If you’re like most people, you’re not an electrician. That means the concept of electrical loads might be confusing. However, you’ll need to calculate it if you’re making any big electrical changes.
Let’s break down everything you need to know about calculating an electrical load.
What is an electrical load?
The electrical load is the calculation of how much power is required to run everything that consumes electricity in your home. When making significant electrical additions to a home, everything that will use electricity to run is calculated to find the electrical load.
Why is electrical load calculation important?
The electrical load of a house determines many things, including the amperage of your electrical panel. Finding the electrical load is an important part of determining whether you need to change your electrical service, as it will tell you if the power supplied to your home (amps) isn’t enough for your electricity use.
Changing the electrical load of your house also indicates a change in your energy bill. For example, if you get a new HVAC system that doesn’t use as much electricity, your electrical load and your energy bill will be lower.
Calculating Electrical Load
Figure out if you need to change your electrical service by comparing it to the electrical load. You can calculate how many amps your home needs using the following steps:
- Add the wattage capacity of all general lighting circuits and the wattage rating of all of your plug-in outlet circuits.
- Add together the wattage rating of all of your permanent appliances (washer/dryer, dishwasher, water heater, etc.).
- Subtract 10,000 watts from the sum of all these, and multiply the result by 0.4 (40%). Then add 10,000 watts back in.
- Compare the wattage of your air conditioner and furnace. Since you only use one at a time, add only the larger wattage rating to your equation.
- Divide the resulting number of watts by volts (most homes use 220 volts) to get the number of amps, or the electrical load.
If the electrical load is more than your current electrical service, you need to increase it to the next service level. To avoid this complicated equation, you can use an online load calculator. However, the best way to ensure that the load is calculated correctly is to contact a professional. We’ll take care of this for you.