Upgrade to 200 amp service


Old 07-08-04, 12:08 AM
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Question Upgrade to 200 amp service

Our house has a 100 amp service and the box
is almost maxed out with breakers. We do not have
many high draw devices and have never tripped
the 100 amp breaker but I would like to run some
extra outlet branches in the basement for misc. use.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to install
a second breaker box and supply it from a set of
breakers in our present service.
Are there any rules or guidelines as to when one
must/should upgrade to a 200amp service?

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Old 07-08-04, 05:48 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The easiest way may not be to run a sub panel. When you say almost maxed out, what do you mean? Do you have no slots left, or have you almost reached the capacity of the current panel? Can your breaker box accept mini or tandem breakers? Are ther any mini breakers presently installed?

Adding new circuits will not change your current energy use, unless you are also changing the manner in which you use energy. In other words, simply adding receptacles does nothing to your electric bill. However, adding a refrigerator does make a difference.

If you are not adding any significant electric loads, and do not anticipate adding any then I would keep your 100 amp service. However, if you have to go to a sub panel then you may want to consider replacing the existing panel, especially if you think you may want to up the service to 200 amps in the future.
Old 07-08-04, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for the response.

Good point that the future plans would drive the current action.
I guess I could have given some more details.
By "Maxed out" I am only referring to circuit breaker slots.
There are two slots left but they are next to the main
breaker and I'm not certain if they are useable. There is a
total of 20 slots for the branches and about half of them are
20 amps (others are 15).

The high draw items are as follows;
Central Air (for 2000sq ft house) ("17A max", 220V on Trane unit)
Electric Dryer
Electric Heater in 14x13 porch (2000 Watts) (rarely used and only in winter)
Whirlpool (not heated, rarely used...it came with the house)
Dish Washer

Future plans:
Pool filter (runs continuously in summer, 334W in slow mode, 1903W when vacumming)
2nd refridgerator
House fan (rarely used and not when air conditioner is used)
Replace Dryer with Gas Dryer (savings)
Some outlet lines in shop for a few infrequently used tools (table saw, etc.)

Given that many of these items are not used concurently and/or
are rarely used together, is there enough justification to upgrade the service
and replace the panel ?

I know the NEC specifies the algorithm to use for each branch.
Is there something similar for the whole house or is it left
up to common sense, guidelines and experience? You can point me to
the NEC if it is in there.


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