I live in Connecticut. My house currently has 100 amp service. I want
to switch to a tankless water heater. I have since learned, from a
contractor whom came to my house, that I will need 200 amp main
service; plus the cost to install the WH.
I was quoted a cost between $1.5 to $2k, for the 200 amp upgrade. Is
that a reasonable cost?
On Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 8:54:04 AM UTC-4, Dave C wrote:
Without knowing more it doesn't sound totally out of line, but if
the main purpose of the upgrade is to support an electric tankless,
unless you have some special application need, you must be nuts.
At least $1500 plus the cost of the tankless?
I always thought the same myself. If installing the 200 amp service is only
for the water heater, it will take a lifetime to notice that kind of
I worked in a verly large plant and at one sink they decided to install a
tankless water heater. Had it all plumbed in and then they checked on the
wiring. They would have had to run about 500 feet or more of new wiring in
conduit just to power that heater. They tore it out and put in a small
water tank that could use 120 volts that was only about 50 feet away.
I paid $1100 for that service upgrade in 1998. Northern Illinois.
It was permitted and inspected. I considered it a good price.
I found the price can vary by quite a lot.
Get a number of estimates. As long as it's inspected, go for the low
Wow. I can't say what the norm is but that seems steep to me.
I had a 100 amp upgrade about two years ago which cost me $300. I don't
know what the difference is other than higher amperage, but the
breakers, box and all are still the same. Perhaps it's more about
demographics and/or supply and demand in those areas.
I installed a 200A panel in the house we're building . When the Entergy
guys came out to move the service from the "trailer/camper service" to the
house they used the old 100A wire from the pole . Told me that when I have
need of more amperage , such as installing central AC , they'd be back to
replace it with 200A wire . For free . I suspect most of that money is going
into the electrician's pocket ... in this area license and inspections are
nonexistant except for commercial and in town , we live out in the county in
a clearing in the woods . Doesn't mean I'm going to cut corners though ,
doing it right is just as easy and costs the same .
You seem to be talking about the electric utility company part of the job,
not the part that an electrician would do to upgrade from a 100-amp service
to a 200-amp service. That is not what the OP is asking.
And, if you have a 200-amp service panel with a 200-amp main breaker, how is
it possible that the electric utility company would be will to run a service
drop to your place with a wire that is only capable of handling 100 amps
(and not 200 amps)?
I understand what you are saying. However, (and I may be wrong about this)
I think of the main breaker as a device that protects the wire that is
coming into the main panel.
I would think that an oversized main breaker would not be permitted by the
utility company if the breaker size was not suitable to protect their wire
coming in. Or, to put it another way, I would think that a utility company
would not be willing to connect a wire (theirs) that is only rated for 100
amps to a main panel with a 200 amp main breaker.
You seem to be saying that they know that you are not planning on using more
than 100 amps at any time, unless you notify them in advance of that, and
give them time to increase the service drop wire size. I am just surprised
that any electric utility company would be willing to do that.
But, hey, you seem to be saying that's what they are willing to do. And, I
have no reason not to believe you. It just seems odd to me, but that
doesn't mean that's not how it is out there in some places.
They MIGHT have a 100 amp "pole fuse" installed that protects their
cable. If he draws over 100 amps he will lose power and will have to
call the power co in to replace the fuse and the overhead cable.
On Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:31:48 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
The power company does not give a rats ass about their cable. The only
overcurrent protection is on the primary to the transformer and for
the user, that means the available fault current is 22ka or more in
most cases. For all extents and purposes, service conductors have ZERO
over current protection. That is why the rules are so much tougher
about how they are run.
I can't speak for all of the utilities but FPL runs the exact same
triplex for 100a as they do for 200a and it is ~2ga aluminum. When I
heavied my service up from 100 to 200 they said the overhead was fine
but I had to run a 4/0 down to the meter and through the wall.
For that price, you must have already had the right size service coming into
the property along with the right size service panel etc. Since you said
that the "breakers, box and all are still the same", did they just change a
60-amp main breaker to a 100-amp main breaker in the existing panel?
With an overhead service, you are usually only responsible for the SE
cable/conductors going up the side of the house and through the wall.
Some utilities will even give you the meter can.
The wild card is what you have to do to your existing panel.
You can put in a grounding bus, lift the bonding jumper, swing over
the grounds and run in a 4 wire feeder from a 200a meter/main and then
run your new loads from that main. This seems to be a pretty popular
The big labor hog is swapping out the existing panel because you may
end up with wires that are too short, perhaps space problems where it
is mounted and then that unknown that always pops up. That might also
trigger the requirement for AFCIs in some jurisdictions and that can
really pop the top on that can of worms.
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