How to Recognize 200 Amp Service at Mast

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Old 02-16-15, 11:31 AM
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How to Recognize 200 Amp Service at Mast

I have a 200 AMP Panel box with a 200 Amp main Breaker. The service is overhead. Is there a way to visually tell if it is actually a 200 AMP service coming to the mast. Are there a different number of wires or different type of wires used for 200 AMP Vs 100 AMP. Is it possible to have a 200 amp breaker and panel but only 100AMP service coming into the house?

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SudCaper
 
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Old 02-16-15, 11:36 AM
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Ampacity

Ampacity is determined by the type and size of the wire.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 11:41 AM
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A 200A service should have wires at the mast that are at least #2/0 copper or #4/0 aluminum. The size might be printed on the exposed cable/wire jacket. A 100A service would typically have #4 copper or #2 aluminum wires.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 11:58 AM
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Remain mindful of the fact that those wires have very large fuses on them, so be careful. As far as the utility companies in my area of the U.S. anyway, they will inspect and/or monitor it for you if you suspect a problem beyond your main breaker.
 
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Old 02-16-15, 04:11 PM
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Is there a way to visually tell if it is actually a 200 AMP service coming to the mast.
Coming to the mast..... no. Not usually a 200A drop. Usually a 100A drop from the street. The power company relies on "free air" and is not under the same code that house wiring is.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 07:51 AM
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What country are you in? Typically in the U.S. a heavily loaded 200 amp service would have a 1/0 aluminum service drop assuming the customer has informed the power company of all loads. The size of the service cannot be determined merely by looking at the mast and service connections and not looking at the service entrance wiring, meter socket and main service panel, but one can make an educated guess. In most cases, a guess is not enough.


I neglected the answer one question when I first posted.

Is it possible to have a 200 amp breaker and panel but only 100AMP service coming into the house?
Yes, this is entirely possible and quite common. My 200 amp service is fed with what appears to be a #4 aluminum drop which is almost always used to feed a 100 amp service. It is adequate for my loads. Most 200 amp services are installed as a standard and not because the load warrants it. In my case, just a few years ago the easiest way to get more circuits was to increase the service to 200 amps. If I were replacing my service today I would just install a 100 amp 30 circuit panel.
 

Last edited by CasualJoe; 02-17-15 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 02-17-15, 08:24 AM
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Good catch Joe. I didn't see non-US. The poster is from Canada.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 09:05 AM
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Ahh, I didn't catch you were looking from the power company side. My previous answer applies only to the house side of the service (running from the main panel/meter up to the top of the mast). The power company side of the service is basically whatever the power company wants to call it.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 05:44 PM
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Thank you for the information, it is appreciated.

And yes I am in Ontario Canada
 
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