Power Tools and Your Electric
As the summer months continue, your home to do list is probably getting longer with projects to make your home and yard the most efficient for the season. Home projects also usually mean the use of some power tools. It’s important to know that these power tools actually suck up a lot of electricity when they are in use. You may even know this from experience accidentally tripping your circuit breaker from overloading it. When it comes to having enough power to safely use your power tools, the wiring in your home is very important.
How many power do your tools really need?
Power tools come with a predetermined number of amps that they require for use. This can be found on a nameplate somewhere on your electric tool. You should be looking for any number associated with the words amp or volt. It’s important to note how many amps your tools use so you know what you can and can’t use without tripping your circuit breaker.
Amps basically tell you how long the tool can run without overheating and causing an electrical safety hazard. So, the more amps a tool has, the less it can run without getting too hot and tripping your circuit breaker. Also remember that although tripping a circuit breaker can be annoying at the moment, it is protecting you and is a safety precaution.
Smaller electrical power tools generally use about 2 to 8 amps of electricity. Larger tools typically use about 6 to 16 amps. Even larger tools could require even more power to work properly and safely.
Do you have enough power for your tools?
Generally if your home was built in the last 40 or so years you’ll probably have enough power for your tools. In older homes, the standard household power was around 60 amps. In today’s world, with all the electricity we use on a daily basis, this has increased in newer homes to up to 200 amps. If you have a home shop in your garage for your tools, it may be a good idea to call and have an electrician come install a subpanel so that your shop uses different circuits from the rest of your home. This way there will be plenty of amps to go around.
If you still have a home equipped with around 60 amps, it may be time to consider an electrical service upgrade. With all of the electricity we use daily 60 amps just doesn’t cut it anymore especially if you’re using electricity sucking power tools often.
But keep in mind..
If one of your power tools requires 20 amps, it is unsafe to to use a 20 amp circuit. It is electrical code that whatever is on a circuit cannot exceed 80 percent of the circuit capacity. This means, for example, a 16 amp power tool must be used on a 20 amp circuit for safety. If you’re using very large power tools you may even need to use multiple circuits.
If you feel like you may have questions or want to get ane electrical service upgrade, it is important to call a licensed electrician who has the knowledge of electrical codes and experience to provide you with safe and reliable work. Electricity is a dangerous thing to work with and is best left to the professionals.