Service Upgrade 100A -> 200A

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  #1  
Old 01-03-06, 06:50 AM
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Location: Michigan
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Service Upgrade 100A -> 200A

Greetings,

I would like to upgrade my 100-amp service to 200 and am toying with the notion of researching and tackling this project myself. Is this within the realm of a DIY project? If so, can someone point me in a good starting direction? If not, what should I expect to pay for a professional?

I am comfortable with basic home wiring and have recently completely rewired my 100+ year old home.

Thanks in advance,
Brad
 
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  #2  
Old 01-03-06, 07:06 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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I donít know whether you can do this or not. For most do-it-yourselfers it is above and beyond what they can do and what they want to do.

The wiring from the pole or other power company hookup may need to be replaced. The meter and/or meter box may need to be replaced. The wiring from the meter to the panel may need to be replaced. The existing ground connections may need to be replaced or added to. Your panel box itself may need to be replaced.

I would start with the power company. They will tell you if the existing wiring is appropriate for 200 amps or if it needs to be replaced. They will also tell you what parts they will replace (and at what cost, if any) and they will tell you what parts you (or an electrician you hire) will have to replace.

Then would get quotes from at least two but preferably three electricians. Make sure that the quotes are specific as to what labor will be done and what parts will be provided. If the quotes vary widely in scope then determine why they want to do different things.

Armed with quotes and power company information you can determine what needs to be done. Then you can decide if you really want to tackle the project yourself.

Remember that you will be without electricity for much of the project.
 
  #3  
Old 01-03-06, 07:53 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
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As Bob says, this would be way above the skills of most DIYers. But since you've already completely rewired a house, you're not like most DIYers.

The key question is how long you stand being without electricity. If you hire this job out, you'll lose electricity for a day. If you do it yourself and everything goes well, you'll be without electricity for a week. If everything doesn't go well, you could be without electricity for two weeks.

Most upgrades like this cost between $1000 and $2000, with some very simple jobs cheaper than this, and some complicated jobs more than this. Prevailing labor rates in your area also have a big influence.
 
  #4  
Old 01-03-06, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,188
Brad - I did the same upgrade several years ago and had the same questions. Like you, I am very comfortable with residential wiring and I was confident that I had the skills to do the job. However, I opted to have it done by a professional for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted it done correctly and second, I didn't want to be without power for more than a day.
The electrician I contracted replaced the box and all the breakers in less than 4 hours. IIRC he charged me less than $800 T&M.
One thing that he did that I probably would not have done is that he made sure each circuit had a drip loop inside the panel. I had a severe water leak into the panel this spring (siding installers broke and didn't replace the seal into the POCO meter) but none of the breakers got wet because the drip loops routed the water away from them. That was when I decided my money was well spent.
 
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