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Installing new electrical panels could cost you up to $25,000 — but this $300 'smart splitter' could save you the headache

It's not just a basic mechanical splitter; it's a smart device that ensures only one circuit operates at a time.

It's not just a basic mechanical splitter; it's a smart device that ensures only one circuit operates at a time.

Photo Credit: iStock

Today we use more electrical devices in the home than ever before — especially those of us trying to switch from gas-powered options to electric ones that save money and reduce pollution.

Unfortunately, electrical upgrades — an EV charging station, electric HVAC, heat pump water heater, or other large appliances — can cause issues, especially if you have an older or smaller home. Many renovations involve adding an electrical panel for a new circuit, which often costs thousands of dollars.

However, a smart splitter (also known as a circuit sharing plug) can do the job for much, much less. 

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What is a smart splitter?

For an ordinary electrical outlet — where the load from a device is relatively low — you can use a basic splitter to plug in multiple devices at once. But that's not safe for major circuits connected to your electrical panel, such as the ones you need for EV charging and major appliances. 

If both were running at the same time, they'd possibly overload the circuit and damage your wiring, costing you money or even in some systems creating a fire hazard.  

A smart splitter is the solution to that problem. This device plugs into your electrical system and lets you attach two circuits to it. However, it's not just a basic mechanical splitter; it's a smart device that ensures that only one circuit operates at a time. 

For example, if you use it to hook up an EV charging station and a dishwasher, then the smart splitter will sense when you turn the dishwasher on and cut off power to the charging station until it's finished.

How will a smart splitter save me money?

Upgrading your electrical panel to add more circuits is a huge project that could cost thousands of dollars. Canary Media estimates that it can run anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000, depending on your location, the configuration of your system, and how much work you need done.

Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Cinnamon Energy Systems, also told Canary Media that if you want these upgrades and your electrical wires are above ground, "It's three to six months" in his Northern California service area. If your power line is underground, he said, "It's $25,000 to dig up the street and put that in, and it takes a year."

However, a panel upgrade isn't really necessary in many cases. A smart splitter lets you add devices, though you won't be able to run them at the same time, which is easy to live with. 

There are many heavy-duty appliances in your home that don't need to be on 24/7, including your washer and dryer, or that never run at the same time, such as a heater and an air conditioner

That means there's plenty of space for sharing circuits and saving yourself the cost of a renovation.

By lowering the cost of switching to electric appliances, smart splitters make it possible to access all the savings from these energy-efficient devices. Plus, they make it easier to reduce your household's total pollution.

How do I make sure I get the right smart splitter?

Smart splitter manufacturer NeoCharge offers an online compatibility tool that lets you check which model you need for your project. From there, most splitters run between $300 and $400, though you can find some for less. 

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