Upgrading power from 150 to 200 amps?

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Old 09-10-14, 03:59 PM
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Upgrading power from 150 to 200 amps?

I have a big shop with 150A electrical service coming in, and I'd like to upgrade to 200 amps. I'm not sure why it's 150A in the first place. The meter socket is rated for 200, and so is my panel. There is approximately 10 feet of wire between my meter and panel. (I need to check the size) The service to the meter is relatively new underground lines.

Besides the breaker and the wire size between the meter and the panel, is there any other reason this would be limited to 150 amps? Can I just swap in a 200 amp breaker if the wire is big enough?

I know the electrician that did the work, and let's just say he's thrifty, I think he might have just used whatever breaker he had in his box...
 
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Old 09-10-14, 04:15 PM
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Can we assume this is a single phase 120/240v service ?

You would definitely need to check the existing wiring sizes.
The meter needs to have 200CL on it for a 200A service.
If you have to upgrade the wiring then the meter will need to be pulled anyway.
 
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Old 09-10-14, 04:27 PM
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Yes, this is single phase 120/240.
 
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Old 09-10-14, 06:03 PM
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Can I just swap in a 200 amp breaker if the wire is big enough?
Maybe, if you can find a 200 amp breaker to fit the panel. This is not a residence so the wire needs to be either 3/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum. If the electrician was as thrifty as you say, it's not likely he oversized the service entrance wiring and it will need to be replaced.
 
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Old 09-10-14, 09:54 PM
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I might be less costly to add a second panel off the meter and leave the one panel as is.
 
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Old 09-10-14, 10:18 PM
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I might be less costly to add a second panel off the meter and leave the one panel as is.
Interesting, I didn't know I could do that. Can I simply install another panel with a 50A breaker and it's own supply from the meter to the panel?
 
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Old 09-10-14, 11:01 PM
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Interesting, I didn't know I could do that. Can I simply install another panel with a 50A breaker and it's own supply from the meter to the panel?

I think what they're saying is add a new 200A panel, and feed the old one as a subpanel with sub-feed lugs.
 
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Old 09-11-14, 04:44 AM
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Without knowing wire/conduit sizes and other details it is just a guess as what would be best to do. Can you provide pictures of the complete service including the meter socket and also provide all wire/conduit sizes?
 
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Old 09-11-14, 06:09 AM
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I was suggesting a parallel service.
 
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Old 09-11-14, 02:06 PM
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Without knowing wire/conduit sizes and other details it is just a guess as what would be best to do. Can you provide pictures of the complete service including the meter socket and also provide all wire/conduit sizes?
The only unknown is the wire size between the meter and the panel. If it's not big enough it's not hard or expensive to replace.

I was suggesting a parallel service.
So can a 150 and a 50 amp panel be used?
 
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Old 09-11-14, 03:55 PM
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The smallest service allowed for a home is 100 amps. Why do you think you need to upgrade? Maybe the service calculated out at less than 150 amps.
 
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Old 09-11-14, 08:56 PM
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It's not a house. It's a big shop. A BIG shop. 12,000 square feet. 150 amps is not enough. I've already filled up the 30 space panel and need to install a sub panel as well. I'd like to upgrade to 400A, but the power company wants about $3000 for that. A new 200A breaker is only about $77. If I must replace the wire, we're talking less than $50 for that.
 
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Old 09-11-14, 09:06 PM
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How about a 320A service?
 
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Old 09-11-14, 09:25 PM
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400/320...same thing. What they call "320 service" comes with two 200A breakers. The most you can draw from that is 320 amps continuous. (80% of 400 is 320)

I still might need to upgrade to 320/400...but for now I want to try and make 200 work.
 
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Old 09-12-14, 05:16 AM
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The bus in the panel may not be rated for 200 so the panel would need to be changed also.

Simply because the panel is full does not mean you are out of power.
 
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Old 09-12-14, 07:31 AM
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for now I want to try and make 200 work.
Then upgrade the wiring to 200 amps and replace the existing panel with a 50 circuit panel. Here is an economically priced one.

Eaton 200-Amp 40-Space 50-Circuit Type-BR Main Breaker Load Center Value Pack Includes 4 Breakers-BR4050B200V5 at The Home Depot

Looks like the same price at Lowes.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_410870-82364...ductId=3775499
 
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Old 09-13-14, 12:09 AM
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There's no need to replace the current panel, it's only a few years old. I want to put a bunch of 120v 20A circuits on the new panel, a 50A subpanel is probably plenty and should be around $50. I can just add it next to the main panel, there is plenty of room.

But the other question still stands. If I have a 200A meter, can a 150 and 50 amp main be used for separate panels directly off the meter? I know that's how 320 service works (two 200A panels) but I don't know what they allow for lower amperage.
 
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Old 09-13-14, 07:12 AM
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If I have a 200A meter, can a 150 and 50 amp main be used for separate panels directly off the meter?
You would have to consult your AHJ to see if they would allow it. The biggest obstacle I see is that 200 amp meter sockets have a lay-in type of lug that is rated for one conductor. IF you are allowed to parallel off a 200 amp socket, you would have to install a junction box or trough to tap the service entrance conductors.

There's no need to replace the current panel, it's only a few years old. I want to put a bunch of 120v 20A circuits on the new panel, a 50A subpanel is probably plenty and should be around $50. I can just add it next to the main panel, there is plenty of room.
This might work, but you'd still have to upgrade the service entrance wiring to 200 amps and replace the 150A main breaker with a 200A main breaker (assuming the panel interior is rated for 200 amps). Here is another option. Install a new 200 amp main breaker panel next to the existing panel. Install 200 amp service entrance wiring to the new panel and power the existing panel as a subpanel from the new 200 amp panel. I would feed it with at least 100 to 125 amps, but that really depends on the loads in that existing panel.

Even if you can find a 200A main breaker to fit your existing panel, it will likely cost more than a new 200 amp main breaker panel.
 
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Old 09-13-14, 04:44 PM
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Ah, I see what you're saying now. Makes more sense. Thanks for the info everyone.
 
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Old 09-22-14, 02:31 AM
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I finally got around to pulling the cover off the panel. 4/0 aluminum from the meter to the panel. I also noticed the old permit stuck to the panel says "200A meter change out".

All I need to do is change out the 150A breaker for a 200, right?







 
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Old 09-22-14, 07:32 AM
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You are going to need to check the ampacity of the panel bus to see if the main can be swapped for a 200. The label from the manufacturer should have this information.
 
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Old 09-22-14, 02:52 PM
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Is there space on the left side of the existing panel for a 2nd panel similar to the existing panel ?

if so, then consider setting such a panel so that the 200 amp MCB would be at the "bottom' of the panel; you have sufficient "slack" in 0000 conductors for them to extend to MCB of the 2nd panel if it's "at the bottom"

Also, you'll double the number of CB positions.

You will have to transfer the Grounding-connections to the new panel.
 
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Old 10-17-14, 03:32 PM
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The funny thing about those 200 amp meters is that the manufacturers of some of those meters use the same meter for their 320/400 amp sizes. They produce the same meter on the line, then just take a small batch of them and label them differently.
You can call the manufacturer of that meter and ask if that's the case.
 
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Old 10-18-14, 05:00 PM
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The funny thing about those 200 amp meters is that the manufacturers of some of those meters use the same meter for their 320/400 amp sizes. They produce the same meter on the line, then just take a small batch of them and label them differently.
You can call the manufacturer of that meter and ask if that's the case.
The meter isn't an issue, the power company will furnish the proper meter. The OP apparently is staying with 200 amp service for now so the existying meter won't even need to be changed.
 
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