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Understanding Smart Electrical Panels | Ask This Old House

In this video, home technology expert Ross Trethewey and master electrician Heath Eastman teach host Kevin O’Connor about this new wave of electrical technology.

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Heath Eastman and home technology expert Ross Trethewey teach host Kevin O’Connor about smart electrical panels. The two pros show Kevin how this new wave of technology is more about optimization than maximization, giving users complete control over their electrical system.

Smart Electrical Panels are the New School
Everyone has an electrical panel in their house, and the design hasn’t changed much in decades. However, the newest technology to come along is smart technology-enabled electrical panels. While these systems can stand alone or piggyback off of a standard panel, their features make them an attractive option for energy-savvy homeowners.

Smart Panels Focus on Load Management
Load management is the name of the game for smart electrical panels. The technology to monitor how much energy the home is using isn’t new, but the ability to manage how it’s using that energy is. These panels utilize relays to control circuits, and they report back to a smartphone app. Not only can the user see how much each circuit is drawing, but they can also turn each circuit on or off.

They Optimize Energy Storage Systems
In the case of a generator or solar-fueled battery system, smart electrical panels allow users to make informed decisions. In the past, these energy storage systems were often controlled by a separate panel of circuits, and the users couldn’t switch circuits at will. And, for those that weren’t, the backup system would power the entire house, which could deplete batteries too quickly or draw too much on the generator to be efficient.

Rather than energizing an entire house with a backup generator, the user can choose which circuits turn on and off when the generator kicks on. This lessens the load and creates safer transfers.

There’s a Panel for Every Scenario
There are panels for existing electrical systems and those designed for new installations. The retrofit panels install after the existing electrical panels. Installers can expand the system with as many of these panels as necessary. For new installations, the smart panel takes the place of a standard panel, with main breakers and relays integrated into one clean unit.

The integrated units are also a good idea for anyone who plans to upgrade to a large solar system or generator in the future.

Where to find it?
Lumin panel provided
SPAN panel provided

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About Ask This Old House TV: From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. ASK This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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Understanding Smart Electrical Panels | Ask This Old House

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