A Quick Guide to the Smart Electrical Panel Revolution
If you own an older home, there is a good chance that your electrical system is outdated. While your system may work right now, it may not be ready to handle the increasing needs of the electrification movement. That is, the movement to move away from fossil fuels towards cleaner, more renewable electric-powered technologies like electric cars, tankless water heaters, and solar panels.
As the electrification movement gains momentum, it might be time to look at your electrical panel. Unless your home was recently built, your house might not be able to handle your future electrical needs. If your system is especially old, it might pose safety, functionality, and efficiency issues. It may be time to open the doors of the electrification movement in your home with a new smart electrical panel.
Read on to learn why you should join the 50+ million homeowners who already have installed smart electrical panels in their homes.
What Is an Electric Panel?
Your home’s electrical panel is a device that receives power from your utility company or solar panels and distributes power throughout your house. Some people call this panel the breaker box, as an electric panel uses circuit breakers to create individual zones in your home. It is common to have separate circuits run to different parts of your house along with dedicated circuits for major appliances like your dryer, dishwasher, HVAC systems, and refrigerator.
Each circuit has a breaker or fuse in older models that will disconnect the power from that circuit if too much energy is flowing to protect your electrical grid. Your electrical panel is an integral part of your home’s electrical grid.
What Is a Smart Electrical Panel?
A smart electric panel takes the purpose of a regular electric panel to a new level. This device provides the same function as your current electrical panel but allows you to monitor and control your power usage.
Much like a smart thermostat gives you more control over your HVAC system, a smart home electric panel provides more control over your home electrical grid.
What Can I Do with a Smart Electrical Panel?
The best way to think about a smart panel is as an energy management system. With more control of your electrical systems, you can enjoy a great deal of functionality.
Manage and Monitor
After your smart electrical panel installation is complete, you will have instant access to greater control of your panel. With a traditional electrical panel, you would have to traverse all the way to the garage, basement, or utility room to check a tripped breaker or turn a circuit on or off. A smart electrical panel allows you to monitor and control each individual circuit.
Monitoring circuits via your smart panel app can also help you identify if an appliance or system is about to fail. The Span Electrical Panel, for example, can detect your air handler motor is using more power than it should, indicating that it does not have much life left. You can have your system serviced before it turns into a critical issue.
The Square D Energy Center allows you to monitor if and when appliances are used. That means you can get notifications when your garage door opens or closes or easily check if you forgot to turn the dryer on before you left the house.
With just the click of a few buttons on your phone or computer, you create various schedules for your smart panel. For example, you can plug in your electric vehicle to its dedicated circuit or level 2 home charging station as soon as you get home. Your car will not start charging until a pre-determined time, perhaps at night or during non-peak hours.
Scheduling also means being able to prioritize specific circuits. This kind of schedule can ensure that available power goes to your HVAC system during intense weather conditions. By programming when various circuits are in use, you can reduce your electricity usage and utility bills each month.
Home Energy Storage and Solar Power
Smart electrical panels work wonderfully with solar power and home energy storage systems. Your panel allows you to switch between power sources on different circuits or during various times of the day. For example, you could program your smart panel to draw power from your solar panels and charge your home’s battery system. Then, when the sun is not shining, power can come from your batteries.
This same setup could be used to ensure you are only drawing power from the utility company during less expensive, non-peak hours. You can also direct energy only to be used on particular circuits during the more expensive times of the day to keep your utility costs low.
Moreover, you can stretch the life of your power reserves if there is a significant power outage in your area. Power can be routed to essential appliances in your house, like your fridge/freezer while shutting down non-essential circuits. A slight adjustment like this can make your backup power last longer.
Should I Consider an Electrical Panel Replacement?
Your old electrical panel does not have what it takes to thrive in an electric-dependant world. With the rising demand for electrification, several factors might help persuade you to consider electrical panel upgrades in your properties.
The rising cost of electricity: as utility costs continue to rise, a smart electrical panel can help you manage your electric usage and bring those bills back down. Equipment like the Leviton Smart Panel allows you to calculate your monthly energy costs to help you plan your budget.
IncreasedIncrease need for electricity: it has become more practical to move towards electric appliances. Modern families use more computers, smart home devices, and electric cars, all of which require more electricity. An electric panel that allows you to schedule when and how circuits are used will help increase your return on investment from smart home purchases.
An aging power grid: the current electrical infrastructure is old and in great need of repair. Even with the federal government’s desire to make infrastructure upgrades, it will be years before the grid is modernized. In the meantime, you can live with peace of mind that your smart panel can efficiently control your solar and battery backup systems.
Eco-awareness: You ultimately reduce your carbon footprint by controlling your energy usage and costs. A smart panel also makes adding other green technologies to your home more accessible, like an electric water heater, an EV home charger, and more.
Let Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric Be Your Electrification Guides
The Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric team is here to help you move into the era of electrification. We are here for you, from installing smart electrical panels to adding an EV home charger to creating efficient home energy solutions. We have been at the forefront of the electrification movement in Gilroy, CA, and the Santa Clara Valley for years, and we are ready to help you get up to speed.
If you are ready to take the next step in future-proofing your home with a safe, reliable, and powerful smart electrical panel, give us a call for a free consultation.