Westphal wins the Best of the Best – Janesville

Best Electrical Contractor Janesville

For the third year, Westphal & Company has been selected as a top residential electrical contractor serving Janesville and surrounding areas.

The Best of the Best  – Janesville recognizes businesses and organizations nominated by their local communities for outstanding service during the year. With over 180 categories, The Gazette featured over 540 businesses from the area. From Beauty and Healthcare to Education and Shopping, there were many opportunities to thank local organizations for their commitment to serving the local community.  Each year the winners are featured online, but the culmination of the announcement takes place at the exclusive awards gala open only to finalists and their guests.

Best of the Best AwardThis year over 200 businesses took home the top honors.  The Gazette received 127,935 votes from 7,262 unique voters.  This number is a statement of the value and significance of these awards. Westphal & Company took the top spot in the “Electrician” category.

Our local office is dedicated to serving the community and our residential electrical services include everything from emergency calls and repairs to panel upgrades, surge protection, EV charging, and electrical remodeling projects. From its conception, our company has been focused on delivering unapparelled service combined with competitive pricing.  We pride ourselves on listening to our clients’ needs and providing the most appropriate solutions for their projects. Our electricians are true experts in their field and their prompt service and skills were highlighted by The Gazette’s readers.

Our entire Westphal team thanks the amazing Janesville community for their trust and recognition.


Westphal & Company Named a 2023 Top Solar Contractor

The Inflation Reduction Act brought much-needed federal support for solar technology.  Solar developments are fast-growing and the industry is expanding, opening solar capabilities to many communities across the country.  We are proud to announce, that Westphal & Company was recognized for its increased efforts to expand the U.S. solar power market. We ranked #2 for Wisconsin and 39 in the country on the 2023 Top Solar Contractors List, released by Solar Power World with a total 130,800 kilowatts installed in 2022. 

The Top Solar Contractors List is developed each year by industry magazine Solar Power World to honor the work of solar installers in the United States. Solar firms in the utility, commercial and residential markets are ranked by the number of kilowatts they installed in the previous year. Companies are grouped and listed by specific services, markets and states.

“Renewable energy accounts for a quarter of U.S. electrical generation, now far exceeding electricity produced by burning coal,” said Kelsey Misbrener, managing editor of Solar Power World. “Solar power is an important member of that renewable makeup, and companies on the Top Solar Contractors List are all contributing to our country’s shift to cleaner electricity. We are honored to recognize them each year for their necessary work putting green kilowatts on roofs, over parking lots, in desert locations and across water reservoirs. Every project is making a difference.”

This important recognition brings Westphal & Company closer to its goal of becoming a top solar contractor in the state. Our recent solar installations include Monona Grove High School, WPL North Rock Solar and Jack Young Middle Shool Solar

The United States reported its strongest first-quarter ever in Q1 2023 for solar panels installed, and industry analysts expect the solar market to triple in size over the next five years.


Featured Project: Monona Grove School District Solar Array

Monona grove solar project

This solar project replaced the coal-fueled electricity and supplies about half of the building's electrical needs.

With the advancement in solar, more school like the Monona School District will be able to take advantage of the clean energy produced by solar power.  

Sustainability was the driving force behind this project which now provides environmental,  and fiscal benefits for the district and the entire Monona Grove community.

As the largest solar PV array to date on any K-12 school in the state, the district is expected to save $1.5 million dollars over the lifetime of the array. 

How much electricity is expected to be produced?

The panels cover about 2/3 of the high school roof with a capacity of 674 Kilowatts. They are designed to provide about 845 Mega-Watt hours of power each year – about half the building’s electrical usage.

Image Source: Monona Grove School District 

Installation by Westphal

1,410 solar modules were installed on 6 different roof areas. Unirac ballasted racking supports the 480 watt modules. Slipsheets were placed beneath each ballast tray to protect the roof from abrasion. Rigid metal conduit delivers DC power to the nine Solectria 60 kW inverters and from the inverters to the school’s electrical service. 

Environmental Benefits

 The array will offset the burning of more than 16,000 tons of coal, reducing harmful coal-related air emissions, including:

  • over 44,000 pounds of smog-producing nitrogen oxide emissions
  • 5,400 pounds of particulate emissions
  • 2.8 pounds of mercury emissions
  • and 31,000 tons of carbon dioxide!

About Us

Westphal Electric has been serving the Madison, Janesville, Dubuque, and Milwaukee areas for more than 90 years. We’re a team of electricians you can trust. We believe in providing residential and commercial electric services for maximum convenience for you. We offer solar panel installation and servicing so that you can trust our team each step of the way and never feel left in the dark. Click here to view additional solar projects from Westphal & Co.

Types of Electric Vehicle Chargers

Electric vehicle chargers are divided into 3 main subgroups.

There are three main types of chargers when it comes to charging your electric car’s battery pack. These options will mostly affect how fast you can charge your vehicle and also, the type of charger may give you the convenience of doing it at home. 

The charging speed will also vary depending on which EV you own and your battery capacity. 

There are three categories or types of charging: Trickle Charge, AC Charge, and DC Charge.

Level 1: Standard Wall Outlet (120 Volt AC)


The slowest method of charging your EV at home, using a standard plug.  It is not the most recommended method of charging. 

  • Range: Up to 5 miles per hour.
  • Standard Level 1 connector.
  • Every EV will come with a standard Level 1 charger that you can plug into an outlet at home without special installation required.
  • A better option for plug-in hybrid vehicles vs. fully electric vehicles.  May be used overnight. 
  • When hooked up to a 120V AC plug, charging rates cover between 1.4kW to 3kW .

Level 2: WALL CHARGER (240-Volt AC)


A wall charger installed in your garage lets you charge 3-4 faster using AC Household Charging. 

  • Range: Up to 25 miles per hour.
  • Can be installed at home.
  • Often found in public areas like shopping centers and restaurants. 
  • Installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Quick charging – full charge overnight.
  • Charging rate of 7kW to 22kW with a Type 2 connector.

Level 3: DC Fast Charging


Level 3 charging is the fastest way to charge an electric vehicle. 

  • Range: Up to 250 miles per hour (varies per vehicle and charging station).
  • 80% charge usually within 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Tesla DC fast chargers will only work with Tesla vehicles.
  • Public DC Fast charging station with power from 50kW and above.

WPL North Rock Solar

North Rock Solar


WPL North Rock Solar

Edgerton, WI



Edgerton, WI


Burns & McDonnell


Burns & McDonnell



Size (MW DC)

65 MW DC

This 65 MW solar farm was built over 473 acres as a part of Alliant Energy’s clean energy blueprint near Edgerton, WI. The project featured bifacial panels, a single-axis tracker system, and central inverters.

Our scope of work included the installation of all electrical components and cabling, along with testing and commissioning of the site.

Centro Hispano’s new building is taking shape

Westphal & Co is honored to be a part of the new building construction for Centro Hispano of Dane County The existing facility has quickly been outgrown by the needs of our area’s fast-growing Hispanic population. The original location at 810 W. Badger Road has been serving the community for over 22 years. Currently, there are over 7,000 individuals being served by this non-profit organization. In the last 10 years, Centro has tripled the number of staff, and budget, and doubled the number of programs offered in the community.

Photo credit: EUA

The new Centro Hispano building is being constructed on the corner of Cypress Way and Hughes Place on Madison’s South Side. The $20 million, 25,000 square foot facility will serve as Centro’s new headquarters.  The initial concepts provided by EUA Architects showcase a colorful interior with a large indoor/outdoor plaza.  The new building’s design was inspired by Centro’s “the rythme of the Plaza” and by the symbol of the campaign, Calli, which will appear in many architectural details throughout the space. The new Centro will also be a place for the Southside and greater Madison to gather with outdoor spaces meant to encourage community building and sharing including a fountain, outdoor market space, and parking lot that converts into outdoor play area.

Centro plans to focus on creating opportunities for housing and homeownership as a future priority.  The new building will deliver safety, sustainability, improved accessibility, and allow for expansion of youth and workforce programs. A federal ARPA grant of $4.8 million toward the City’s South Madison Neighborhood Plan also supports the new facility.

Campaign Calli will make it possible for Centro to expand its reach and keep up with the needs of our growing Latinx community.


Arc Flash Analysis

Arc Flash Analysis is a necessary component of electrical safety. It helps to identify potential hazards, prevent workplace injuries, and protect employees.

The risks associated with electricity are real and present in many industries. Without proper safety protocols in place, workers can suffer devastating injuries or even death due to electric shock or arc flash events. Arc flash analysis helps identify and mitigate these hazards before they become a problem.

Arc flash analysis is an essential part of any electrical safety program.


What Is An Arc Flash Study?

An arc flash study is an evaluation of the potential electrical hazards posed by equipment in a particular facility. It’s used to identify areas where workers may be exposed to these hazardous conditions.  It is implemented to develop safe work practices. The study itself is conducted by a qualified expert who uses specialized software to assess the risk of arc flash incidents at a facility.

The electrical contractor performing the analysis process will take into account factors such as voltage levels, current ratings, environmental conditions, and the type of equipment being used. This information is then used to determine the likelihood of an arc flash occurring and how severe it might be if it did happen. The study includes recommendations on how to reduce or eliminate any potential risks associated with arc flashes.


Why Is An Arc Flash Study Required?

An arc flash study is an important safety measure that is required in many industries. It’s used to identify potential hazards and help create a safe working environment. The primary goal of this type of study is to reduce the risk of injury or death due to arc flashes, which are caused by electrical faults.

Conducting an arc flash study requires the evaluation of several factors, such as the age and condition of the equipment, its current electrical load, and any maintenance issues that may need to be addressed. Additionally, personnel must be trained on how to handle hazardous situations safely. This ensures that workers understand the risks associated with their job roles and can take appropriate action.


Steps To Complete An Arc Flash Analysis

Conducting an arc flash analysis can help ensure the safety of workers in industrial settings. It’s a process that requires several steps to accurately assess potential hazards and develop appropriate safety protocols. In order to perform the study, an electrician will have to have access and knowledge of the equipment and its installation, as well as an understanding of how it functions within the system. From there, a qualified engineer or technician can use specialized software to calculate the incident energy levels that could be released during a short-circuit fault scenario.

Next, the technician would take readings from the electrical system using specialized meters and instruments. These readings are then compared against national standards to determine if personnel are adequately protected.

Once all data has been collected and analyzed, protective strategies can be developed according to industry standards.


What Should You Expect At The End Of The Arc Flash Study?

You’ll be provided with an extensive report that outlines the hazards present and the steps taken to reduce them. This report will include a detailed breakdown of your equipment, including its energy rating and current-carrying capacity. It will also provide recommendations on how to better protect your staff and property against potential arc flash events.

The arc flash analysis process is complex and requires significant time and effort to be completed properly. However, by investing in this study employers can ensure that their workplace is safe for their employees and meets all applicable standards and regulations.

What to Expect During an Electrical Inspection

Electrical Inspection

Home electrical inspections are performed by a licensed master electrician to ensure the home’s electrical system is up to code.

This is different from the general inspection often performed when purchasing a home or an inspection done during the construction process. It is recommended to have an electrical inspection performed every 5 to 7 years.

Just like your car, the electrical system in your home requires periodic maintenance and should be inspected to assure the safety of your family.  Preventative maintenance is essential for your electrical equipment to work correctly and to avoid any future issues. A licensed electrician will perform both interior and exterior checks of your electrical system.

Here are the standard checkpoints of an electrical inspection.

  1. Service Line & Meter

    During the inspection, a technician will assure that the service line entering the home is properly secured and clear.

  2. Electrical Panel

    The electrical panel will be examined – this includes checking if the breakers are properly sized and if there is any possible corrosion or the potential for overheating. Also, your technician will make sure that the breakers are not overloaded.

  3. GFCI and AFCI circuit protection

    Proper placement and correct function of you GFCI outlets will be tested. An inspector will make sure they’re wired correctly and will test them to make sure they’re working properly.

  4. Other outlets and switches

    Your technician will check for any visible signs of problems with your outlets and light switches.  A loose outlet can be problematic and eventually pull out of the wall.

  5. Surge protection

    If your house has many electronic devices such as TVs, computers and other equipment, the inspector may recommend installing a whole house surge protection.  This will prevent the damage to many sensitive electronics in an event of a power surge.

    During the inspection, your electrician will provide you with a summary and next steps as far as fixing any issues that were discovered.

No matter the job, big or small, the professionals at Westphal Electric will be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free in-home consultations, plus an after-hours and emergency phone line for advice or service!

How Many Amps Does Your Home Need?

New electrical service

Knowing how many amps your home currently has and how many it should, can help ensure that you have enough power for all your appliances, lights, and equipment without overloading circuits.  Sometimes the challenge for the homeowner is finding the size of the current service and deciding how many amps your home may require.


How To Check The Amp Size Of A House’s Electrical Service

The first step is finding out what service you currently have.  Looking at history, electrical panels have changed significantly over the years.  Your panel may depend on the year when the home was built and if any upgrades have been performed.

Starting in 1950 and earlier, a 30-amp fuse box would be considered standard. In the 50s and early 60s, 60-amp electrical panels were usually installed providing 240 volts of power.

Since the early 60s circuit breaker panels were generally the choice and that is still the setup used today.

Many current homes have a 100-amp service – the minimum recommended.  100-amp service is required by most insurance providers as a 60-amp service poses the risk of overuse and overheating, potentially increasing the risk of an electrical fire.

When it comes to assessing the amp size of a house’s electrical service, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every home is different and requires different amounts of amps for proper distribution.

To find more information about your current service you can start with the following:

  1. Locate the main service electrical panel, which should be clearly marked on the outside of your house or in a utility closet and look at the main breaker. This will tell you what type of service your home has and how many amps it serves.
  2.  Often you can also find the size of your electrical service by looking at the electrical meter outside the house. It may be printed on its face or on a label affixed to its body.
  3. You can also measure the diameter of the conduit in which the main service wire is run. A 2-inch conduit can hold a wire for a 200 amp service, a 100 amp service would be located in 1 1/4-inch conduit and a 1-inch conduit holds a wire for a 60 amp service. Conduits can be oversized, so it’s possible to have a 60 amp service entering your house, even if your conduit is 2”.


When Do I Need to upgrade to a  200-Amp Service Electrical Panel?

In many cases, a 100-amp panel is sufficient for most smaller homes, but in some instances, a larger 200-amp panel may be required. The amps listed on the main circuit breaker determine the maximum amount the house can safely use. If the power demand for a circuit approaches the amps the circuit is rated for, the circuit breaker will trip. If you need to add more breakers to your panel – 100 amp service may limit you in doing so.

If you are considering adding large appliances such as AC units, and electric range, make sure your house’s electrical supply allows for the expansion.

Newly build homes will most often default to 200-amp panels. The main difference between the two types of panels is that 200-amp panels have a higher capacity and can fit more circuits.  It also gives you a chance for future growth or adding SF and electrical outlets to your home.

I still have a Fuse Box.  Should I upgrade it?

In older homes, a fuse box would be the standard vs. a circuit breaker panel.  If your current service is at 60-amp – the upgrade would be highly recommended.  There is most likely not enough power supply for your current needs. Also, bringing up your electrical system to current codes is the best and safest for your family.

The amount of electricity your home can utilize is determined by the electrical service panel installed. It is required to work with a licensed electrician to upgrade the service and the panel in your home.  Our service technician will be able to tell you whether your electrical service size is adequate for your existing and future needs, or whether you need to upgrade your electrical panel to 200 amps.

Electrical Appliance Requirements for Kitchens

Kitchen Appliances Electrical Requirements

Electrical safety is the absolute focus when installing or replacing any type of electrical appliance in your kitchen. If you are looking at a new appliance, you have to make sure you adhere to local building codes and regulations as well as any instructions and requirements that came with the appliance itself.

Running New Electrical Cable

When replacing an existing light fixture or a switch, the update is simple and does not require consulting an electrician. When you run new electrical cable for new service, you need to work with a licensed electrician to assure it complies with all residential codes.

New electrical wiring should be installed when you are living in an older home, as the wiring may not meet current standards and support the electrical needs of a new appliance.  Always take under consideration the local code requirements.


Refrigerator Circuit

Standard requirement for a new refrigerator is a dedicated 20-amp circuit. Make sure that the refrigerator circuit is properly sized and rated for the intended use to prevent any issues or potential damage. In the past, smaller refrigerator units may have not had the 20-amp requirement, so if you are considering an upgrade, double check your current electrical circuit.

In general, a refrigerator itself does not require GFCI unless the outlet location is in a place where your local code requires AFCI protection.


Range Circuit

The range circuit size will vary depending on the type of range being used in the kitchen. A gas range will require a smaller circuit than an electric one since it draws significantly less power. Typically, an electric range will require 240-volt, 50-amp circuit. If you are considering a kitchen remodel and opting for a gas range, it is still recommended to upgrade your range circuit as future homeowners may have a preference to opt for an electric range when thy upgrade the appliance.

If the cooktop and a wall over are separate units, the National Code generally allows both units to utilize the same circuit as long as the combined electrical load does not exceed the safe capacity of that circuit.


Microwave Oven

Typically microwave ovens plug into standard appliance outlets, but larger microwave ovens can draw as much as 1500 watts, and these need their own dedicated circuits. Microwaves above your oven typically require a 20 amp/240-volt circuit breaker.

When purchasing a microwave oven make sure that the power requirement does not exceed the previous model.  Consult your local electrician if an upgrade is required for a larger microwave oven.


Small Appliances

Above your counter you will need two dedicated 20-amp circuits to cover the needs for small appliance loads.  From griddles to pressure cookers, coffee pots and blenders if you don’t want to run into any future issues with tripping breakers, make sure there is enough power supply above your counter. These receptacles should always be GFCI protected.

If at any point you are not certain that your power supply in the kitchen is adequate, it’s best to consult your local electrician to avoid any future circuit overloads or damaging your new appliances.

Preventing Electrical Circuit Overloads

Preventing Electrical Circuit Overloads

Electrical circuit overloads are dangerous as they can cause fires and damage to expensive equipment and appliances. Understanding the causes of electrical circuit overload and how to prevent them is essential for ensuring safety in any residence. There are many steps that you as a homeowner can take to prevent it, but in certain situations, a call to your local electrician might be necessary to resolve the issue.

What Causes A Circuit Overload?

Circuit overloads are a fairly common issue in electrical systems. They occur when too much electricity is being drawn, resulting in excessive demand for electrical current through a single circuit. There are several factors that can contribute to an overloaded circuit, including incorrect wiring, and excessive amperage drawn from appliances. If your microwave, toaster oven, and air fryer are using the same circuit – there is a good chance that your current electrical setup may not be able to handle that need.

Large appliances like air conditioners or refrigerators often require greater amounts of energy than smaller ones. Having multiple high-amperage appliances on the same circuit can also easily cause it to overload.

If your house is older and your wiring system is not up to date, this can be another reason for the electrical overload. Make sure that your home’s electrical system meets all safety standards by consulting your local electrician.


How You Can Prevent Circuit Overloads In Your Home

Home Appliances

Circuit overloads can be dangerous, and it is important to take preventative measures to avoid them. One of the most effective ways to prevent a circuit overload in your home is by understanding the electrical panel. It serves as a hub for all the wiring that goes into one’s house, and it functions like a switchboard that controls power flow throughout the building.

By understanding your own electrical panel, you will better understand how much electricity each outlet or appliance needs before adding any more load onto existing circuits. It is also important to note that when installing new appliances, such as air conditioners or electric stoves, an appropriate-sized breaker should always be used so as not to exceed the capacity of the circuit.

A simple way to manage circuit overload is unplugging unnecessary electronics from outlets during peak usage times; avoiding running multiple high-wattage appliances at once; and making sure outdoor receptacles are properly grounded.


When To Call A Licensed Electrician To Upgrade Your Electrical Panel

GFCI Outlets

The electrical panel should be upgraded in order to prevent circuit overload. The age of the current system is one of the reasons to consider an upgrade. If the existing wiring and equipment are outdated, it could increase the risk of overheating or fire hazards due to inadequate currents running through the circuits.

In this case, calling a qualified electrician will be necessary even if no visible signs of damage have occurred yet. Older homes may still use fuse boxes instead of breaker systems, which do not provide adequate protection against surges in electricity. Adding new outlets or devices such as air conditioners will also require assistance from a certified expert since these types of installations must meet specific codes and regulations. Ultimately, by understanding when it is time to contact a trained technician for help upgrading their electrical panels, homeowners can ensure that their property remains safe while avoiding potential risks caused by overloaded circuits.

No matter the job, big or small, the professionals at Westphal Electric will be happy to discuss your project and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We offer free in-home consultations, plus an after-hours and emergency phone line for advice or service!

Brett Surges Named Vice President at Westphal & Co., Inc.


Westphal & Company’s Board of Directors promoted Brett Surges to Vice President on January 6, 2023.

Brett has been with the company since 1997 and has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Chicago.  He began his career with Westphal as a Project Manager/Estimator in the Janesville office and progressed to Director of Project Management in the Madison office.

Throughout his career at Westphal & Co., Inc., Brett has managed many of the largest projects in the company’s history, including Epic Systems – Verona, University Square in Madison, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the UW campus and the Alliant Energy Air Quality System at the Columbia Generating station in Portage, WI. As Director of Project Management in the Madison office, Brett has been vital in providing oversight, training, process improvement, problem solving and quality control for the company’s electrical division.

In his new position as Vice President, Brett will continue leading the electrical Project Managers as well as expanded responsibilities on the operations side of the company.

Westphal & Co., Inc., founded in 1931, is a full service electrical and technology construction firm performing work in the commercial, industrial, biohealth, health care, energy, governmental and educational markets.  The firm is headquartered in Madison, WI, and has full-service offices in Janesville, Pewaukee and Dubuque.

Karen Knipfer