Upgrade Service or not? Cost difference?

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Old 03-01-15, 05:06 PM
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Upgrade Service or not? Cost difference?

Howdy,
I'm in WI and currently have 100 amp service to my house. Per the electrical company, my meter and outside cabling will support up to 200 amps without needing to have anything replaced.

My current panel layout is a 20 breaker panel and an 8 breaker sub panel. Since 2 of the breaker spots from the main panel feed the sub panel, this basically gives me 26 usable spots.

We are adding some new things to our house and don't have any more room for expansion so I have two options.

1) Purchase a larger breaker box that is still 100 amps. I can get a 32 slot, 100 amp panel for about $100. We would then basically swap both of the existing panels for the one larger one and still end up with 6 additional beaker spots that we have now. I should be able to reuse all my existing breakers since I'd get the same brand and everything as I have now.

To do this we have to cut the power to the house so I could also do:

2) Purchase a larger breaker box that is 200 amps (or 150 or whatever). The 30-32 slot 200 amp panels will run me about $150. However, I don't know if there is additional work, parts, etc that would be required if we upgraded. It would again be the same brand of box so I'm assuming I could reuse my existing breakers to cut down on the cost.

A friend of mine is an electrician and he thinks we'll be fine just putting in a bigger box but keeping it at 100 amps. However, if the only cost difference is the $50 to get the higher power panel, then I think I'd be dumb not to.

Any thoughts or suggestions? What else would be involved with upgrading the service other than the more expensive breaker panel?

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-01-15, 05:19 PM
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The larger service is going to require a new cable from the weather head down to the meter and from the meter to the panel. You will also need to upgrade the grounding.

The best idea is to perform a demand load calculation to see if a larger service is needed or just breaker space.

Another sub could be added if needed.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-01-15 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 03-01-15, 05:23 PM
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IF you don't need more power but just additional CB space, it might make more sense to just upgrade the sub-panel.
 
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Old 03-01-15, 06:26 PM
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If you upgrade to a 200 amp,it would seem that cable from the meter in would have to be changed,did the POCO take that into consideration? Have your friend check the cable size,ground size would increase. Doing a load calc. and see where you stand.
My vote would be a 200 amp,clean everything up and get rid of the subpanel.
Geo
 
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Old 03-01-15, 07:30 PM
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Per the electrical company, my meter and outside cabling will support up to 200 amps without needing to have anything replaced.
I agree with PCboss, you would need to upgrade the service entrance wiring and probably meter socket too if you want a 200 amp service. I suspect the power company meant that their wires and their meter would handle a 200 amp service. The service entrance wiring and meter socket is your responsibility.

I also agree with Furd and your electrician friend, you probably don't need a 200 amp service.
 
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Old 03-01-15, 08:10 PM
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My wife wants to get a Kiln for Glass Fusing which is one thing we need to add space for. Other than that we have a standard list of appliances and things including 2 freezers and 2 fridges. electric washer, drier, and double range.

Is there a guide on doing an assessment of our house to see if we have anything that would want us to look into the upgrade or not?

Thanks.
 
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