Why You Need to Upgrade Your 60 amp Electrical Panel in Calgary
Have you owned your home since the 1990s and are planning on selling? Maybe you know for a fact that your home is running on a 60 amp electrical service. Considering this, you or the buyer may run into home insurance issues if your electrical panel has not been upgraded to a higher capacity because the city of Calgary’s bylaws states you must upgrade your electrical panel.
Your home’s specific power needs are calculated based on square footage and load requirements set out by the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). 60 amp panels, although innovative for their time, have outgrown the power supply needs of a typical modern-day home. The article below provides some insights on 60 amp panels and why choosing to opt-out of upgrading to a higher capacity may not only be inconvenient but could be a major liability when it comes to insuring your home.
The Rise and Fall of the 60 amp Electrical Panel
a 60-amp electrical panel is not inherently dangerous; however, it does mean that only 60 amps of electricity will be available to your residence. A 60-amp service represents an old electrical system that is likely accompanied by an out-dated electrical panel.
Before 1960, 60-amp electrical panels were commonplace in Calgary and beyond. This, however, was when houses on average had smaller square footage, power-hungry appliances were less common, and basements were often undeveloped.
Before introducing more energy-consuming modern appliances, Calgary homes were often equipped with only the bare essentials. Devices such as ranges and driers were gas-powered and did not require an electrical supply.
CEC standards also dictated that each room was only required to have one power receptacle, whereas, in today’s age, that number has increased to between five and six.
Pitfalls of Using a 60 amp Electrical Panel in 2021
Today, a 60-amp service is unlikely to meet the necessary power requirements of the average home. New advancements and options regarding modern appliances, including steam showers, hot tub electrical installations, Tesla home charger installations, and steam ovens all within themselves, require 60 amps or higher to run.
Attempting to include additional modern devices in a home that only runs on 60-amps can cause several inconveniences. Main breakers can trip, and water lines may freeze if the home is left unattended for long periods of time. The most worrisome is if your main breaker malfunctions, overheating the conductors that run out to the main power lines and be the cause for disaster.
Overall, it is unlikely that you would achieve all the comforts of a modern home without increasing your panel capacity through an electrical upgrade. It would also be an unnecessary hassle to operate a modern lifestyle without incorporating the appliances commonly seen in Calgary homes today.
Why You can’t Insure Your Home on 60 amp Electrical Service
The above is a matter of inconvenience. But what happens when you’ve purchased a home with a 60-amp electrical panel and now are looking to have it insured? Unfortunately, this is where you may run into some issues if you do not choose to have an electrical panel upgrade service completed.
Troubles getting insurance on a home is commonly seen after a buyer has purchased an older property that has not gone through a renovation before the purchase. If you have purchased a home with a 60-amp service, you will likely not qualify for insurance until you acquire an electrical service upgrade to a 100 amp electrical panel.
You may be wondering how a home with a 60-amp electrical panel could have been insured before your recent purchase. This can happen when insurance was initially obtained at a time where 60-amp panels were considered the norm or grandfathered in. If no renovations occurred, and no new appliances were added, requiring a higher power capacity and a permit approval, there were likely no new circumstances that were a cause for the insurance agency to re-evaluate the home before its sale.
You may choose not to insure your home given this circumstance. Although home insurance is not mandatory in Alberta, it is strongly recommended. Without home insurance, you are putting your personal finances at risk in the event of damage or theft to your property or loss of life.
Why It’s Difficult to sell Your Home with 60 amp Service
Likewise, attempting to sell your older home if it has a 60-amp electrical panel may cause the sale process issues. Realtors working for buyers nowadays can ask for up to $10,000 off the selling price if you still have 60-amp service. Taking the time to obtain a service upgrade can cost around $4,000, which is a much more manageable price to pay to avoid devaluing your home.
How to Tell if You have a 60 amp Electrical Panel
If you want to determine whether you are dealing with a 60-amp service, you can simply look at your electrical panel labeling. If it is only a 60-amp service, your main breaker will be labeled with the number 60. To locate the main breaker’s location, look at the very top or the very bottom of your electrical panel. If labeling has faded over time and you are not able to tell what amperage you have in your home, you can easily reach out to a local Calgary electrical contractor who will be able to determine your current service. Or call 311 in Calgary and as for a home inspection report.
To avoid efficiency and insurance issues, the best course of action is to upgrade your electrical panel. If you choose to renovate your home, this will also be required as all rooms must fall under the CEC’s new standards. Ampt Over Electric recommends switching to a Schneider Electric (Home Line), Square D, or Eaton, these are reputable brands and the most commonly used panel in Calgary, AB. To get a better idea of your home’s power capacity needs, we recommend seeking a free estimate from a trusted Calgary Electrician such as Ampt Over Electric. Talking to a professional will give you a clear idea of the specific needs of your home. This will also protect you from having to deal with any troublesome technical issues caused by low amperage, as well as making home insurance a worry-free process.