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Electrical Service Size Requires Careful Planning

Whether you are upgrading an existing electrical service or planning installations for a new establishment, the size of your electrical service depends on a number of different factors. Underestimating the electrical requirements could lead to inconveniences, electrical equipment damage, expensive re-wiring costs, and serious safety risks. Overestimating would mean hefty utility bills and wastage of valuable resources. 

The experts at J&S Electrical Contractors Inc., offer some insights into rightsizing your electrical service. 

Factors that Determine Electrical Service Size

The size of the electrical service helps in determining the power and efficiency of the electricity distribution system of your commercial or industrial premises. Essentially, it indicates how many lights, appliances, machinery, or other pieces of electrical equipment you can operate simultaneously. The factors that determine the capacity of the electrical service are: 

  • The capacity of the service entry cable, i.e. the cable feeding the premises
  • The capacity of the main electrical panel
  • The capacity of the main disconnect

Most often, these three factors are comparable. Which means, it is quite common for a 200-amp capacity cable to feed a 200-amp capacity circuit breaker panel, with a 200-amp capacity main disconnect. 

The amperage of the electrical service determines the voltage supply for your premises. As a general rule of thumb, a 100-amp service is sufficient for a 3,000-sq. ft. property, without central heating or air conditioning. For premises that have central temperature control and are over 2,000 square feet in size, you will need a 200-amp electrical service. 

Here are some essential steps in planning the electric service size for your premises:

  • Review the Existing Service Size: Determine the size of your existing service through a visual inspection of a number of electrical aspects, including the: 
    • Service entry cables
    • Electrical service panel
    • Electric meter and meter base
    • Main switch
  • Check for Improper Sizing: One way to determine any sizing issues is to add up the wattage requirement of all the electrical equipment and machinery on your premises, and compare the total wattage with the total output that your electrical service can support. Additionally, look out for the telltale signs of under-sizing, such as frequent breaker trips, flickering lights, or an acrid smell or discoloration around your power outlets. 
  • Determine the Correct Amperage: Most commercial premises in the US feature a 3-phase 208Y/120 service, which supports large loads and provides a standard 120V power for all outlets. Large industrial facilities may even feature a 480V 3-phase service. However, if you are planning to add appliances or install advanced equipment that needs high amounts of electricity, you may need to reevaluate the amperage requirement of your premises or facility. This entails a proper estimation of your current and future energy, based on the nature of your business, growth or expansion plans, and other such parameters.  

If you are planning the electrical requirements for a new facility, look at aspects such as:

  • Size and type of wiring system, i.e. surface conduit, concealed conduit, or lead sheathed
  • Location of the control panels
  • Layout of the appliances and machinery
  • Future power requirements
  • Your energy efficiency goals

Customized Electrical Services by Licensed Commercial Electricians

At J&S Electrical Contractors, Inc., we offer tailor-made industrial and commercial electrical solutions to numerous businesses in and around New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. You can count on us for a comprehensive range of electrical services, including design and planning, testing and commissioning, installation and maintenance, and 24/7 emergency repair. Our qualified and licensed electricians ensure that your electrical systems are energy-efficient, safe, and compliant with all the applicable codes and industry regulations. We aim to create and deliver reliable and optimal electrical configurations that keep your business running smoothly and efficiently.

Minimize power outages, downtimes, and energy wastage with the help of the experienced and dependable professionals at J&S Electrical Contractors, Inc. Call 215-633-8330 or contact us online for a free quote.