Read This Before Running Electricity to Your Workshop or Outbuilding

The electrical system inside of a home is similar to that of an outbuilding in that it is a collection of wiring and components that deliver power to every outlet and fixture in the house. An electrical system that is not adequate will not supply enough power to keep everything working without encountering problems on a regular basis. Upgrading a system far beyond the needs of the residents could be unnecessarily expensive and wasteful. Homeowners will need to look at several areas of the house to determine the adequacy of the electrical system. A home that requires more power will need help from a professional electrical service to upgrade capacity and potentially install more panels, circuits or even outlets.

The same holds true for providing electrical service to any outbuildings or workshops on your property. On average the cost of wiring a brand new outbuilding can range anywhere from $2,500 – $3,500 depending on the size of the building and your specific needs. Don’t forget to plan for the possibility of adding on to your existing building. This may cost you a little more to run wiring for future use. It’s considered a good investment to wire an outbuilding, especially if you intend to make use of this space frequently and if there is any possibility of a move in your future. Wiring in outbuildings can increase your resale value of your home significantly.

If you ever have any questions about how you are going to get things done, it is critical that you start with a good electrical contractor, but even the most advanced contractor simply cannot resolve all of your issues if you are not certain what needs to be done. You have to take some time and look at all of your options. This means that most people are going to have to analyze their needs carefully and decide specifically what they would like completed and how they intend to use the outbuilding.

Professional contractors agree: more lighting is better. You can always decide what lights you want to turn on, but if you need more light than what is installed you’re in trouble. They also agree that you can never have too many outlets. Contractors suggest installing at least as many outlets in your outbuilding as you would in a similarly sized room or rooms of your home. You want the outlets to be conveniently located but still adhere to safety codes. Keep in mind, it’s much easier and more affordable to have wiring (lights and outlets) installed initially than to have an electrician come back to upgrade an installation.

The type of electrical installation you will need will depend largely upon the primary use for the space. If you intend to use your outbuilding as a workshop, you’ll need to consider installing 220-volt receptacles for your larger tools. You also may need to consider additional lighting options as well as fan placement depending on where you live. If you have an office space in mind, you will want to strategically place outlets and internet cable connections for easy access where you are planning on placing your desk. A craft studio will need good ventilation and additional wiring for things like kilns and such. These are all important points to consider when planning your wiring and discussing this plan with your electrician.

Planning ahead and preparing for a project like this is one way you can save a little money in the long run. Talk about your needs versus wants for your outbuilding’s wiring with your electrician and ask about ways you could possibly get what you want for the price of what you need. There may be some things that will be easy to add later on that you can possibly forgo now. That’s always an option. Make certain you choose an electrician who is licensed and strictly adheres to building codes. It would be unfortunate to go through all of this work only to find out it’s not up to code.

If you are in need of any type of electrical repairs or installation, call Penna Electric. Our knowledgeable, experienced staff will get your electrical work done right the first time every time.

Electric Service Panels Unplugged

Electric Service Panels sometimes fail and for a few good reasons. The most common electric panel failure is overloading.  Overloading an electric service panel is easy to do if the nuances are not understood.  The concept is a garden hose that has water in it.  Imagine that water could be going through the hose so fast that heat is the result of friction. Then imagine pushing more and more water through the hose faster and faster until the hose just melts.  It’s just like that with electric service panels. The electricity is like the water and the capacity of it to push electricity to the rest of the building is limited by the size of the wire (hose) and the circuit breaker (valve).  When too many circuits are added to a line the demand keeps going up until the wire fails.  To keep the wire from failing, the circuit breaker is designed to be weaker than the wire. The breaker is designed to ‘trip’ and cut off the flow of electricity when too much is going through the wires.

The unschooled person will just put in a bigger breaker.  The bigger breaker now is stronger than the wire, and now the breaker won’t trip and the wire melts because of the heat.  Electric Service Panels are designed with electrical loads in mind. Wire is strung throughout a structure with electrical loads in mind, and exactly correct circuit breakers must be installed to protect the circuit.  The funny thing is, almost every electric service panel is designed differently because of the layout of the building. For example a long narrow house with the kitchen far away from the electrical panel will likely have a different make up than a small two story house with the kitchen right next to the electric panel.

In short, electricians must pass stringent tests to know proper codes, and most municipalities have stringent code enforcement with electrical inspectors to proof any major project.

Wow Something Great!

Electric Panel Upgrade
Electric Panel Upgrade

Wouldn’t it be nice if every day there were hundreds of people around LA who paid for the groceries of the person behind them? We want to have a positive impact in our community, and that is why we came up with the Light Bulb Man. To put a smile on peoples face.

Electricians are both the best and worst contractors. They are the best because of the level of technical skill needed to survive the dance of electricity zapping wires and breakers. They are the worst because most people don’t understand what is needed to compete an electrical job.

This ignorance on the customers part spells opportunity to the unmitigated electrical optomist. Follow this link and quell the bamboozeling by asking the right questions, or better yet follow this link to ask the right electrician.

Electric Panels Explained

Electrical Service Panel
Electrical Service Panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Electrical panels sometimes need to be replaced.  To understand why an electric panel has a useful life, it is important to understand how the panel is made, and how the panel controls or routes the electricity into the electrical system.

The electrical panel has several components: the exterior housing box, bus bars, circuit breakers, neutral buss, and grounding buss.

The electric panel is designed to control and distribute electricity from the power company into the building.  The electric panel sends electricity around a building in much the same way an underground sprinkler system distributes water to each of the sprinkler heads.  Even outdoor landscaping lighting is a great example, but that is a different blog.

The size of the exterior box is generally determined by how much electricity is needed throughout the building.  For example, a motorcycle shop with lots of welding equipment and air compressors for power tools will need a bigger box than say, your grandmothers powder room.

The type and shape of the box is determined by where it will be installed (indoor vs outdoor) and if the box will be mounted inside a wall or attached (hung) from a wall.

The bus bars inside the box distribute electricity to the individual circuits.  For example a dedicated circuit might go to the stove, microwave, or dishwasher, or clothes dryer, but the master bedroom might have 3-4 outlets and lights attached to one circuit.  Think spider web with a center piece with the web having spokes like a wheel.

Each circuit has a ‘breaker’ attached to it, in line, so if someone sticks a fork in the light socket in the master bedroom, the breaker will trip and cut off electricity down that spoke. It’s a safety mechanism.

The size of the breaker is also determined by the amount of electricity needed.

There are two main reason Electric Panels need to be upgraded.

1. Electric panel age. After 15-20 years a panel begins to break down and must be replaced to be safe.

2. Electric panel size. When more circuits are added (more spokes) the panel runs out of capacity. Therefore a new panel (usually but not always) must be installed.

In all states in the USA a certified and licensed electrician is required by law to do most electrical work.  Doing a complete panel upgrade is not an easy task, and if done incorrectly you can have the light switch in your bedroom turn on the garbage disposal, or open the garage door!  In California the license is C10 for a dedicated electrical contractor.  A general contractor with a B license can also do the work, but they generally have to hire a C10 licensed person to actually do the work.

Penna Electric in Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles does electric panel service and upgrades and is a C10 AND B all in one company.  You can also contact them at 877-415-0097.

Electric Service Panel

Electric Panels can be a complicated item but they don’t have to be. Very simply, they route electricity from the source (usually the power company) to the rest of the building. There are several dangers in dealing with electrical panels.

First, electric panels are often overloaded. This means that for the amount of energy supplied in from the power company (or solar panels) the hardware in the panel can’t take it. The panel melts and starts on fire, and the rest is messy.

Second, electric panels that are installed properly actually get old. How old? well, imagine you bought a brand new car 20 years ago and just let it sit and never touched it. After a while the rubber and plastic parts (think insulation in an electrical panel) get crusty, brittle, and lose their insulating power.

Either of these factors is the reason electrical service panels must be updated from time to time.

www.pennaelectric.com is an electrical panel expert in Manhattan Beach, CA and Los Angeles. Call them at 877-415-0097 if you have any questions.

Electric Service Panel

Electric Panels can be a complicated item but they don’t have to be. Very simply, they route electricity from the source (usually the power company) to the rest of the building. There are several dangers in dealing with electrical panels.

First, electric panels are often overloaded. This means that for the amount of energy supplied in from the power company (or solar panels) the hardware in the panel can’t take it. The panel melts and starts on fire, and the rest is messy.

Second, electric panels that are installed properly actually get old. How old? well, imagine you bought a brand new car 20 years ago and just let it sit and never touched it. After a while the rubber and plastic parts (think insulation in an electrical panel) get crusty, brittle, and lose their insulating power.

Either of these factors is the reason electrical service panels must be updated from time to time.

www.pennaelectric.com is an electrical panel expert in Manhattan Beach, CA and Los Angeles. Call them at 877-415-0097 if you have any questions.