House & Home

21st-Century Reasons to Update Your Electrical System

Posted June 5, 2015

Well, all you millennials, Gen-Xers, and baby boomers, we are now firmly ensconced in the 21st century. The first decade and a half of the new millennium has seen a great deal of change, in fields ranging from politics and the economy to pop culture. One of the most striking new trends is the proliferation of electrical and electronic devices in the home. All these gizmos use a lot of power, making for plenty of reasons to update your electrical system to keep up with the times.


The Number 1 reason to upgrade your home electrical system is to safeguard yourself and your family. Unfortunately, there have been a number of tragic news reports lately about house fires which were caused by electrical malfunctions. Make sure that your system is up to current code (developed and regularly updated by the National Fire Protection Association) and that your electrical panel is adequate to meet your house’s requirements.

21st Century Electronics

Unless they were science fiction writers, your grandparents likely never dreamed of the day when almost every family in the US would have not one, but a multitude of personal computers. That’s not to mention such newfangled entertainment equipment as video game consoles, large screen plasma TVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater systems with surround sound. All of these devices are tons of fun but they do add an extra burden to your electrical panel.


Statement lighting is one of the most notable fashions in home decor of late. Attractive overhead and wall-mounted fixtures, as well as lamps for floor or table, create a thoroughly modern fashion statement. Beyond good looks, though, specialized task lighting is important for today’s popular hobbies, such as cooking, refinishing furniture, or crafting.

Indoor Comfort

Whether it’s due to global warming or just an increased demand for comfort, air conditioning has become a standard feature in an astounding 87 percent of American homes. Even a tiny window unit needs a surprising amount of power (about 500 watts). And if you install central A/C, you’re looking at consumption of 3500 watts. in Winter, heating your home with electricity ups the figure as high as 26,500 watts. Make sure that your electrical system is ready for this load.

Added Space

Trending now: remodeling to obtain more square footage of usable living space without moving to a larger home. Whether you remodel your basement or garage, add on a bump-out, or expand your house’s envelope by building extra rooms, you will need light, heating, cooling, and possible additional appliances. Once again, your electrical requirements will increase.

Outdoor Living

Another stylish way to add space is by transforming your yard or patio into an outdoor living area. Set up a mini fridge and a fire pit or stove, and you’ve got yourself an open air kitchen. What about a hot tub or home spa for the ultimate in relaxation? If you’d like to enjoy life al fresco 24/7, all year round, you’ll need lighting and perhaps a heater or fan as well. Any or all these call for an electrical update.

Curb Appeal

Last but not least, an electrical system that is capable of handling modern demands will add to the appeal of your property, if and when you plan to sell. Although the real estate market has begun to recover from its 2008 crash, there is still a great deal of competition among house sellers. Updating your electrical system will help to make your property stand out in a good way.

Laura Firszt writes for

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