As we move to an increasingly electrical world, many property owners are upgrading their electrical systems. But just because a system is older, doesn’t mean it automatically needs replacing.
Master electrician Mark Quemby says he sometimes gets calls from homeowners who think their old breaker panel needs to be upgraded to a new breaker panel just because someone told them it did.
“We’ll make that change if it’s needed – and if we’re upgrading a home’s electrical system anyway, we’ll often recommend it,” says Mark, the owner of Quemby Electric. “But if your breaker panel is approved and in good working condition, it’s perfectly fine to leave it as is.”
Still, he adds, there are upgrades that really should be considered. Ground-Fault-Circuit-Interrupter (GFCI) receptacles, for example, weren’t required near sinks under the old building codes. “Technically, regular receptacles near sinks are grandfathered so they don’t have to be replaced,” Mark says. “But for safety reasons, it really is a good idea to change them.”
Any time you’re doing renovations or considering future additions to your home or cottage, it’s a good idea to look at ways to upgrade to meet modern building code standards says Mark, who is an Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)-approved contractor.
A lot of homes and cottages need electrical upgrades, particularly as we add more and more electricity demands. Items like ever-larger hot tubs and saunas, on-demand hot water heaters, and heated floors in bathrooms and garages, just to name a few, can all require additional circuits.
And we’re only just starting to see the arrival of electric cars and boats, which require some serious energy, particularly if you want to have a fast-charging station. Mark recently installed a 50-amp charger for an electric boat, and 50-amp chargers for electric cars are increasingly common. When you consider that many electrical panels might have a total capacity of 100 amps, it’s not hard to see how an upgrade can be needed.
“All the new items coming out require more power,” says Mark. “Fortunately, in some cases it is a matter of installing a sub-panel and we can provide all the power that’s needed.”
The team from Quemby Electric can also install and service systems to support generators, landscape lighting, and much more.
“Whether installing a panel, charger, generator or working on wiring in your home or cottage, it’s important the job is done right and held to the highest standards,” says Mark. “We bring that history of excellence to every project we work on. It’s like we say, Quemby Electric provides shockingly good service!”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS SCOTT TURNBULL