Changing my Main Panel - 100AMP\200AMP

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  #1  
Old 07-04-14, 10:36 AM
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Changing my Main Panel - 100AMP\200AMP

Hello Doityourselfers

Quick question here, its more opinion based then anything, but hopefully we will generate some good discussion.

I currently have a very old (probably original to my house 1940's) main panel in my basement. Its 100AMP service, with 20 connection points.

I need to upgrade it, as I currently having an oil fired direct water heater that is on it last leg. I'm going to make the switch to a heat pump electric water heater. Much more efficient in my opinion.

Anyway, the way my house is currently set up is with two meters outside. One feeds a 60 amp panel for the upstairs and the second the 100amp service for the first floor and basement.

I have central air, fired by the upstairs panel. Downstairs biggest appliances are a dryer, dish washer, and now the new water heater.

I wanted to originally switch the 20 slot 100AMP out with a 32 or 40 slot 100AMP just to add a little room, but it seems like theres a big push to move over to 200AMP service now.

My question to you is, is it worth it to switch to a 200AMP service for downstairs, with the additional 60 amps upstairs, or should I just stick to a 100 and think I'll be fine? My house is fairly small.

If I switch to the 200AMP I have to change the pan outside, the SE wire, and the larger panel.

I'm having a electrcian buddy come by and help me (even though I'm more then confident to do myself my POCO requires sign off) so the labor cost wont be to much more for me, just cost of parts ect.

A second thought I had was to put a 200AMP panel in it, and just use a 100AMP main - if I ever run into an issue where im over drawing the panel I can switch the PAN and SE wire at a later time.

Thoughts? THANKS!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-04-14, 11:55 AM
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My question to you is, is it worth it to switch to a 200AMP service for downstairs, with the additional 60 amps upstairs, or should I just stick to a 100 and think I'll be fine? My house is fairly small.
The only real advantage I see to upgrading to 200 amp service would be to get rid of the 2nd meter and feed the upstairs panel off the new 200 amp panel plus the obvious, having everything outside new. If this was formerly a 2 family house and now being used as a single family house, you might be required to only have one meter. If for some reason you wanted to keep the 2nd meter, you really don't need anything more than a larger 100 amp panel downstairs.
 
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Old 07-04-14, 12:04 PM
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First - why two meters? You would probably save a couple of bucks a month by combining to cut down the monthly service charge for 2 meters. POCO might force you to do it if you make any change.

Normal house is fine with 100 amp service. Lots of homes still have 60. Really only need to go higher if you have an electric range, furnace, or shop.
 
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Old 07-04-14, 03:28 PM
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A demand load calculation would give you an idea on whether the upgrade or just a larger panel is needed.
 
  #5  
Old 07-04-14, 03:30 PM
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Hi All, thanks for your replies.

The reason that its two meters is legally my home is still registered with a legal upstairs apartment.

The second point of egress was removed from outside, and the central AIR is run off of up there, but could easily be put back in. Its a PAIN to register it with my town, so its easier to leave it like that for now with the town. The taxes are a bit higher, but its a huge selling point in my area to have a registered upstairs apartment with all the pluming and electrical already set.

Anyway - I do have an electric range. The major appliances running off the feed downstairs would be a fridge, range, clothing washer and dryer, and the new hot water heater. I also have a wood shop in the basement, but I'm not building anything that is more then 15 amps, for just a few minutes.
 
  #6  
Old 07-04-14, 03:58 PM
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I did a quick walk around my house and I have the following appliances running off the first floor pan.

1 - Fridge \ Freezer
1 - Dishwasher
1 - Electric Hot Water Heater (to be added 18.8Amps)
2 - 8000 BTU Windows AC's
1 - 4 Burner Range
1 - Electric Dryer (220V)
1 - Mini Fridge

Plus a range of lights, and small appliances...but those are the majors. I tried using the load calculation spreadsheet but it wont work on my Mac.

What are the chances my meter outside already rated for 200AMPs? Theres no visible notations I can see. If thats the case running a new SE Cable won't be a huge deal...if we're already having the power shut off to change the panel.
 
  #7  
Old 07-04-14, 07:10 PM
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What are the chances my meter outside already rated for 200AMPs?
Slim to none and closer to none. Regardless of whether you just replace the existing 100 amp panel or upgrade to a 200 amp service the inspector will likely see that you have two meters and do not have an apartment upstairs.
 
  #8  
Old 07-04-14, 08:59 PM
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You mean to tell me that because I don't currently have an apartment setup I need to change it back to a single meter? I find that highly unlikely. In that case I would hook the second floor directly into the first floor at the pan outside. They are set up with a side by side dual meters.

The real question is weather or not I need to upgrade to 200A to begin with.

My real concern is having a dryer, hot water heater, window ACs and range all potentially running at the same time. In addition to small appliances and lighting.
 
  #9  
Old 07-05-14, 07:46 AM
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You mean to tell me that because I don't currently have an apartment setup I need to change it back to a single meter? I find that highly unlikely.
It depends on your local AHJ's requirements.

In that case I would hook the second floor directly into the first floor at the pan outside. They are set up with a side by side dual meters.
If you have a single metering device with two sockets, it doesn't sound original and the device is probably rated for 200 amps, 100 amps per position. If you have two separate meter sockets, they might be rated for 100 amps each. You really need to find out what the local requirements are.
 
  #10  
Old 07-05-14, 11:24 AM
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A 100 ampere service has a capacity of 24,000 watts. I very roughly calculate that IF you had a clothes dryer, water heater, 2 window coolers and the kitchen range all going at maximum draw (rather unlikely) you would be pulling about 21,000 watts. I would consider just adding a sub-panel if all you want is a few more circuits.
 
  #11  
Old 07-06-14, 06:49 PM
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Thanks for all your answers. I think my answer is to wire in a 200A rated panel with a 100A main to protect the SE wire.

If one day I do run into some type of situation where I do require additional load I can change out the pan and SE cable at that point.
 
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