June 3, 2022

Installing a Smart Home Panel? Look for These 5 Key Features


4 Min. Read

Smart home panels have several benefits, from giving you more control over your energy usage to prioritizing critical circuits during a power outage or peak hours. However, there are some important considerations. Here’s how you can find the best smart home control panel for your residence.

Reviewing your electrical needs

Every home or building has an electrical panel built into a wall that contains breaker switches and protects you in case of a power surge. You may think your current electrical panel is adequate, but that is like saying an old flip phone is adequate. They both did the basic job needed for many years, but newer options offer additional technological features.

Smart panels are updated, modern electrical panels that do more than direct electric currents from the circuits to parts of your home. They provide intelligence in the form of sensors and energy meters to measure and connect. They can save you money by helping you optimize your energy use, both from day to day and in the event of an outage.

There are different kinds of smart home panels. So, it’s essential to pick one adapted to your unique power needs now and in the foreseeable future:

  • User-friendliness. The best smart home control panel options monitor and control your energy usage. They enable you to optimize your backup batteries to ensure they are charged and ready when needed. Smart panels can also integrate clean energy upgrades such as a solar power system and EV charging.
  • Adequate capacity. Capacity is a crucial consideration when purchasing a smart panel. A 100-amp panel is sufficient for most residential use, particularly in older homes. However, many appliances, such as electric stoves, water heaters and clothes dryers, as well as Level 2 charging stations, require more power and a higher-capacity panel. A 200-amp electrical panel is a smart choice for those homeowners. You may not need all the capacity at this time, but you are future-proofing your home so it will handle the load as you replace older gas-powered appliances.

Considering smart panel advantages

Features and capabilities can vary from one panel model or brand to another. You may not need the best smart home control panel on the market or the one with the highest capacity. However, you should be aware of some of the common features panels have and what they can do for you.

  1. Load management

All electric panels come with breaker switches that shut down power to a circuit in case of an electrical overload. But smart panels let you schedule when circuits turn on and off to manage your load and power consumption. The panel technology uses smart circuit breakers to report back how much current each circuit is drawing.

This lets you control the load in particular home areas and even the load in your backup batteries. The technology can also provide detailed insight into your consumption habits.

  1. Integration of solar panels and energy storage

If you have incorporated clean energy assets into your home, a smart panel will help you manage them and maximize their capabilities. A smart electrical panel helps ensure you use as much of your own solar power as possible.

Some panels help you manage your battery load to keep your backup storage at an optimal level. They may have an “off-grid mode” to shed and add backload as needed.

  1. Scheduling for utility time-of-use (TOU) pricing

With a smart panel, you can create a schedule based on electricity pricing, which is excellent for applications like charging an EV or storage batteries. You can use the capabilities to have your EV or batteries start charging once the rates go down. Then, you can use that cheaper power instead of drawing it from the grid when utility rates are at their highest.

  1. Smart panel phone apps

Most smart panel makers offer mobile apps for real-time monitoring of your energy use. They enable users to control circuit loads and, when needed, turn off power in parts of the house. Most apps also include maintenance notifications and built-in alarms.

  1. Outage response from anywhere

Smart panels can respond to outages automatically by shutting down unnecessary circuits and switching to backup power. You can then prioritize which circuits will continue to run and when you’ll use your backup system. For example, if the electricity goes out when you are at work, you can keep the refrigerator cold using power from your backup batteries.

Additionally, with new technology, you can see exactly how much longer you can run your appliances on the remaining charge in your storage system, not just what percentage of the battery remains. In a longer outage, this helps you determine if your solar-powered backup system will power your home overnight.

Installing a new smart panel

For homeowners, adding an intelligent home electrical panel is a critical component of a home electrification project and an energy-conscious future. Once you have decided on the best smart home control panel for your current and future energy use, you need expert help installing the panel. Installation can be complicated and even requires permits in most areas. To protect your home, EV and family from problems caused by an improperly installed electric panel, it’s wise to hire an experienced installer.

Qmerit has simplified the installation of smart panels and Level 2 charging stations for countless homeowners across the U.S. and Canada. Our unsurpassed network of Certified Installers specializes in electrification and can help with your upgrade. Contact us today to find out more and get an upfront pricing estimate.

Author: Lowry Stoops

Lowry Stoops

President, Qmerit Network