What’s a Smart Breaker Box?

With smart breaker boxes like the SPAN Panel shown above, you can control and monitor every circuit in your home from a smartphone or tablet. Photo courtesy of SPAN.

New developments in home electrical panels

Every home has an electrical panel, otherwise known as a breaker box. The design hasn’t changed much over the years. However, through recent innovation, the smart technology–enabled electrical panel is changing the way we think about a breaker box. Smart breaker boxes, which can operate on their own or in conjunction with a standard electrical panel, make an excellent option for people who want to increase their home’s energy efficiency.

Many consumers are upgrading to smart breaker boxes to make their home electrical systems safer and more reliable. It’s recommended to hire a qualified electrician to install the smart panel, which can be done using a home’s existing electrical wiring and infrastructure.

Many smart breaker boxes are designed to easily connect to other smart devices in your home. With the capacity to remotely monitor and adjust energy consumption, these devices provide several advantages that make them a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to consume less energy. 

One advantage that smart breaker boxes provide is convenience for homeowners to monitor and control how much energy they use. With smart circuit breakers, you can receive real-time data that allows you to pinpoint appliances or devices that consume excessive energy. This real-time tracking allows you to adjust your energy use where needed, which ultimately saves money on monthly energy bills and reduces energy waste.  

These devices are all about managing your electrical load. While the technology to track how much energy a home uses has been available for years, the ability to control how that energy is used is a new development. A smart breaker box can reveal how much power each circuit is using and turn each one on or off. Some smart breaker boxes allow you to establish schedules based on importance, such as refrigeration and heat to be on 24/7 but less important loads like Wi-Fi or the television to turn off during scheduled times, for example, when no one is home. 

Smart breaker boxes offer additional benefits for those with home solar systems. These boxes help solar energy systems run more efficiently by determining how much energy is being used and how it can be stored. Through intelligent load management, they can provide longer battery backup life for those with energy storage. Additionally, integration with other smart home devices, such as thermostats and virtual assistants, further enhances the connected-home ecosystem.

Safety in electrical devices is highly important to consumers, and smart breaker boxes provide enhanced safety features that consumers appreciate. Smart breaker boxes can identify abnormalities and other potential electrical problems, then quickly shut off power supply if a circuit shorts or becomes overloaded, avoiding electrical fires and other dangers. Many smart breaker boxes include surge protection to help protect against power spikes and other issues. 

There’s no denying that smart home technologies have changed how we use our homes, and smart breaker boxes are no exception. With advanced safety features, real-time energy tracking and control, and the ability to use energy more efficiently, these devices are a smart investment for anyone who wants to make their home’s system more reliable, safer, and energy-efficient. 

Jennah Denney writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. Click here to get more energy efficiency tips to help you save money on your energy bill.