100 amp vs 200 amp

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  #1  
Old 01-19-06, 12:03 AM
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Question 100 amp vs 200 amp

I always hear of 100 amp service versus 200 amp service; does this just boil down to the number of circuits available in a panel, i.e., the size of the panel?
 
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Old 01-19-06, 04:10 AM
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And the size of entrance cable from the power company, and the size of entrance from the weatherhead to your panel, and the size of your meter (it may be old and only rated at 100 amps). A 200 amp panel does give you more circuits, but you are doubling the capacity, but it requires alot of upgrading from the power pole to your house.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 07:36 AM
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Just did the upgrade

Having just completed a 100 to 200 amp upgrade, I can add a little. The reason I did the upgrade was that I wanted more circuits and needed the space. The new panel was about twice as tall as the old and holds about twice the breakers.

I had the power company come out (free) and got approval to just put in a new panel. I have underground service and the house was built in 1968.

Once I realized I needed a new panel, it made sense to be prepared for the future with more capacity rather than stay at 100. There was very little cost to go with 200 rather than 100. Once I factored in the fact that the new panel should last another 30 to 40 years, there was no hesitation to go to 200. The original house did not come with central air and newer applicances only seem to demand more juice, not less.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyger52
The reason I did the upgrade was that I wanted more circuits and needed the space.
I think you spent awefull lot of money just to get more circuits. Instead, you could have rewired your existing panel to use double-pole breakers. It would increase panel real estate. Alternatively, you could wire in the subpanel
 
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Old 01-19-06, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jwatters
I always hear of 100 amp service versus 200 amp service; does this just boil down to the number of circuits available in a panel, i.e., the size of the panel?
It's not just so much the number of circuits, but the capacity of the overall system.

Throw in a heat pump, electric dryer, electric hot water range, electric range, electric stove (or worse, double oven), whirlpool tub with heat (or hot tub), etc etc.. and you have easily exceeded the electrical capacity of 100 amp service.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by slvr00gt
I think you spent awefull lot of money just to get more circuits. Instead, you could have rewired your existing panel to use double-pole breakers. It would increase panel real estate. Alternatively, you could wire in the subpanel
Use of tandem breakers is restricted by many local codes, including mine. OK if you need one or two new circuits but not OK beyond that.

Subpanels can be more trouble than they are worth. I looked at that too and given that I couldn't get some parts for my old QO panel, the neutral bus was full and the "big" load wires were very short, it made sense to get rid of it.

I agree there are cheaper ways, but if it's not going to break the bank put a few bucks into new stuff and spend about the same on labor. It's a better investment.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 09:23 AM
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It is how much power you can use at any given time; think of it as the size of the pipe to the power company. With a 200A service, you can use twice as much electricity as you can with a 100A service. A house with all gas or LP appliances will probably be fine with 100A; a house with electric heat, range, oven, water heat, spa, etc can need 200A or more. In the really expensive neighborhoods, 400A services are becoming common for mini-mansion homes.
 
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Old 01-19-06, 03:14 PM
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No space left

Originally Posted by slvr00gt
I think you spent awefull lot of money just to get more circuits. Instead, you could have rewired your existing panel to use double-pole breakers. It would increase panel real estate. Alternatively, you could wire in the subpanel
I thought of doing all that and in fact, put in a sub panel to make the wiring job easier. There is a bigger picture that I left out: I am rewiring my entire house to eliminate the existing AL wiring. It so happened that events allowed a far amount of wiring in the walls to become exposed.

Most of my breakers were already half sized, if that's what you meant, and I needed a lot more. I am lost as to how double pole breakers would help in getting more room. Can someone explain?
 
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Old 01-19-06, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyger52
I am lost as to how double pole breakers would help in getting more room. Can someone explain?
I think he's talking about 'half-size' tandem breakers.
 
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Old 01-21-06, 07:49 AM
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200 amp service

There are advantages to a larger service. One would be a larger capacity for load. The other would be a possible saving in the electric bill if you were using enough power to push the envelope of what you had. As far as breaker spaces, you could have always taken a larger panel that was rated for 200 amps and fed it out of the origional panel with a 100 amp breaker if all you were doing was looking for more spaces.
Typically, if you have a gas house then a 200 amp service is overkill. There are formulas to determin what you need as far as a service is concerned.
 
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Old 01-21-06, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by nfsus
One would be a larger capacity for load. The other would be a possible saving in the electric bill if you were using enough power to push the envelope of what you had.
Can you expalin how this is possible?





Originally Posted by nfsus
As far as breaker spaces, you could have always taken a larger panel that was rated for 200 amps and fed it out of the origional panel with a 100 amp breaker if all you were doing was looking for more spaces.
While this might be code legal, it is not a generally accepted practice.
A sub-panel would be the proper way to go.
 
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Old 01-21-06, 08:42 AM
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Explinations

Prehaps I should have called it a sub panel. That is what I was talking about.


As far as saving on the bill, if he was pushing the limits of the 100 amp service or exceding it, it would lower the work load of the sevice equipment by increasing the size, allowing the house equipment to have more avaliable capacity to draw from. This would allow for startup loads and such to not be drawn down.
Heat = money. 100 amps is 100 amps. However, if the 100 amp equipment was overloaded there would not be adiquate room in the system to allow for sudden draws. Thus overheating the equipment, causing breakdowns and overtime destroying the conductors. When the conductors are destroyed or damaged it registers as heat (amperage) below the meter causing more pull for the same load that it once handled fine.
It is a posibility. It is not always true. Hope this helps.
 
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