Major Remodel: Upgrade Your Electrical Service

Upgrade Your Electrical Service Panel when Contemplating a new Home Addition or Remodeling Project

By Mark J. Donovan

If your home is over 40 years old and you’re planning a major home remodel, you should seriously consider upgrading your electrical service. The average home built 40 years ago or longer typically had only a 60 amp electrical service. Moreover it only had a handful of separate circuits protected by fuses. The typical electrical service panel consisted of a separate fuse block for the oven/stove, one for the electric hot water heater, and a hand full of other 15 amp screw in fuse blocks for the rest of the electrical needs of the home.

Building a new addition onto an old home may overtax the old electric service panel such that it causes the frequent blowing of the main fuse in the electrical service panel.

Contrary to all of the green living talk we’ve heard about over the years, the modern home and family consumes much more electrical power than they did 40 years ago. There are more electrical appliances in homes today, such as air conditioning units, and many of the traditional appliances of the past, e.g. televisions and stoves, consume more power.

So if you’re planning a major home remodeling project, such as a home addition, and you have an older home, its a smart idea to upgrade your electrical service to circuit breaker technology and a higher amp electrical service.

The average new home today, for example, has a 200 amp electric service panel in it with up to 40 separate circuits that are fed and protected by circuit breakers. In addition, modern electric service panels also include traditional circuit breakers, as well as ground fault circuit breakers (GFCI) and arc fault circuit breakers.

Upgrade Your Electrical Service by starting at the main circuit breaker panel.

GFCI’s protect the occupants of the home from deadly electrical shocks around water. Arc fault circuit breakers protect the home from fire caused by arcing appliances, such as a vacuum cleaner.

Most circuit breakers in an upgraded electrical service panel are either 15 amp or 20 amp 120VAC rated. However, for electric ovens, electric water heaters, water pumps, and dryers 30 Amp circuit breakers are often used.

Another reason to consider upgrading your electrical service when doing a major remodel is that you may have difficulty getting additional homeowners insurance. Old electrical services with screw in fuses are considered fire hazards. The reason for this is that at the base of a fuse, oxidization can occur with the power bus bar. When this occurs heat is generated through the oxidation of the two pieces of metal which can result in a fire.

So if you have an older home and you’re planning a home addition, or remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, seriously consider upgrading your electrical service.

For help on building a new custom home, see’s New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid Sheet provides you with the knowledge on how to plan a custom home building project, and what to look for when hiring contractors for your new home construction. It also includes a detailed cost breakdown table and spreadsheet for estimating your own new home construction building costs.

Related Information

Additional Electrical Wiring Resources from

Free Home Addition Price Quotes with No Obligation!

Fill out our 3-5 minute quick and easy form, and receive a free price quote on a house addition from one of our prescreened and licensed home addition contractors. This process is free and there is no obligation to continue once you receive your house addition price estimate.