Upgrade to 200AMP or keep 100AMP?

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millinghill wrote:

Well, yeah, if the drop is not rated for 200 Amps.

What work are they doing "right there?"
In most jurisdictions (by land area), you can do the work yourself.
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SMS wrote:

for you. for someone else? maybe not. i have 200a service and all gas appliances along with a solar system, and wish i had 300a and a larger box (it's full and has 40 slots). i have 2 pottery kilns at 50a each that i can't run at the same time, a large compressor for sandblasting, and i'd like to upgrade to a 100a kiln.
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Depends on how much natural gas you use. If your stove is ng and your heating is ng and your drier is ng then 60 amps will do you. But in todays BIGGER is better society and for re-sale value, I would go with 200.
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wrote:

It's not just the box. If the OP was just changing the box, it would only be $30 difference. He can put in a 100A breaker box using the existing drop and cables from the head to the panel, because he already has 100A service. If he was doing this job himself, his only costs would be the box, breakers, and some connectors, clamps, and misc odds and ends.
However if he upgrades to 200A, the entire service entrance stack (conduit and cable) needs to be replaced, and likely the meter box too. Plus the service drop from the pole needs heavier wire, and this stuff is at least $3 a foot. These materials add up fast. Then consider he is having the work done, not a DIY. An electrician who charges $50 or more per hour can replace the box in 3 or 4 hours if it's just a replacement breaker panel. But if they have to change the service entrance and the power company has to change the drop, the labor alone will take a full day if not more. 8 hours @ $50 is $400 alone.
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

You make several good points. Still, why not a 200 Amp box with a 100 Amp drop?
When (and if) a future upgrade to an actual 200 Amp service takes place, it's $30 now vs. $250 to swap out the box at the same time as the upgrade.
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In my case it was about $120 more for the box, better put, the new box was free because the electrician had a lot of rewiring work for all our reno rooms and kitchens. He gave me the 100 A box for free. He wasn't going to give a 200A box for free.
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Upgrade-to-200AMP-or-keep-100AMP-503513-.htm scghome wrote:
snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

-------------------------------------
We have lived in this house 20 years and started having problems with the "main breaker" tripping repeatedly.We have electric range, washer, dryer, water heater, refridgerator and a seperate upright freezer, forced air heater fan, central air in summer,2 assortment of computers,routers, printers, large TV, smaller TV's microwave etc..
We have 100 Amp service and an old push panel breaker system. Electrician # 1 said we are taxing the system and gave us an estimate of about $2100 to upgrade to 150Amp and including replacing the large wire that runs into the house. We asked about 200 Amp and he felt we didn't need it.
Electrican # 2 just gave us an estimate for $6300 to upgrade to 200Amp including replacing the outside wire. ( $6800 if we add an optional power surge protecter at the box. I had heard there was not that much difference ( ie a few hundred more) between upgrading to 150 versus 200 amp.
Now I'm questioning both estimates and whether we should go with 200 - it sounds like we should but is $6300 reasonable?
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On 11/8/2010 10:25 PM, scghome wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Upgrade-to-200AMP-or-keep-100AMP-503513-.htm
Get more estimates, and make sure they are all quoting for the same work. $2100-2500 I could believe, over $6k sounds absurdly high. By same work, I mean the same size (and preferably brand) of panels and breakers, the same amount of cable, etc. I'd also call power company and ask what local practice is about replacing service drops. If you tell them you are changing the main service, they may cut you a break on meter base, weather head, and drop installation.
--
aem sends...

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In many parts of the world the installation of the Service Entry Conductors is the customers responsibility. Service Entry Conductors are the conductors from the end of the service drop or Service Lateral to the Service Disconnecting Means. The Service Drop or Lateral conductors are utility property. Service Entry Conductors belong to the customer. In some areas the meter base is supplied by the utility but installed by the customer. My point is that local practice and state utility regulations vary widely. -- Tom Horne
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I'd go with 200A and Electrician #1. The labor cost is about the same but the wire for 200A is going to be heavier and more expensive. The 6800 sounds very high to me, but I've not seen the job either. The load you potentially have warrants some additional service. Central AC with the dryer and range going puts a good load. Toss in the dishwasher and water heater and I can see you'd have problems.
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On Tue, 09 Nov 2010 03:25:53 +0000, scjgberg_at_verizon_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (scghome) wrote:

Where are you? Unless there is a big mess that you're not telling us about, that sounds 3-4x too high.
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scghome wrote:

http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Upgrade-to-200AMP-or-keep-100AMP-503513-.htm
have you always had this load or did you add things over time?
breakers wear out, especially if they're flipped on/off a lot.
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wrote:

not be a big difference in the parts, and the labour will be the same unless he is only replacing the main in the panel, and not the panel itself (which is possible in some panels - but not others - and most likely not possible to go to 200 on the existing panel)
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The question isn't "rushing out" to replace the panel, rather, the panel *is* going to be replaced, what to replace it with? Often a 150A service can use the same drop as an existing 100A, so the cost difference *is* the box. I'd certainly want the quotes both ways so an informed decision can be made.
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You need some information from the utility company.
Basically you have to know whether your existing "drop" is good for 200 amps. We had a similar situation to use: entrance panel was all fuses. But I called the utility and they assured me that the "drop" (actually an underground) was 200 amps.
After that it was a no-brainer.
If your utility says the drop is only 100 amps you can decide whether to change out the drop "now or later." There is nothing illegal with getting a 100 amp main breaker for your 200 amp panel. Just keep the 200 amp breaker is a safe place. If you (or the next owners) needs 200 amps the costs would be only slightly higher (accounting for inflation, etc.) than if you had it all done at once. You might even "luck out" and the utility upgrades the drop for its own reasons.
Don't look too far into the future: even if electric cars become popular the odds are that you will end up with a separate, utility controlled service in order to get a good rate.

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OP follow-up: Due to overwhelming recommendation, I went with the 200AMP upgrade. I'm happy I did. You never know what future holds, so why preculde yourself for a few hundred bucks. Many thanks to all opinions, pro and con!
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