200 Amp Service Upgrade: Cost & Installation Guide

200 amp service upgrade

200 amp service upgrade is a process of increasing the capacity of your home’s electrical distribution system. It is usually accomplished by installing a new 200 amp distribution panel, meter socket, and electrical wiring. The cost and installation of a 200 amp service upgrade will vary depending on your location and the work needed, but it typically costs between $1,500 and $3,000.

A licensed electrician will need a 200 amp service upgrade permit. You’ll likely need to disconnect the power to replace the meter base and install the 200 amp service wire, main disconnect, and 200 amp electrical service panel. The electrical work will need 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.

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.

It’s also important to know when to upgrade your electrical service. You would be doing yourself a massive disservice by proceeding with the upgrade if you either have no idea what it involves. This article examines everything you should know to give you a better chance of doing it right!

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What You Should Know Before Upgrading to 200 Amp Service

With proper care and maintenance, your service panels should last 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 is suitable for an upgrade. 

  1. Evaluate its electrical needs
  2. Select the most suitable panel for your home
  3. Install the panel, circuit breakers, and other systems
  4. Confirm if all individual circuits are correctly connected
  5. Test the system thoroughly before documenting everything

Upgrading to a 200-amp system or service 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. 

200 amp main disconnect

How to Know if Your System is Ready for a 200 Amp Service Upgrade

You have probably taken note of a new electrical appliance or system that you feel 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: 

You must consider upgrading to a 200 amp service if you want to install these appliances. Apart from that, you would also need to upgrade if you notice hissing from the current system. Upgrade if the circuit breakers keep tripping. 

Are you also living in a house over 30 years old? In that case, you need to 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 200 Amp Service Upgrade Cost?

The cost to upgrade to 200 amp service in the United States depends on numerous factors. The national average cost is between $3,500 and $4,500.

Nevertheless, that’s the national average. In some places, you might pay more than $4,500 or less than $3,500. 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 200 amp panel box with breakers costs between $800 and $1200. The rest of the money goes into buying the other components and systems needed. The balance is mostly labor for the licensed electrician, permits, and inspections. 

200 amp service upgrade

Benefits of Upgrading to 200-amp Service

Is an upgrade from your current service to the 200-amp system necessary? Does the upgrade present benefits or only lead you to a more despair period? Below is a list of the many ways that you stand to benefit from the upgrade. 

  1. Reduced power surges, which allows your electrical appliances to last much longer
  2. Allows the panel to operate more efficiently, which saves you tons of money 
  3. It makes the home much safer, thus reducing home insurance premiums
  4. Reduces the number of overloaded circuits, thus reducing electrical fire risks
  5. Enhances the value of the home, which would attract better prices in case you decide to put the house up for sale
  6. Improved capacity for powering large electrical appliances simultaneously
  7. A larger electrical service is capable of accommodating additional circuits without difficulty 
  8. Prepares room for future electrical additions and demands

Does a 200 Amp Service Upgrade Increase the Value of Your Home?

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 60 amp services. You would struggle to attract the best prices for a house with such aging systems. A house with a modern 200 amp system fetches more. 

How does the property’s value improve? First, the home is now much safer. There’s little to no chance of fires breaking out and causing unimaginable damage to the property and its assets. 

Essentially, you have made the property better, safer, and more efficient than ever. You have also dragged it into the 21st Century by upgrading the electrical system. For your efforts, you can now confidently expect to sell the property for more profits. 

Do You Need an Electrician?

Get FREE quotes from licensed electricians in your area today. Whether you need an outlet or ceiling fan installed or a new electrical panel or wiring, We Can Help! All electricians are screened, licensed, and insured.

Get a FREE Quote Today
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200 Amp Service Upgrade FAQs

What size wire do I need for 200 amp service?

Generally, a #2/0 AWG copper wire or #4/0 AWG aluminum or copper-clad wire is sufficient for 200 amp electrical service. The 200 amp wire size you need will increase the longer the distance run to account for voltage drop.

Do I need 200 amp service?

200-amp service is the standard in most homes and sufficient to power almost all common appliances and electrical devices safely. However, if you have a larger home with particularly energy-intensive appliances or if you plan on adding new ones in the future, you may need more than 200-amp service. Smaller homes, like condos, can get by with less than 200 amps.

Does upgrading to 200 amp service increase home value?

200-amp service is the standard in most homes and is usually a requirement for new construction. As such, upgrading to 200 amp service is not likely to increase your home’s value by much, if at all. However, if you plan to sell your home in the future, the 200 amp service may make it more attractive to potential buyers.

What happens when you upgrade to 200 amp?

When upgrading to 200 amp service, an electrician will install a new 200 amp breaker box, meter socket, and feeder wiring. 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 usually have smaller appliances they don’t draw as much electricity. 150 amps are often sufficient in homes with natural gas or propane for heating and cooking.

Do I need more than 200 amp service?

Homes larger than 3000 square feet may need an electrical service larger than 200 amps. Suppose your home has multiple electric tank water heaters, heat pumps, or multiple cooking appliances. In that case, you may need to increase your electrical service to handle the energy draw during peak times.

Conclusion

An upgrade from the current system to a 200 amp service is more than advisable. It could spell the difference 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 opt to sell the property. 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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