200 amp service upgrade is a process of increasing the capacity of your home’s electrical distribution system. Upgrading electrical service involves installing a new 200 amp distribution panel, meter socket, and electrical wiring.
The cost to upgrade a breaker panel or electric service will vary depending on your location and the work needed, but it typically costs between $1,630 and $4,070. The National average is $2,730. Replacing an electrical meter box costs about $250 to $800 if no rewiring is necessary.
You’ll likely need a licensed electrician to install a meter box, 200 amp main breaker, ground wire, service wire, and panel. The electrical work will need a permit and to be inspected by your local building inspector to obtain a certificate of occupancy to authorize the utility company to turn the electrical service on.
You’ll need to upgrade the wire size for 200 amp service. A #2/0 AWG copper or #4/0 AWG aluminum wire size is sufficient for 200 amps. The 200 amp wire size you need will increase the longer the distance run to account for voltage drop.
What’s the Estimated Cost to Upgrade a Panel
You can use the calculator below to estimate the cost of a residential power upgrade.
What You Should Know Before a Service Panel Replacement
According to a recent NFPA report, Fire departments responded to an estimated average of 46,700 home fires involving electrical failure or malfunction each year in 2015–2019.
Knowing when to upgrade your electrical panel is critical. However, upgrading isn’t a good idea if you don’t understand the process.
With proper care and maintenance, your panel should last many years. Occasionally, you would need to replace a few parts that suffer damage from wear-and-tear effects. Their durability doesn’t mean they can thoroughly meet your home’s needs.
Follow these steps to determine whether your home needs more power.
- Evaluate its electrical needs
- Select the most suitable panel for your home
- Install the panel, circuit breakers, and other systems
- Confirm if all individual circuits are correctly connected
- Test the system thoroughly before documenting everything
Upgrading the amp service and load center requires plenty of work. You’ll need to work with an electrician to obtain permits. The electrician must also coordinate with the utility provider to install the underground service and the meter base.
100 vs 200 Amps
A 100 and 200 amp difference is one of the most important considerations for home electricity. The panel size determines how much power you can use at any given time and affects everything from the size of your panel to the type of appliances you can run. The standard in modern homes today is 200 amps.
However, depending on their size, some condos and apartments will have a 150 amp panel. Most locations say this is enough because the load for smaller dwellings is smaller. The total amp draw shouldn’t exceed 120 amps for this panel based on the NEC 80% safety guideline.
If you have a small house or apartment with only a few major appliances, 100 amps may be enough power for your needs. The smaller breaker box required for 100 amp electrical service will also save you money on installation costs.
Additionally, if you’re in an area with frequent power outages, the increased service will provide more protection against surges than a smaller panel would. Additionally, this won’t allow you to run multiple high-wattage appliances simultaneously without tripping the breakers.
On the other hand, the larger panel would be a better option if you have service for larger appliances, such as electric ovens or air conditioners, requiring more power to run. A larger panel gives you more service flexibility when running multiple high-wattage appliances simultaneously without tripping breakers.
It also provides better protection against power surges than a lower amp rating. However, installing a bigger panel requires a larger cable size and, thus, higher installation costs than a smaller panel.
How to Tell Your Home’s Main Service Amps
Whether you’re remodeling your home or looking at upgrading your electrical service, it’s important to know what kind of residential amp is available. Knowing the amp can help determine what panel you can safely use in your home.
Look at Your Electrical Meter
Your meter box should have a rating on the front. If you have CL200 listed on the front, you have 200 amps coming into your home from the power company. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have 200 amps. You may have less, depending on your electrical panel size.
Check the Rating on the Main Disconnect
Next, check the main breaker amp rating. The main breaker is ofted at the meter box or inside your home’s electric panel. The primary service rating size will be listed on the breaker as 100, 125, 150, or 200.
Some older homes don’t have a main disconnect breaker, which indicates that you may need to update your home’s electrical service.
Examine Your Main Electrical Panel
Before determining the amperage of your home’s electrical service, you must locate the main electrical panel. This is where all the residential circuits are connected, and electricity enters your home from the city grid.
The panel should be easy to find as it is usually located on an outside wall near the front or garage door. Once you have found it, look at the label inside the panel door front; this will tell you how many amps each circuit breaker in the box provides.
Add Up All Circuit Breakers
While this is not an exact rating, you can add the total amps available in your home from the breakers. Add all amps available in each breaker size (don’t forget double-pole breakers!). The sum of these numbers will give you a good idea of how many total amps are available for use in your home.
How to Know You Need a Service Upgrade
You have probably taken note of a new electrical appliance or system that would suit your home perfectly. However, you’re unsure if your electrical system or service can support this or any other addition.
Examples of new appliances that might stress your home’s electrical system include:
- Electric range
- Clothes dryer
- Central air conditioner
- Electric oven
- Electric water heater
- Room air conditioner
- Sump pump
- Hot tub or spa
- EV charging station
You must consider upgrading the panel if you want to install these appliances. Apart from that, you would also need to upgrade if you notice buzzing from the panel. Upgrade if the circuit breakers keep tripping.
Is your residence over 30 years old without 200 amp service? In that case, yomustto upgrade to a 200 amp service as soon as possible. You should also upgrade if you notice frequent yet unexplained lights flickering.
How Much Does a Main Service Upgrade Cost?
The cost of upgrading residential services in the United States depends on numerous factors. The national average price is $2700. For more, see our Electrical Panel Cost Calculator.
Nevertheless, that’s the national average. You might pay more than $4,500 or less than $3,500 in some places. It’s easy to have this piece of information to help you plan well. Type the electrical panel cost calculator on your preferred search engine and provide your zip code.
The circuit breaker box with breakers costs between $800 and $1200. The rest goes into buying the other components and systems needed. The balance is mostly labor for the licensed electrician, permits, and inspections.
Benefits of Upgrading to 200 Amp Service
Is an upgrade from your current service and panel necessary? Does the upgrade present benefits or only lead you to a more despair period? Below is a list ohowys you can benefit from the upgrade.
- Reduced power surges, which allows your electrical appliances to last much longer
- Allows the panel to operate more efficiently, which saves you tons of money
- It makes the home much safer, thus reducing home insurance premiums
- Reduces the number of overloaded circuits, thus reducing electrical fire risks
- Enhances the value of the house, which would attract better prices in case you decide to put the home up for sale
- Improved capacity for powering large electrical appliances simultaneously
- A larger electrical service is capable of accommodating additional circuits without difficulty
- Prepares spaces for future electrical additions and demands
Does Upgrading to a Breaker Panel Increase Your Home’s Value?
Do you plan to sell your home? If that’s the case, you might want to find different ways of enhancing its value. That way, you would have a much better chance of attracting buyers who have no problem paying the high prices you quote.
Houses built 30 or so years ago have old electrical systems and services. Most of them run on a fuse box or 60 amp panel. You would struggle to attract the best prices for a house with such aging systems. A house with a modern electrical panel can fetch more.
How does the property’s value improve? First, the home is now much safer by reducing the fire risk.
You have made the property better, safer, and more efficient than ever. You have also dragged it into the 21st Century by upgrading the panel or the entire electrical system. For your efforts, you can now confidently expect to sell the property for more profits.
200 Amp Panels FAQs
Do I need 200 amp service?
200 amp service is the standard in most homes and sufficient to safely power almost all common appliances and electrical devices. However, you may need more power if you have a larger home with particularly energy-intensive appliances or plan on adding new ones. Smaller homes, like condos, can get by with less power.
Does upgrading to 200 amp service increase home value?
Buyers expect modern electric service when buying a new home. However, upgrading is unlikely to increase your home’s value. Despite this, if you plan to sell your home, the added power may make it more attractive to potential buyers.
What happens when you upgrade to 200 amp?
An electrician will install a new 200 amp breaker box, meter socket, and feeder wire. This process usually takes a few hours to a few days and will require an electrical inspection by a local building code inspector.
Is 150 amps enough for a house?
150 amp service is usually enough for most smaller homes, apartments, and condos. These dwellings generally have smaller appliances that don’t draw as much electricity. These are also often sufficient in homes with natural gas or propane for heating and cooking.
Do I need more than 200 amp service?
Homes over 3000 square feet may need an electrical service larger than 200 amps. Suppose your home has multiple electric tank water heaters, heat pumps, or cooking appliances. You may need to increase your electrical service to handle the energy draw during peak times.
An upgrade from the current system to a 200 amp service is more than advisable. It could distinguish between electrical fires and living in a safe house. The upgrade also boosts your home’s value, thus increasing your chances of earning more if you sell the property.