and because the wood can be easily drilled through to allow for new wiring. Next, logs homes are more difficult due to a lack of hollow walls, and once a conduit is in place there is little room for error or change. Finally, concrete is the most difficult. Conduits must be pre-set before concrete is poured, and like log homes, there is little room for error or change.
Fixtures: A ceiling fixture provides general lighting for high-use areas, such as entrances, hallways, bedrooms, kitchens, baths, family rooms, and laundry and work rooms. A pendant light, hung from a cord or chain, typically offers task or general lighting for a table or counter. Strip lighting provides task lighting in the bathroom or at a vanity. Wall-mounted fixtures can supply general lighting, provide dramatic accents, or serve as task lighting. Depending on the bulb and trim used, recessed fixtures, installed in the ceiling, can throw a tight spot or a broad beam. Lastly, track lighting is very flexible. Individual fixtures are fitted onto a surface-mounted or suspended track and may be adjusted to throw light in any direction.
Current: A note about 220-volt current and appliances: Most standard home electrical circuits are on a 120-volt line. To run major appliances and heavy electrical equipment, you need 220-volt current in the house. And unless your clothes dryer runs on gas, it will require a 220-volt outlet to operate, so it's necessary to upgrade to 220 volts to handle this kind of appliance.