Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

An Electrician May Install A New Subpanel If Your Home Needs More Electrical Circuits

by Yolanda White

If you're adding a new appliance or electronic item to your home that needs a dedicated circuit, such as a new dryer, electric car charger, or hot tub, you may find your older electrical panel doesn't have room for another circuit. In that case, you may need to hire an electrician to find a solution. The answer might be to upgrade your electrical panel, but a subpanel might work instead. Here's a look at what a subpanel does, when you might need one, and how it's installed.

A Subpanel Creates More Circuits

A subpanel doesn't give your home more power. Instead, it adds more circuits. If you have an old electrical panel, it probably doesn't have as many circuits in it as modern panels do. That can be a problem when you need another circuit for your new purchase or when you need more outlets in your home.

A subpanel is like a mini electrical panel. Wiring goes from the main electrical panel to the subpanel, and the subpanel distributes the power to the number of circuits you need.

You Might Need A Subpanel For Convenience

A subpanel is a way to get more available circuits for your house, but a panel is also a convenience. A subpanel can be placed anywhere. It doesn't have to be next to the main panel. This is handy if you mount it in your garage since you can flip a breaker back on if your power tools trip it. Otherwise, you'd have to go to your main electrical panel instead.

If you have an outbuilding or tiny guest house that needs power, a subpanel is a good way to hook it up, and it gives you a way to reset the breakers in case they're tripped in a location that's away from your main electrical panel. Plus, if you're building a home addition or remodeling your kitchen, putting in a subpanel is a convenient way to connect new circuits and control them with their own mini panel.

An Electrician Should Install A Subpanel

You'll probably need a permit to have a subpanel installed, and your local codes office may require that the work be performed by a licensed electrician. Even if using a licensed electrician isn't required, it's best to let a professional install a subpanel since high voltage is involved.

The electrician has to ensure your electrical panel can handle the added circuits. If so, they run wiring from the panel to the subpanel where you have decided to install it. The installation of a subpanel is governed by electrical codes when it comes to the type of place it can be installed and how much space it needs around it. Your electrician is familiar with electrical codes and will make sure your panel is installed properly and safely.

For more information on subpanels, contact an electrician, such as one from Arc Electric & Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.