Do I have a big enough breaker box for my home?

We often receive this question from our residential clients. Usually, there’s at least one underlying reason why we’re being asked about the size of their breaker box. So when we answer this question, we also make sure we are asking the homeowner the right questions to determine any problems and the solutions.

Since this is a common question, it’s helpful to share what we typically encounter when we work with electrical systems in Edmond and Oklahoma City.

Breaker box basics

Your breaker box is where various electrical circuits in your home meet. It distributes the electricity from your utility company to various electrical circuits throughout the home.

Some circuits are shared, liked the ones that connect all of the power outlets in your bedroom. Other circuits are dedicated to one item, like the one that powers your dryer.

The number of active circuits in your breaker box depends on several factors, including:

  • Age of your home
  • Size of your home
  • Number and size of appliances
  • Location and number of outlets

No two breakers boxes are alike.

Some breaker boxes are built for 10-20 electrical circuits, some for as many as 40 circuits. If you see a spot in your breaker box for a breaker that appears empty, this means you have open spaces in your breaker box to add new circuits. If every spot is filled, then you won’t be able to add circuits to this panel without upgrading your breaker box, and possibly even the electrical service you receive from your utility company.

Older homes were often built with 60 amp service capacity, and over time this evolved to 100 and eventually 200 amp services being standard. (An ampere measures the rate at which electric current flows.)

Some larger homes in Edmond and Oklahoma City today have a 400 amp electrical service. This is because of the increasing number of appliances and electronic devices in home today.

There’s a lot involved in upgrading your breaker box from a 100 amp box with 20 circuits to a 200 amp box with 40 circuits. You may have to coordinate with your utility company to increase the service on their end, which may include upsizing your electrical meter and possibly even some of the wiring bringing power into the property. You will also want to work with a knowledgeable and properly-licensed electrical contractor.

Signs you may need to have your electrical service upgraded:

  • Needing to add more electrical circuits, but there is no room in breaker box
  • Lights in the home are flickering, especially when larger appliances are running
  • Breakers are constantly tripping, meaning the circuit is overloaded

If you’re experiencing any of these problems, we’re happy to consult with you on solutions. We may be able to work with your existing setup, or we may recommend you upgrade your service or replace your existing breaker box with a larger one. We always provide a one year labor warranty on all breaker box and electrical service upgrades.

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