When residential electricity first became widespread, homes featured fuse panels to protect them from power overloads. Those fuse boxes remained standard equipment in homes until the late 1940s when circuit breaker panels began replacing them.

Unlike fuses, which you’d have to replace after they blew out from an overload, circuit breakers featured simple switches. It meant that homeowners could enjoy protection from overloads and surges without purchasing an endless supply of fuses. Since then, however, residential electrical panels haven’t changed much.

That is, until a few years ago when the first smart electrical panels appeared on the market. Here’s everything you need to know about smart panels and why you should consider one for your Norman, OK, home.

What Is a Smart Electrical Panel?

A smart electrical panel is a circuit breaker panel that contains an onboard computer that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi. It pairs with an app that allows you to control the panel’s functions from your smartphone.

Smart electrical panels can work with grid power, solar power, and battery storage systems. They allow you an unprecedented level of control over how your home uses electricity. They also collect data about your usage and help you visualize it so you can make smarter usage decisions.

The Features of a Smart Electrical Panel

A conventional circuit breaker box doesn’t have much to it. However, a smart electrical panel includes a variety of features to help you better control your home electrical system. Most smart panels include the following functionality.

Real-Time Usage Monitoring

One of the key features of smart electrical panels is that they give you the ability to monitor your electrical usage in real-time. If you only use grid power, this allows you to see what circuits in your home consume the most electricity. It also gives you the power to turn off circuits remotely, if necessary. For example, if you accidentally leave your stove on when you leave, you can cut its power without having to rush back home.

Solar and Battery System Integration

Smart electrical panels also work with your home solar power and battery systems if you have them. They can let you know, for example, how long your battery storage will last, and they will make these determinations based on your current and projected energy use.

This smart technology can also let you know when your power’s coming from your solar panels or the grid. In other words, a smart electrical panel gives you complete visibility into your home power systems.

Advanced Circuit Grouping

A smart electrical panel can also let you group circuits based on priority levels. If you have a solar or battery storage system, this lets you decide which circuits get power during an outage. Many smart panels let you designate circuits into distinct categories, such as must-haves, nice-to-haves, and not-necessary.

This allows the panel to cut power to the right circuits during an outage based on your needs and preferences. The priority system can also work with a battery storage system to maximize your battery life while still powering your critical circuits.

Manage Overall Power Demand

One of the main reasons that homeowners upgrade their existing electrical panels in the first place is to accommodate rising electrical demands. A smart electrical panel can help you proactively manage your household’s demand to avoid costly service upgrades.

For example, if you add new electric appliances that push your home electrical service to the limit, a smart panel can help. It can juggle your household’s electrical demands to always keep them below your service amperage. So, if you were to install an EV charger, for instance, the smart panel could restrict its use to off-peak times.

When Consider a Smart Electrical Panel

Of course, it’s worth noting that smart electrical panels aren’t cheap and may not be a good idea for everyone. Therefore, you should know which situations may call for one and when they’d be a smart investment. The following are some of the situations when you should consider having such a panel installed in your home.

You’re Installing a Grid-Tied Solar Power System

It is prohibitively expensive to install an off-grid solar power system for most homeowners. As a result, most residential solar power installations involve smaller systems that coexist with grid power. A smart electrical panel is the perfect addition to such systems. It allows you to make the smartest possible use of your solar power generation to maximize your energy cost savings.

You’re Installing Battery Storage

A smart electrical panel also makes a good companion to a battery storage system. It gives you the flexibility to change your power priorities after your battery installation. Without a smart panel, installing a battery storage system means hard-wiring your priority circuits.

Those are the circuits that your battery will power in the event of a grid failure. However, if your needs change after the fact, you can’t easily alter those hard-wired circuits. A smart panel lets you endlessly reconfigure your home’s circuit priorities any time you wish.

You’re Going All-Electric

If your home previously relied on gas-powered appliances and heat and you’re planning to go all-electric, you should consider a smart panel. The reason is that increased electrical demand also increases your need for control. A smart panel will help you to make smart choices, including evaluating the performance of your new appliances. It will also help you decide on further upgrades based on their odds of cutting your energy use.

You’re Modernizing Your Home Wiring

Even if you’re not adding solar, batteries, or going all-electric, a smart electrical panel may still be a good idea. This is especially true if you’re planning to have your home rewired. The wiring in the average home only lasts for between 25 and 50 years. When you reach the point that you need new wiring, you will also end up replacing your main electrical panel.

Since smart panels are all but certain to become the norm in the coming years, this is an excellent opportunity to upgrade. It will save you a significant sum of money to get the work done while you’re already rewiring. It will also help you avoid having to replace a new panel before it’s time if you choose to upgrade to a smart panel later.

Your Local Smart Electrical Panel Experts

Since 2008, Norman Air has served the residents of Norman with quality electrical services at fair prices. So, if you’re considering an upgrade to a smart electrical panel, we can help. Our expert electricians have extensive experience with electrical panel replacements.

We also offer wiring services, backup generators, EV charger installation, ceiling fan installation, and surge protection. We can also see to all your HVAC and plumbing needs, too. Plus, we’re better Business Bureau accredited with an A+ rating.

So, you can count on the finest workmanship and excellent customer service when you collaborate with us. If you want to upgrade to a smart electrical panel in Norman, contact Norman Air today!

company icon