I've decided to install central HVAC and was told that I will need a new
panel since mine is a 60 amp. My home was built in 1951. I have upgraded to
all modern appliances and have added numerous lighting and ceiling fans
also. I also have a game room with about twelve coin operated commercial
arcade games. Currently there is only a gas wall heater.
Since I have to upgrade the panel what amperage should I need and what
should I expect to pay. Should there be a difference in price between a 100
and 200 amp service. Also should the upgrade entail upgrading two prong
outlets, the ones without the ground. Since I have had many electrical wire
upgrades in the past all new circuits have grounds but the
bedroom/livingroom still have two prong plugs.
IMO it would make the most sense to increase to a 200 amp service, although
you probably can get away with less. The price difference isn't usually
substantial enough not to go for it. The price is going to vary depending
upon where you live, what type of service you get, and you can have whatever
you want included in the job. Call a couple of local contractors and talk to
GO WITH 200 amps it coists a bit more but is a sales feature at home
resale time. get the largest panel number of slots available. just
think of how electric has changed over the years, be prepared for the
do finish the upgrade to ALL 3 prong add GFCIs in appropiate places
like kitchens bathrooms basements etc go with arc fault for bedrooms
do it right do it once and enjoy your new AC
incidentally I upgraded from 60 to 100 amp service years ago, BIG
MISTAKE I should of spent the extra 75 bucks for 200 amp service.......
Starting 2008 the NEC requires AFCIs to detect series arcs (loose
connection) in addition to parallel arcs (line to neutral) now required.
You may want to wait until the new AFCIs are out and reliable.
[Are the new AFCIs out now?]
I contacted PSE for how much it would cost to upgrade my 100 A service to
200 A and it was grand total of $375 for doing the upgrade, they need to
take your service offline for a relatively large amount of time, one to
disconnect the current connection and then it will be off until the upgrade
to the service and the PERMITS and INSPECTION to the new meter, panel, and
anything else applicable are finished. Basically they told me it would be
off for about 6 hours.
Of course $375 doesn't cover the cost for having the electrician do his/her
here the electrician pulls all the old stuff, installs everything new
including connecting to service line, middle group inspects service and
so does power company who upgrades drop if needed.
power company stuff was free
I did mine a few years ago. The local building codes (central Ohio) allow
the homeowner to do electrical work on his own home without a license, as
long as it passes inspection. I upgraded from a 1968 Federal Pacific 100
amp/8 circuit to a 200A/40 circuit Square D Q0 series. Parts were around
$450. The only thing I needed to pay to the electric company (actually
municipal power) was $30 for the permit. They came out on the scheduled
day, cut off the power where it reached the house & pulled the meter, then
after I was done the inspector checked the work and he called the crew to
re-attach the power. The city even provided a new 200A meter base as part
of the permit. Took most of the day. I arranged things with my neighbor
so I could run a couple of long extension cords from their house for my
fridge and sump pump while I was doing the work.
Prior to doing the work, I did a lot of research, and placed several calls
to the inspector with questions. He was very friendly about it, and pointed
out several areas where they require above the national code (they require
heavier service feed lines, etc.)
A neighbor (not very adept at home repairs) has his replaced by an
electrician, essentially the same type of upgrade, it was about $1000. Of
course the pro was able do it in about 1/4 the time.
Yes, it requires heavier wires and conduit, and a bigger box.
An alternative is to go just bigger than 100. Usually you can do this
with the same wire and box, with possibly a slight upsize on the wire.
For example, one job I worked on was able to go with 125 amps, just by
using on gauge thicker on the ground wire, and swapping the main
breaker. Much cheaper than going up to 200 amps, and useful in marginal
cases where 200 amps doesn't seem worth it.
If you getting estimates ask about going to 125 or 150 amps.
Silly sig to prevent isp ad
The cost of materials will be a lot more for a 200A instead of a 100A --
the size of the main breaker determines the size of the wires for the
service drop. The size of the wires determines the size of the service
conduit. I think the labor for a 200 vs. 100 should be a little more
but not much.
I upgraded to 150A and it didn't cost much more than a 100A.
1.25" conduit instead of 2" (it would have been a lot easier if I'd used
1.5" conduit. D'oh!), smaller service conductors, and the existing power
line drop was already large enough; it might not have been large enough
for 200A, I dunno.) The power company didn't charge anything to
disconnect and reconnect.
There are also 125A service panels if a 100 is big enough but you want a
little room to grow.
I would not replace the wiring to the bedrooms. That's an expensive
PITA to do. I might ground one easily accessible outlet in each room
for plugging in the vacuum cleaner, etc. Maybe you can just ground one
outlet in the hallway, or install a GFCI outlet and it doesn't need a
You really need to check with your building inspector to see if you need
to update the wiring in the whole house when you replace the service. I
don't think you do, but it's up to him; every town has its own rules on
that kind of stuff.
Info in previous responses is all potentially relevant, but ...
Suggest you take the time to learn about basic home circuit
design and amperage loads. Then inventory elec. devices you
presently use (and their max amp draws) and predict any that
you might want to add in the coming years. Object is to
estimate max house amperage (100, 125, 150, 200) -and-
number of circuits needed in new service box.
I don't have a handy reference to home circuitry, but it's not
rocket science by a long shot. Maybe someone else can suggest
a suitable info source.
On Sat, 15 Jul 2006 22:48:37 -0700, "marspinball"
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