Thirty years ago, the average new home was equipped with a 60 amp electrical service connected to a screw-in fuse panel with two fuse blocks. The common distribution was a fuse block for the stove and one for the hot water tank. The balance of the homes electrical needs were served by six, 15amp screw-in fuses.
Twenty years ago the average new home was equipped with a 100 amp electrical service and some of them used the latest in technology, circuit breakers.
Now the average home is equipped with a 200 amp electrical service with a distribution panel handling up to 40, 15amp circuit breakers serving the electrical needs of the home.
North American’s are electrical power hungry. Today our air conditioning systems take more power than an entire home did 30 years ago. A kitchen, in a new home, will usually be equipped with a number of receptacles capable of supplying more than 60 amps just to counter top appliances.
Adding receptacles does not increase the available power if they are looped from other receptacles. To get more power to a location the circuit should run directly from the distribution panel.
Many municipalities now recommend that individual circuits for receptacles be wired and fused with a minimum rating of 20 amps.
Old style distribution panels, those with screw-in fuses are generally considered fire hazards. The contact between the base of the fuse and the buss bar oxidizes or charcoals from poor contact. In order for the current to continue to flow heat is generated. In many areas, insurance companies will not renew homeowner insurance if the home is equipped with an electrical distribution panel that has screw-in fuses.
If your current electrical service to your home is less than 200 amps, and/or if it has a distribution panel that uses screw in fuses, you should consider replacing it as a top priority in any major renovation project.
If you are undertaking a major rewiring of a room or multiple rooms, you should also consider the advantages of structured wiring within your home. Having a plan for telephone, computer, and audio visual connections can save hours of troubleshooting in the future.
Another consideration is the addition of a whole house surge protection device. Most individuals provide individual surge protection for computers, however with the spikes and brown outs that are now occurring it is wise to implement surge protection for all of your electrical devices including major appliances. Many electrical manufacturers now make whole house surge protection systems that mount below the main electrical panel.