Upgrading My Service to 150 or 200 Amp (Help)


Old 02-24-03, 02:11 PM
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Upgrading My Service to 150 or 200 Amp (Help)

Hi, I want to upgrade to breakers instead of having fuses. A friend of a friend is going to do the work(Electrician)
He told me to get 150 Amp Box W/Main, 8 20Amp Breakers, 10' of 150 Amp Service or Entrance Cable.
I have 100Amp service now, his plan is to replace the cable on the outgoing part of the meter not the actual wire going into the meter. I was told if it 100amp wire going into the meter its going to be 100 amp coming out of the meter so why do I need 150 amp wire and box. He said I need to replace the wire coming down my house into the meter as well if I want 150 amp service.
He also said I may as well go 200 amp instead of 150.

Any help would be greatly appreciated
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Old 02-24-03, 03:30 PM
Master Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Indiana
Posts: 300
Your going to have just about the same amount of money in the parts for a 150 amp as you would for 200amps.

As far as the wire. It would have to be replaced from the weatherhead, all the way into the panel. If it is not all replaced then it's about like a chain. "The strongest part is only as good as it's weekest link."
Old 02-24-03, 07:55 PM
Master Electrician
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Indiana
Posts: 300
Hi Art, Thanks for the reply. What do you mean by the weatherhead? Is that the pipe that runs down the side of my house into the meter? Or is it the meter. Sorry I'm a new home owner and all this is new to me.

Thanks Steve

"Weatherhead" : The mask located at the overhang of the house, or above the roof. the point of connection that the power company hooks to. From this point on into the house is your property, and not the power company's.
Old 02-25-03, 08:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 525
As aphares said, you will need to replace all of the service entrance wiring. You need to protect the weakest link in the system (the 100 wiring in this case) from becoming overloaded. One other option you have if your 100 service is adequate would be to install a new 200A panel with a 100 Amp branch breaker. "Backfeed" the wires from the meter into the 100 Amp breaker (using a retaining clip). Attach the "Main Service disconnect" label adjacent to the 100 Amp breaker. This way, if you decide down the road that you need to upgrade to 200 Amps you won't have to change the Panel out - only pull in new wire and connect the new 200 Amp wiring to the main lugs in the panel.

Additionally, as old as your house is, I'm sure that the meter base itself is rated for 100 amps and will have to be upgraded to a 200A base when you upgrade the service. If you install a 200A panel on a 100A circuit, I would suggest you buy a Main Lug Only Panel (No 200A Main Breaker). Buy a ground bar and install all your grounds on it and install the neutrals on the neutral bar. DO USE the bonding screw on the neutral bar. When (and if) you upgrade in the future, Install a new 200A meter base with a 200A Service Main outside and then run a 4-wire SER cable in to the 200A panel. Remove the bonding screw and hook up the ground to the ground bar and the neutral to the neutral bar.

If you decide to do it this way, I would run my plan by a qualified electrician that can see the particulars of your situation (i.e. distance from meter to panelbox) to make sure you meet the NEC.

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