Residential electrical systems haven’t changed much since the late 1950s, when circuit breakers became commonplace. They replaced single-use fuses as the primary type of circuit protection in new homes. This development simultaneously increased electrical safety and convenience for homeowners who no longer needed to keep spare fuses on hand.

It was a life changer for many homeowners. The next innovation taking place is smart circuit breakers and electrical panels, which are slowly entering the market. These technologies will soon become the norm in Winter Haven, FL, along with homes across the country. Learn everything you need to know about smart circuit breakers and electrical panels.

What Is a Smart Circuit Breaker?

A smart circuit breaker refers to a circuit breaker with Wi-Fi connectivity and advanced on-board data collection functionality. Most smart circuit breakers use electronic controls to function, rather than mechanical switches like conventional circuit breakers do. Their purpose is to enable real-time monitoring of energy usage and other operational data.

Importantly, smart circuit breakers offer an economical option for homeowners with narrow data collection needs. This is because you can install smart circuit breakers only on circuits you care to monitor. You don’t need to purchase one for every circuit in your home. You only need an electrical panel that’s compatible with whatever smart circuit breakers you’re planning to install.

As of now, major manufacturers like Leviton and Eaton are already making various smart circuit breaker models. However, as the technology becomes more mainstream, additional manufacturers are certain to enter the market.

What Is a Smart Electrical Panel?

A smart electrical panel offers functionality similar to that of smart circuit breakers but for your home’s whole electrical system. They work with a wide range of conventional circuit breakers since the panel itself contains the advanced circuitry. Unlike individual smart circuit breakers, though, smart electrical panels allow for greater control of your home’s electrical infrastructure.

For example, smart electrical panels integrate with solar power and battery storage systems. In this configuration, they can handle things like automatic load shedding during a grid failure. They also offer smart load-balancing functionality to help manage high electrical demand. Today, the main players in the smart electrical panel space are Span, Lumin, EcoFlow, Leviton, and Schneider Electric.

The Benefits of Smart Circuit Breakers and Electrical Panels

Smart circuit breakers and smart electrical panels help bring your home’s electrical infrastructure into the 21st century. They do this by adding functionality that gives you greater visibility and control over your home’s electrical systems. The following are a few of the most important features they offer.

Remote Access and Control

Both smart circuit breakers and electrical panels include internet connectivity that allows for remote access. This connectivity allows you to monitor and exercise control over your home’s electrical infrastructure from anywhere. Most models use a connected smartphone app that stays in constant communication with your breakers or panel. The apps can do things like show you real-time usage data, turn circuits on or off, and provide alerts.

Advanced Energy Usage Analytics

Smart circuit breakers and panels can also help you better manage your home’s energy usage. They do this by monitoring and recording your home’s power usage. They use that data to enable advanced analytics that can identify energy waste or sub-optimal usage patterns. Then, you can make changes to your home’s energy use to reduce your monthly electricity costs.

Time-Of-Use Scheduling

Some smart electrical panels also allow you to set usage schedules to take maximum advantage of time-of-use electricity rates. Time-of-use electricity rates help grid operators balance demand by encouraging off-peak energy use. They do this by charging customers lower rates at off-peak times and higher rates at peak times. A smart panel can help you maximize rate advantages by turning off high-demand circuits at peak times. You could, for example, prevent the use of an EV charger or a washing machine during peak times.

Advanced Load Management

Smart electrical panels can also help homeowners avoid costly service upgrades in some cases. That’s because smart panels often include active load-balancing functionality. They allow homeowners to prioritize circuits and automatically manage usage to stay within the home’s service limits. These days, that’s a big deal as electricity usage skyrockets and homes outgrow their electrical service.

It is not unusual to find homes in Winter Haven with 100-amp electrical service. This service is barely adequate for a modern home and may lead to frequently-tripping circuit breakers. As a result, most newer homes come standard with 200-amp service. However, even that could be restrictive, depending on your needs.

For example, homes with a heat pump, an electric oven, and an EV charger may routinely exceed 200 amps. The trouble is that upgrading a home to 300- or 400-amp service can be very costly. In some cases, it can even be difficult to get your local utility provider to agree to do it for you. A smart electrical panel can help avoid the need for an upgrade through real-time load balancing.

Enhanced Electrical System Management

Smart electrical panels also pair with battery storage and solar power systems to maximize their utility. For example, a smart panel can help you monitor and route solar power production for maximum savings. This works in concert with time-of-use rates to use as much solar production at peak times as possible. Smart panels can also restrict battery recharges from the grid to off-peak times. They can also monitor your battery storage system to extend its useful life during a power outage.

Many smart panels do this by letting you predefine essential and nonessential circuits. They may also allow you to designate convenience circuits, too. In an outage, the panel would prioritize the essential circuits and turn off the nonessential ones. Then, as your battery storage drains past a predefined point, it would cut off the convenience circuits, too. And when grid power returns, the smart panel will return your home’s circuits to normal with no intervention from you.

Local Smart Circuit Breaker and Smart Panel Specialists

Smart circuit breakers and electrical panels come with some amazing benefits. That’s why they’ll soon be a fixture in homes here in Winter Haven. If you’d like yours to be one of them, Top Flight Electric can help. We’ve served local residents for over seven years, offering complete electrical services ranging from simple repairs to complete home rewiring.

Also, our team of experienced electricians always prioritizes the cleanliness and safety of your home as they work. That’s a big reason why we have so many positive reviews from happy customers and why we’re Better Business Bureau accredited with an A+ rating. We even offer financing options on approved credit to help you pay for the electrical services your home needs.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced team members to learn how upgrading your electrical system can benefit you.

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