The electrical load in a home refers to the amount of power required to provide electricity to all the appliances that need it. Electrical engineers calculate these loads to determine whether a home has sufficient power to run those appliances without overwhelming the system.
Depending on a number of factors, like the age of your home and how much you rely on electricity, your electrical panel may become overloaded. If you’re wondering when you should get a residential electrical load analysis, keep this guide from Dreiym Engineering handy. Our electrical engineering consultants have years of experience performing load analyses on homes and can provide valuable assistance to you.
What Is an Electrical Load Analysis?
An electrical load analysis, as briefly discussed before, is a calculation of the amount of power required to run all the appliances connected to an electrical panel. These load analyses are generally performed by professional electrical engineers who walk through the entire residence and note all the appliances that use electricity.
Electrical load analysis for residential applications is often done on older homes, as well as residences undergoing any kind of remodeling. Homeowners who have load analyses performed do so to ensure the long-term safety of their homes.
How Is Electrical Load Calculated?
Your home’s electrical capacity is measured in amps, although some of your appliances, bulbs, and other items that use electricity may have measurements in watts or volts. There are two simple formulas that can help you convert these measurements:
- Amps = watts / volts
- Watts = volts x amps
Most modern homes have 200-amp service, though some larger residences with greater electrical needs have 400-amp electrical service. Adding up the power needs of all your appliances and measuring them against your home’s capacity can give you a rough idea of how much power you’re using. For a more in-depth survey of your home’s power usage, you can schedule a residential electrical load analysis with a professional engineer.
When Should You Get a Residential Electrical Load Analysis?
Are you wondering if your home requires an electrical load analysis? The following are common occasions to have a load analysis performed:
Buying a New Home
If you’re in the market for a new home, you’d do well to learn as much about its inner workings as possible before closing the deal. This principle stands no matter the age of the home, but older homes are more likely to have outdated wiring that requires an update.
Electrical load analysis can reveal a variety of factors about the home’s wiring, like whether some circuits are more heavily loaded than others. If you’re considering buying a home, contact an electrical engineer—along with a home inspector—to perform a thorough survey of the residence.
Adding Major Appliances
Are you replacing an old appliance, like a dishwasher or refrigerator, with a newer model? What about your HVAC system—are you upgrading your air conditioner or furnace? Even new computer systems, like gaming setups that use a lot of electricity, can throw your home’s electrical load off balance.
Any time you plan to add a major appliance to your home, have an engineer perform a load analysis on your system. They can identify which circuits are more heavily loaded than others and recommend electrical upgrades that can lighten the load. If you add a major appliance to your home without knowing your system’s current load, plugging that appliance in could trip the circuit breaker and shut off your power completely.
Constructing a New Home or Remodeling
If you’re planning a new addition to your home, like an expanded garage or a sunroom, a load analysis can help you determine your updated electrical needs. The more space you add to your home, the more electricity you’ll need to light and power it. Before you begin any construction projects on your home, have a residential electrical load analysis performed for a deeper understanding of your existing system.
Should you move ahead with construction or remodeling without an electrical load analysis, you risk overloading your system with new lights and appliances. You may even find that plugging in power tools during the remodel trips your circuit breaker.
What Are the Benefits of Residential Electrical Load Analysis?
There’s a whole host of benefits associated with having an electrical load analysis performed on your home. Not only does this survey provide the knowledge you need to make decisions about your home, but you can enjoy the following perks:
When you enlist an electrical engineer to perform a load analysis on your home, they’ll identify parts of your system that use more electricity than others. You can use that information to make more educated decisions about your energy use, potentially leading to savings on your monthly bill.
In addition, an electrical load analysis can identify minor hiccups before they become major headaches. Think of it as a preventative measure against costly repair bills down the line.
Ensuring Greater Safety
Overloaded circuits and problems with electrical wiring are common causes of house fires. If your home’s electrical system is overloaded, plugging in a new appliance can lead to dangerous overheating in your electrical panel.
When you have an electrical expert perform a load analysis on your home, they’ll also inspect your wiring and look for any flammable materials near outlets. If they find any scorched or melting wires, or any other signs of dangerous overheating, they’ll recommend the appropriate electrical work to mitigate that hazard.
Boosting Energy Efficiency
Has your electrical engineer located any parts of your electrical system that use more energy than others? An overloaded system can lead to inefficient energy use and needlessly expensive monthly bills.
When the engineer points out which circuits draw the most power, you can use that knowledge to make smarter energy decisions in the future. These professionals are able to identify peak load times so you can be more conscious of how much electricity you use during those times. Improving your home’s overall energy efficiency can decrease your carbon footprint while saving money on utility bills.
When do you need a residential electrical load analysis? If you’re planning major electrical changes to your home or considering buying a new house, it’s beneficial to know the wiring inside and out. Contact Dreiym Engineering’s team of engineering consultants if you need a thorough, reliable electrical load analysis performed on your residence.