Electrical Tips: Things to Know About Home Theaters

Detailed Planning Is Key

If you are looking to set up a home theater, it is crucial that you spend adequate time planning. While this may sound obvious, it can be easy to rush into things you are excited about. In particular, we get caught up in selecting the products we want or the design aesthetic, and we neglect important considerations that could change the course of your home theater installation. Namely, you want to pay careful attention to your home theater’s electrical needs.

Important electrical considerations for home theaters:

  • How much power does your home theater system need?
  • Can your home’s service panel handle the home theater?
  • Does the area where you are installing your home theater have adequate circuits, outlets, wiring, etc.?
  • Do any of your electrical components have special requirements, such as a dedicated circuit?

Below we look at each of these questions and provide helpful guidance for planning your home theater upgrade, remodel, or other home theater project.

How Much Power Does Your Home Theater System Need?

Home theater systems need a lot more power than your average entertainment setup. Home theaters tend to have a lot of special equipment, most of which require a power connection. Before you purchase all your home theater devices, appliances, lighting, etc., it is important to have your home’s electrical system inspected and review your plans with a licensed electrician.

Common special equipment found in home theater systems that require power:

  • Projectors and drop-down screens
  • Audio systems, like surround sound systems
  • Ambient and task lighting
  • Remote control systems
  • Home automation connections

It is also not uncommon for home theaters to feature specialized furniture that require power. For example, reclining chairs with massage functions, heated seats, or USB power connections.

Do You Need a Service Panel Upgrade for Your Home Theater Install?

Understanding how much power your home theater will require can help you confirm whether your existing electrical system can handle it or if you will need a service panel upgrade. In cases where an older home is being remodeled, you will likely need to upgrade your service panel (or add a subpanel) to bring enough power into your home to accommodate your new theater system.

Reasons you may need an upgraded service panel:

  • Your electrical system doesn’t have enough power for your new home theater
  • You need to add more circuits, and your current service panel doesn’t have enough space
  • Your existing service panel is outdated, and an upgraded panel will improve your overall electrical safety as well as the safe operation of your new home theater

Contact the expert electricians at Lightning Bug Electric and schedule an inspection to find out if you need a service panel upgrade to accommodate your home theater.

Do You Have Enough Circuits?

With modern home theater systems, it is often recommended that you have dedicated circuits for your theater system. This is because they require so much power. A dedicated circuit (meaning it is a circuit not shared with anything else in your home) can help reduce the likelihood of a circuit overload and interruptions in your power supply. In many cases, with large or professional-grade home theater equipment, a dedicated circuit for each appliance or device is recommended. It is also recommended that you have lighting on a separate circuit.

Do Any Electrical Components Have Special Requirements?

This is another consideration that is often overlooked when planning home theater systems. Some theater equipment comes with special powering requirements, such as needing to be on a dedicated circuit, and failure to acknowledge this in the planning phase can throw off your timeline and your budget. Review all the equipment, appliances, and devices you plan to install with your electrician. They can help you develop an electrical plan for your home theater in advance so that there are no surprises when it comes time to actually install your equipment.

Do I Need an Electrician for My Home Theater Installation?

Yes, it is always a good idea to work with a licensed electrician (like ours at Lightning Bug Electric!) when installing home theater equipment. Not only will your electrician help you throughout the planning phase of your project, but they also have the skill, experience, and equipment to get your system installed correctly and safely.

Are you planning on building a new home theater? Reach out to Lightning Bug Electric for help with your home theater electrical design, planning, and installation.