residential electrical

Designing a Residential Electrical System with Room for Future Growth

Future-Proof Your Residential Electrical System for Safety and Optimal Performance


Residential electrical systems should always be designed to account for future growth. This is because when you design your electrical system, you are also planning your family’s needs for the next 5-10 years.

Most older homes start with 100 amps. In many homes, this doesn’t cut it anymore. Whether you’re adding more appliances or smart devices, your residential electrical usage will inevitably increase as your family grows and changes. Newer, average-sized family homes are often designed with a full 200-amp system to accommodate any future changes.  

Why Would My Home Need an Electrical Service Upgrade?

Adding a suite is a popular change for many homeowners. Whether it’s a mortgage helper or a space for your in-laws, the addition of a suite can really strain an already cramped electrical system. With the addition of a suite comes appliances, like an electric hot water tank, electric washing machines and dryers, electric ovens and electric dishwashers. There will also be lighting, a tv or two, a computer or two and small appliances to consider. All these items draw from the main power source, so it’s easy to see how quickly a residential system can become overloaded.

This overload can (and will) cause the breaker to trip on a regular basis. You might start noticing that the breaker for your hood mount microwave is tripping when you use your hair dryer, or your bedroom lights turn off or flicker when the washing machine starts up. Not only is this frustrating for all occupants, an overloaded system and the resulting voltage drops can damage your valuable electronics and appliances. Major appliances should all be on their own dedicated circuit which should prevent breakers from tripping.

When your home needs a residential electrical service upgrade, it can be daunting. At Kobalt Systems, our journeymen electricians and other industry experts are here to make sure your residential electrical upgrade is done perfectly and professionally. We will work tirelessly to make the whole process as seamless as possible for you and your family.

Preparing for a Residential Electrical Service Upgrade 

We’ll make sure that your system meets all current codes, standards, and safety requirements. This includes making it compliant with the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). An example of this might be installing arc fault circuit breakers in your home’s breaker panel or installing GFCIs in bathrooms where water could potentially come into contact with an energized electrical device. If you own an older home, you will need to have any knob and tube or aluminum wiring or anything else out of code upgraded before work can proceed. This is because this type of wiring can’t handle increased loads. 

How Does Kobalt Systems Upgrade a Residential Electrical System?

We start by…

-Determining your wants and needs

When you contact us about an electrical upgrade, we’ll discuss in detail where branch circuits or receptacles should be added around the home. We’ll also work with you to map out where they should be located. If you’ve been finding that you’re using extension cords and multiple power strips, you’ll be much better off with a handful of new outlets. We can recommend where outlets may best suit your needs, depending on the appliances and items you want to use.

-Getting permits and upgrade requests

Once you’ve approved our estimate and are ready to schedule, we’ll make sure we have all the necessary permits and upgrade requests from the City of Victoria, the TSA (Technical Safety Authority) and BC Hydro. We’ll also arrange for a thorough inspection and sign off on the completed work.

– Adding a sub panel

First, we install a sub-panel in your basement or other infrequently used space. Sometimes electric panels will be installed in a garage, in a guest room or in the den. We will label the main breaker switch at the top of the sub panel as “main power.” In some cases, we may just install a larger panel. It will all depend on your specific needs and what will make more sense for your home.

– Rewiring the house

Yes, we are going to need to get into your walls. We try to be as minimally invasive as possible, but since your wiring is in your walls, we need to open the walls in the areas that require upgrading. We recommend having your electrical system upgraded during a renovation. If you’ve planned to upgrade your kitchen, for instance, it will already be in shambles. Perfect time to get this job done! 

Some homeowners opt to add on their desired renovation after they’ve decided to upgrade their electrical service. They figure, the walls are opened, let’s go for it. A renovation combined with electrical service upgrade is a really great way to minimize disruptions while increasing the value of your home. 

– Distributing wiring to the rooms

Depending on what you’ve requested and what we’ve mapped out, the new wiring will be distributed to the rooms of your home and connected to new and existing switches, outlets and fixtures. If you’re working from home these days, you might want additional outlets for extra computers, lamps, modems and more. Rather than cram all these devices into the rooms’ only two outlets, we can do it up right with strategically placed outlets.

How Much Does a Residential Electrical System Upgrade Cost?

Because a residential electrical system upgrade is an undertaking involving time for labour, tools, construction and careful planning, the cost starts at a low of about $3,000 and can reach $20,000 or more. 

The cost will depend on the scope of the project, whether any attics or crawl spaces are involved, or if it’s just a much larger than average home. 

The good news is that Kobalt Systems offers a way to finance your electrical wiring upgrade through FinanceIt. With ZERO down and options for monthly or bi-weekly payments, you can have these important electrical upgrades taken care of sooner than you think.

Is your home struggling to keep up with your family’s increased demand on the electricity supply? Do you experience any of the following?

  • Circuit breakers tripping or fuses blowing
  • Flickering or dimming lights when another appliance is turned on
  • Outlets or switches are warm or sparking
  • You need to keep adding more power bars or extension cords because there aren’t enough outlets

If you can relate to any of these, give our team at Kobalt Systems a call at (250) 213-3788 or send us an email any time. Our fully licensed and ticketed team serves Victoria and the Capital Region as well as southern Vancouver Island. We’ll be happy to evaluate your home’s electrical needs and get you set up for future growth.