4 Reasons Why A Commercial Electrical Panel Upgrade Is Worth It
February 16, 2021 | Cristina Dinulescu
When running your own business, your electrical system must function properly. Not only does your entire business depend on it, but you need to ensure your staff has a safe place to work. A properly functioning, up to date commercial electrical panel is at the core of achieving these goals.
The main panel is the brain of your entire electrical system, sending power where it’s needed and in the amount necessary, without disrupting the network. When the brain no longer functions properly, your whole business is at risk. Devices and appliances you are relying on may start to malfunction. Plus, both fires and property damage can be caused by the electrical distribution and lighting equipment, as well as electronic and office equipment, according to the NFPA.
The solution to this problem is actually very simple. All it takes is careful consideration of your current and future electrical needs, and understanding whether the electrical system is able to handle that. If not, then hiring an electrician to upgrade your commercial electrical panel remains your only option.
Even though it might seem like a large investment, know that it’s worth it. Deciding to take the risk and not doing anything may result in serious damage which may be more costly to repair.
Why Is a Commercial Electrical Panel Different?
The electrical panel has the same purpose in both residential and commercial buildings. It does the same thing and the signs that it needs an upgrade are similar. However, there are significant differences between the commercial electrical panels and the ones used in residential buildings.
When it comes to commercial properties, we’re talking about different load requirements, different types of equipment used, even different safety codes that need to be respected.
The type of wire used
While in residential buildings, the wire used has a plastic sheathing and it’s rather thin, in commercial spaces the wires tend to be much thicker and in conduit. This is necessary because the wires run through open spaces. TTHT is the coating used for commercial wires, a thermoplastic, high-heat resistance, nylon coating meant to protect the wiring from corrosive liquids and gasses.
Phases of power
Typically, residential buildings run on 120 volts and in this case, the necessary wiring is known as single-phase. However, large appliances require a two-phase 240-volt system for the simple reason that they need more power than smaller appliances to function. The two-phase power system is made of a ground wire and two legs, each carrying 120 volts.
Why Upgrade Your Commercial Electrical Panel?
As mentioned before, a commercial electrical panel upgrade may turn out to be quite an investment, but it’s all worth it. And here’s why.
It keeps your business safe.
One of the most common reasons for commercial properties to update their electrical panel is age. If you relocate your business, for instance, the building may be equipped with an old electrical panel. It may be functional, but it is certainly outdated and may not handle the load imposed by your business operations.
As time goes by, the components of the electrical panel may be affected. Wires, fuses breakers wore down with age. These age-related issues expose your business to an increased fire risk, electrical shorts, flickering lights, and more. Your equipment could be seriously affected which can mean great financial losses. Plus when the safety requirements are no longer met, you might not be able to ensure your business, leaving it completely unprotected.
You could try to replace the components that no longer function and extend the life of your electrical panel, after a thorough evaluation. The best solution, however, remains to upgrade the commercial panel. It’s the only way you can be sure that your business is safe.
It keeps technology up to date.
Advancements in technology have been made in all markets and electrical panels make no exception. Equipment and technologies which were perceived as state of the art a few years ago can now be outdated.
The problem with outdated technology is that it’s not only no longer safe, but also not efficient. An electrical panel distributes the power where it’s needed, and keeps all of your equipment operational. The newer the equipment, the greater the need for an upgrade.
Ask an experienced commercial electrician to evaluate your current electrical panel. They will be able to tell you if an upgrade is necessary.
It keeps up with your power needs.
As your business grows, you will invest in more and more equipment. This means that your electrical system will have to sustain a greater need for power. It’s true that most people do not consider this aspect, thinking that adding a few computers to the network shouldn’t be a problem. Only it can be, and a big one at that.
Your electrical panel may not be able to distribute the power correctly and it could place quite the workload on the wiring. This exposes your equipment and staff to power issues, shortages, and potential safety dangers.
As your business grows, you will need to consider a commercial panel upgrade which allows you to add as many pieces of equipment and large appliances as you want.
It keeps your business up to code.
The safety of your staff needs to be one of your top concerns. That is why regular panel inspections are required to protect your staff from fires, electrical shocks, and equipment malfunctions which can cause significant injuries.
However, you also need to consider safety codes and regulations. If your business does not align with these regulations, your company may receive significant fines and can be turned down by insurance companies.
The bottom line is this: a commercial electrical panel upgrade may be regarded as a considerable investment, but not doing it could expose your business to even larger costs and significant safety concerns. So, in the end, upgrading the panel is an investment worth making.