If you buy or inherit a lovely older home, you'll probably quickly discover one very not-so-lovely feature about it: the electrical systems of homes from yesteryear aren't suited to the tech-heavy electronics and appliances of today. Before you get started on any other renovations, call your electrician. These are the things that you and your electrician need to discuss when it comes to bringing your home into the 21st Century.
1.) Does the main electrical panel need to be replaced?
Generally speaking, circuit breaker panels only have a lifespan of 25-40 years to start with, so if the panel in your house is the original or one that was installed more a few decades ago, it's time for it to go. In addition, it wasn't uncommon for residences to be designed with circuit boards that were 60 amps or less—you want at least a 200-amp panel in any modern dwelling just to run the typical kitchen appliances without a problem.
2.) Do you want in-wall installation for your television?
If you do, you want to talk to your electrician about where you plan on installing the TV or TVs. The cable and electrical cords can be run inside the wall for the cleanest look. More importantly, you may need an outlet or two installed within reach of the spot you've chosen. Families in earlier decades didn't orient their rooms around the television the way that modern families often do—which means the wall you think could be perfect for your home entertainment center could be without the benefit of a single plug, let alone one that is capable of handling high-powered electronic equipment.
3.) Where else do you need extra outlets and USB ports?
Talk to your electrician about adding GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets anywhere you think you'll be running sensitive equipment that carries a heavy electrical load. They shut off in the event that the outlet gets wet or there's a sign of an overload. Your kitchen absolutely needs one if you're running a dishwasher. So do most modern washer/dryer combos. In addition, count the number of computers you have in your house and make sure that there's a GFCI outlet somewhere for each of them. Don't overlook the bathroom—many older homes weren't installed with outlets in the bathroom since they were built before the days of electric hair dryers and shavers.
To add space for all the electronics that your family may need to charge—which includes everything from Kindles to cell phones and Gameboys—consider having some of the more out-of-the-way outlets converted to ones with built-in USB ports.
4.) Should you add whole-house surge protection?
Power surges are a major hazard to your sensitive electronic devices. While you can always rely on power strips, whole-house surge protection devices can also be installed at the circuit breaker box. A whole-house surge protector can guard against 40,000 amps of current flowing into your home (well above the normal 200-300 amps). The best part is that the protection is fairly inexpensive—it costs around $300 to install.
Keep in mind that even if you aren't planning on updating or remodeling every part of the house right away that it's often easier to get the electrical work done in advance. It can also make living in the home easier and more comfortable as a whole while you work on other things. For more information, contact CMC Electric or a similar company.