The 6 Key Elements Every Smart Panel Should Have
With the current trend to move away from fossil fuels toward more renewable energy sources, many homeowners are deciding to update their electrical system with a smart electrical panel. A smart electric panel allows users to monitor and control their home’s power distribution, which can lead to lower utility costs and a reduced carbon footprint.
Whether you are looking to join the electrification movement or you want to explore electrical panel upgrade options, let Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric help you with your electrical panel replacement project. As the top-rated electrical contractor in the Santa Clara Valley, we can help you choose the right smart home electrical panel for your needs and budget.
We even put together a quick guide on the six things to look for when shopping for smart electric panels.
Evaluate Your Electrical Needs
Every home, office, and building has an electrical panel that distributes power from your utility carrier throughout your property. This panel contains breakers (switches) that help protect your property during a power surge. Unless you have a newly built or recently upgraded property, your electrical panel is likely outdated. It might do the job, but it does not have the capability or efficiency to handle modern electrical needs.
A smart panel is an updated device that can do more than just direct electrical currents throughout your home. It can provide smart capabilities that allow you to optimize your energy use.
What to Look for in a Home Smart Panel
There are various kinds of smart panel options, so you must evaluate your electrical needs in the present and the foreseeable future. When comparing the different options, there are seven key features that you do not want to overlook.
The first thing you will want to consider when buying a smart panel is its capacity. Some electricians will suggest a minimum capacity of 100 amps. This capacity might be sufficient in older homes, but a house with electric appliances, charging stations, water heaters, etc. needs a higher-capacity panel.
Opting for a 200-amp smart panel is often a prudent choice. Of course, you do not need this capacity at all hours of the day, but you want enough to handle your entire electrical needs. You also want to future-proof your house as you upgrade older appliances to more modern electric devices in the coming years.
All electrical panels, whether traditional or smart, come with breaker switches that shut down power to a specific circuit when there is an electrical overload. Smart panels allow you to schedule when circuits turn on and off to manage your home’s property consumption better. Many smart panels can also track and monitor electric use on each circuit and make adjustments based on your preferences. That could mean pausing charging for your electric vehicle while the dryer is in use or vice versa.
You want to look for a smart panel that provides an easy way to control your electrical load throughout your home, including your at-home electric vehicle charger, solar panels, and backup battery systems if you have them.
Solar Power and Energy Storage Integration
As more homes join the electrification movement, solar power, and energy storage systems will become more commonplace. Even if you do not have these systems in place yet, you will want a smart panel that can integrate with them.
Smart panels can help you manage your power usage to ensure that you use as much solar power as possible while keeping your backup storage at an optimal level.
Utility Time-of-Use Scheduling
You can create a schedule based on electricity pricing with the right smart panel. In many communities, electricity costs more during peak hours. Your smart panel can schedule when your EV charging station is in use or backup batteries get charged to ensure that you always pay the lowest prices.
If you do not have solar power but use an energy storage system, you can schedule your smart panel to run off your backup battery during peak hours and charge during non-peak hours, thus cutting down your overall electric bill.
You want a smart panel that can respond to outages by automatically shutting down unnecessary circuits and switching to backup power. You can program your panel to prioritize specific circuits in your home, like keeping your freezer cold from backup batteries.
Look for a smart panel that can estimate precisely how long you can run your appliances on the available charge in your whole house backup battery. Many panels merely tell you how much charge remains on the battery, but an advanced system can help you plan accordingly.
Home Smart Panel Phone App
Most newer smart panels offer mobile apps that monitor and control your energy use. These apps allow you to control circuits or even turn off power in parts of the house with nothing more than your phone. Most smart panel apps also include built-in alarms, scheduling functionality, and maintenance notifications.
Upgrade to the Right Smart Panel
Replacing your old electrical panel with a smart electrical panel is vital to home electrification. Once you find the smart panel that meets your needs and prepares your home for the future, you need an expert electrician to install the panel. In some homes, installation may require updating elements of your existing grid to handle the new panel. Installing a new smart panel is not a DIY project, as it can be complicated and require various permits.
Watson’s Charging Stations & Electric has streamlined the installation of smart panels, at-home EV charging stations, and home energy storage systems for countless homeowners and businesses throughout the Gilroy, CA, area and the Santa Clara Valley. Our team of certified electricians specializes in electrification and smart home technology.
If you are interested in joining the electrification movement by upgrading to a smart panel, contact us today for a free consultation.