Is it possible to upgrade my electric panel from a 200 amp service to a
300 or 400 amp service. I want to finish my basement and add a new
patio over the next several years and I want to add quite a few new
circuits and I don't have the slots left in the current panel. I
really don't want to just add a sub panel, I would like to have a
second line into the house from the meter in for the second panel. Is
this possible? I would hand over all the work to a professional, but I
just want to know if what I want to do is possible.
While you are sleeping, if you have a typical house, it is probably drawing
15 or 20A in that 200A panel. Have you ever taken an actual measurement of
how much power you use? Just get a clamp on Amprobe and watch it during
heavy use. The only really big users in most homes is electric heat and
A larger size service will not give you more circuits if NEC has a limit on
the number of breakers in a box. You may find that you are required to have
one service disconnect per service, then divided up into multiple panels, or
simpler to just add a sub panel.
If you have a 10,000+ square foot house with electric heat and A/C you
might actually have a need for more than 200A service. Otherwise you
just need more spaces and a sub panel is all you need.
400A switch gear is expensive so what is typically done is a split 400A
service with two 200A panels. A single utility service drop and meter
rated for 400A and two feeds out from the meter to two normal 200A
Installing say a 32 space 125A sub panel will cost perhaps $1,000 while
installing a second 200A panel, new meter socket and having the utility
drop replaced will cost perhaps $5,000 (or more). I'd expect you can
find better things to do with the $4,000+ that would be wasted with the
That was a guestimate to include the cost of having an electrician do
the work as the OP noted and presumably install the new circuits into
the panel. If you were to DIY it it would be perhaps $300. The point was
the large cost difference between the sub panel which is needed and the
upgraded service which almost certainly is not needed.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.