After I call the electrician, what will s/he actually do to upgrade
the service in my house to 200A ? Other than change the master
breaker, does anything else happen with the panel, or anything go on
between the house and the pole? Among other things I'm tired of lights
briefly dimming when the furnace or the clothes washer or the
dishwasher or my wife makes demands (oops, did I say that out loud?).
It all depends on where you live and the type of cable running from the
street transformer to your house. My heavy-up only required upgrading the
circuit panel and installing heavy-duty cables from the meter to the panel
and from the point of attachment of the street cable onto my house to the
meter. The power Co. will come and upgrade the meter and look at the cable
from the street. They will decide whether it needs upgrading or not. In any
case, the work done by the power Co. should be free of charge to you,
regardless of what needs to be done to accommodate your new service.
in article email@example.com, Dr.Mutant at
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote on 2/11/04 12:29 PM:
The term "justify the need for" more amps, can be translated to "show
them how they are going to get the money back in future billings".
They won't upgrade you, unless they have an expectation of getting the
money back, through increased bills. Simply "upgrading the service"
means thicker wires, and no more actual usage.
Now if you install a 20Kw sauna, you _will_ get you new wires. <g>
The term "justify the need for" more amps, can be translated to "show
depends on the company.
here in quebec, Hydro quebec will do a free service upgrade if the entrace
is above ground (they won't change underground wires for free). they offer
the meter for free and they replace up to a certain length of wire. the
length covers most houses (most people are within that distance of the
They may need to get a new drop/meter from the electric company,
depending on what is there. It is likely they may need to replace the line
from the meter in.
Correcting specific problems may require replacing existing wires, or
may require the addition of new circuits to correct inadequate existing
It would be best to have them come out and take a look so they can give
you an accurate suggested solution and estimate.
He/she will obtain the permit, Obtain the available fault current figure
for the transformer that serves your home, remove the old service
equipment, install new service equipment (main panel) with a withstand
rating that is suitable for the fault current available, install new
service entry conductors that are sized for the increased capacity,
reconnect and add grounding electrodes as necessary to meet present code
requirements, install a new meter cabinet unless the utility prefers to
do it (pepco, DC for instance), reconnect all of the homes electrical
circuits to the new panel, prepare a list of which breakers serve what
outlets (called a panel schedule), arrange for electrical inspection,
and file paperwork with the power utility if necessary.
The utility will then come out and change out your service drop or
lateral if necessary and make any temporary connections that were made
to your new equipment permanent.
This is Turtle.
I will say this first. Dimming lights does not always mean too small of
electric service / Panel. It can be but alone with 50 other reason not
related to the service size. Have the power company come out to check your
voltage to your home and have them tell you as to what is too small or not.
A example of this is when you think you have something wrong with you don't
go to a General Practicianer to get a ideal of what is wrong and you start
to specialist to have Medical operation on you till you get the right
operation to fix you. Find out what the problem is before you start cutting
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
That "customer diagnosed problem" is epidemic. Hvac and refrigeration guys
have that problem, of course. "It isn't cooling, so I want you to put in a
couple more pounds that freezone stuff!".
Good observation. I must admit, I glanced at the original post, and my mind
got to thinking that s/he would need larger lead in wire. Now that I'm
thinking of dimming lights, I can think of a couple possible causes, and
none of them involve upgrade to 200 amp service.
Christopher A. Young
Jesus: The Reason for the Season
Unless you're tripping your 100 amp main, why would you think an upgrade would
stop the lights from dimming?
You just might have a poorly-balanced panel!
15 years ago my Uncle wanted to upgrade a 100a split-buss Federal Pacific panel
to 200a because he tripped the "lighting main" (60a) a couple of times in the
summer when the a/c was on.
Over the lighting main, the 40a range and 30a dryer. Under the lighting main
was the pool filter, a 30a electric water heater, a 220v 18,000 btu a/c and the
rest of the typical branch circuits.
His usage wasn't demanding more than 100a, but one leg of the 60a lighting main
would demand more than 60a when conditions were right, specifically the pool
filter running, the A/C running, and the water heater running simultaniously.
By simply changing the panel to a standard 100a main panel his problem was
solved and remains trouble free to this day.
Lights will always momentarily dim when a heavy load such as a pool filter or
vaccuum or washing maching switches on or changes gears, and especially when an
older window shaker tries to chime on...
What I went through:
- Utility company changed cables from electricity pole to my house
- Had to upgrade whole breaker box as mine was rated at 100A. Breaker box
included 200A breaker
- Electrician obtained permits
- Took the opportunity to rework some old circuits, and new breaker box has
more than twice the breaker slots of the old box
The minimum is likely to be: obtain a permit, get the service shut off
at the pole, pull out the electric meter, run much larger conductors
from the meter enclosure to wherever the utility service attaches
(underground to the pole or transformer, or up to a weatherhead for
overhead wires), run much larger conductors from the meter to the
service panel, replace the service panel, reattach all the existing
circuits, have the inspector look it all over, call the utility company
to reinstall the meter and connect to their service.
Moving the old circuits to a new service panel may force you to bring
them up to current code.
The much larger conductors will need a 2" raceway and you probably have
1 1/4" conduit for a 100A service, unless your service uses service
entrance cable w/o a raceway. You might consider upgrading to a 150A
service because you can reuse a 1 1/4" (or larger) service conduit and
just pull the larger wires.
You might also consider putting a 200A panel right next to your exising
panel and connecting them together with a short 2" pipe nipple and
locknuts. Leave all the 15A and 20A in the old panel and just move the
30A and larger circuits to the new panel. That's what I did, and it
allowed me to do most of the work before I disconnected the old service.
Probably will require replacing the panel (unless the current one is already
rated 200A or better (e.g. 225A) but equiped w/ a 100A main), replacing the
main breaker, replacing the service enterance cable with larger cable and
perhaps replacing the meter base if it is not rated 200A already.
Furthermore it is remotely possible the electric utility will need to
replace *their* service drop should is not be rated for 200 amps, but unless
it is really old it probably is already. They'll tell you when they quote
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