Replacing the panel of my house, possibly rewiring the house

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swimmer_spe

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I plan on upgrading my panel from a 100A service to a 200A service for my garage to have power. However, I am annoyed that there is so much on each breaker. Several rooms are on one breaker. Although I doubt there is a risk of overload, as the only time a breaker tripped is due to me plugging in too many high wattage electric space heaters in one outlet. The basement is completely open, so running new wires would be easier.

The house is from 1973. The wires are all copper. Some are fabric wrapped.

So, if this house was yours, would you try to fix the issue or leave it? I am planning on moving in the next 5 years.
 

afjes_2016

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Since you have plans on selling the house within the next five years and you do not have a clear threat of electrical dangers etc upgrading to 200amps may not be the best thing to do right now as you may not recoup the costs involved by the time you sell your house.

Most home buyer inspectors will look for dangers of the electrical system - such that may cause an issue for the new home buyer. What the inspector finds is then given to the new home buyer and then that sometimes is used for negotiations between the seller and the buyer with the buyer attempting to get the price of the house reduced etc.

If your electrical system is safe and it is at least 100amps which you state it is and there is no knob and tube that you can confirm (which would more than likely not be since the age of your house) then I would not spend the money for an upgrade such as 100 to 200amps.

Space heaters pose a safety risk no matter what number of things you have plugged into the same circuit as the space heater. Unfortunately also when they do over heat they normally overheat the receptacle which burns out and rarely does the breaker even trip.

What you may want to do is run a sub panel from your main panel out to your garage. If it is attached you can run several circuits without a sub panel if it is detached you can only run one circuit so best to run to a sub panel in that case.

If you have multiple space heaters running at one time then I would consider a different source of heat to supplement your main heating system, that may be a better investment for a potential home buyer to see.

If you are limited on breaker positions on your present panel you can add a sub panel to the main panel and place it right next to the main panel to add more circuits.

But to upgrade your 100amp panel to 200amps will require more money. You will need to upgrade your service entrance conductors, possibly your meter can, your panel and depending on the codes in your area you may have to install AFCI breakers in the new panel which do cost far more than regular breakers.

What I would do is a load calculation of your present electrical demands and see if it really warrants an upgrade to 200amp at the cost of what it would be to do. Then you have to determine if the cost will give you far more than what you really do need as a single family house. There are load demand calculations on the Internet and you can use them to see if an upgrade will really benefit you at all - especially since you will be selling your home within five years.

Again, if you keep it at 100amps you can still install dedicated circuits to some of the rooms so you can use something like a large window AC if need be or if you have the room in the panel or if you put in a sub panel you may want to instead of using plug in space heaters use a hardwired in wall heater that is dedicated. The in wall heaters are far safer than the plug in heaters and can run without you needing to monitor them.

Just thoughts. But again, unless you have serious electrical issues with your present system and it can handle the loads you thow at it then i would not recommend an upgrade.

Hope this helps.
 

swimmer_spe

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Since you have plans on selling the house within the next five years and you do not have a clear threat of electrical dangers etc upgrading to 200amps may not be the best thing to do right now as you may not recoup the costs involved by the time you sell your house.

Most home buyer inspectors will look for dangers of the electrical system - such that may cause an issue for the new home buyer. What the inspector finds is then given to the new home buyer and then that sometimes is used for negotiations between the seller and the buyer with the buyer attempting to get the price of the house reduced etc.

If your electrical system is safe and it is at least 100amps which you state it is and there is no knob and tube that you can confirm (which would more than likely not be since the age of your house) then I would not spend the money for an upgrade such as 100 to 200amps.

Space heaters pose a safety risk no matter what number of things you have plugged into the same circuit as the space heater. Unfortunately also when they do over heat they normally overheat the receptacle which burns out and rarely does the breaker even trip.

What you may want to do is run a sub panel from your main panel out to your garage. If it is attached you can run several circuits without a sub panel if it is detached you can only run one circuit so best to run to a sub panel in that case.

If you have multiple space heaters running at one time then I would consider a different source of heat to supplement your main heating system, that may be a better investment for a potential home buyer to see.

If you are limited on breaker positions on your present panel you can add a sub panel to the main panel and place it right next to the main panel to add more circuits.

But to upgrade your 100amp panel to 200amps will require more money. You will need to upgrade your service entrance conductors, possibly your meter can, your panel and depending on the codes in your area you may have to install AFCI breakers in the new panel which do cost far more than regular breakers.

What I would do is a load calculation of your present electrical demands and see if it really warrants an upgrade to 200amp at the cost of what it would be to do. Then you have to determine if the cost will give you far more than what you really do need as a single family house. There are load demand calculations on the Internet and you can use them to see if an upgrade will really benefit you at all - especially since you will be selling your home within five years.

Again, if you keep it at 100amps you can still install dedicated circuits to some of the rooms so you can use something like a large window AC if need be or if you have the room in the panel or if you put in a sub panel you may want to instead of using plug in space heaters use a hardwired in wall heater that is dedicated. The in wall heaters are far safer than the plug in heaters and can run without you needing to monitor them.

Just thoughts. But again, unless you have serious electrical issues with your present system and it can handle the loads you thow at it then i would not recommend an upgrade.

Hope this helps.
https://www.geninterlock.com/product/factory-model-square-d-generator-interlock-kit-qo-100-amp-panels-transfer-switch-older-style/

This is similar to my panel. The issue is, I only have open breaker spot.
 

Jeff Handy

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Sometimes the conductors from the pole or transformer are already sized for 200 amps.
It was done as future-proofing in some areas, you could ask your utility about it.
 

swimmer_spe

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Sometimes the conductors from the pole or transformer are already sized for 200 amps.
It was done as future-proofing in some areas, you could ask your utility about it.
Already have. It'll cost me about $300 for them to upgrade the line.
 

Jeff Handy

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Yes, new lines from the pole and a new meter all for $300.00 is a great price.
 

afjes_2016

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If your concern now is to gain more breaker spaces so you can split up some of your existing circuits you can add a sub panel to the existing main panel. Yes, upgrading your system from 100 to 200 will give you far more capacity I am just trying to say that depending on your present electrical needs (as in large appliances etc) it may not be necessary to upgrade for that cost of what it would be overall.

Installing a sub panel will give you the ability to add more circuits so you can split up some of the other ones that are existing.

Do most of your major appliances like stove/range, water heater, clothes dryer etc run on electric?

It just may not be worth the extra cost of an upgrade at this point if you just want to split up some of your circuits. Again, a load calculation would be good for you to do. This will give you a better idea if an upgrade is really needed for safety - not just convenience since you are moving in 5 years.

What major appliances in your home at this time use electric and what are their voltage requirements (120 or 240v)?
 

swimmer_spe

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If your concern now is to gain more breaker spaces so you can split up some of your existing circuits you can add a sub panel to the existing main panel. Yes, upgrading your system from 100 to 200 will give you far more capacity I am just trying to say that depending on your present electrical needs (as in large appliances etc) it may not be necessary to upgrade for that cost of what it would be overall.

Installing a sub panel will give you the ability to add more circuits so you can split up some of the other ones that are existing.

Do most of your major appliances like stove/range, water heater, clothes dryer etc run on electric?

It just may not be worth the extra cost of an upgrade at this point if you just want to split up some of your circuits. Again, a load calculation would be good for you to do. This will give you a better idea if an upgrade is really needed for safety - not just convenience since you are moving in 5 years.

What major appliances in your home at this time use electric and what are their voltage requirements (120 or 240v)?
Stove, A/C and dryer are all 240v.

I would rather upgrade instead of adding as in a garage, you might want high amperage things running like a welder or other power tools.
 

afjes_2016

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That's fine.

However, my thought pattern would be that if the electrical system is safe and provides the proper power for what the house has now and the fact that you plan on selling in 5 years I would take that money and put it into something with more of a ROI on the sale of your house. Such as updating your kitchen, kitchen appliances, bathroom/s etc.
 

swimmer_spe

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That's fine.

However, my thought pattern would be that if the electrical system is safe and provides the proper power for what the house has now and the fact that you plan on selling in 5 years I would take that money and put it into something with more of a ROI on the sale of your house. Such as updating your kitchen, kitchen appliances, bathroom/s etc.
Would you buy a house with a detached garage that does not have power?
 

Jeff Handy

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You can install a sub-panel, to split off some circuits to avoid overloading, and run one 20 amp circuit to the garage.

Pretty easy to dig the trench and wire that garage.
You can use UF cable, or install buried conduit, which would help next guy upgrade the garage power someday.

Or hire all that out for $2000.00 to $3000.00 rough estimate, including sub panel.
Depends on how tough and extensive the digging is.
 

swimmer_spe

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You can install a sub-panel, to split off some circuits to avoid overloading, and run one 20 amp circuit to the garage.

Pretty easy to dig the trench and wire that garage.
You can use UF cable, or install buried conduit, which would help next guy upgrade the garage power someday.

Or hire all that out for $2000.00 to $3000.00 rough estimate, including sub panel.
Depends on how tough and extensive the digging is.
So, enough for some lights and a few outlets? That might be a good option.
 

swimmer_spe

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So, a question about my current panel. Am I right that as long as the total amps do not add up to more than the main breaker, I can add a sub panel?
 

bud16415

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So, a question about my current panel. Am I right that as long as the total amps do not add up to more than the main breaker, I can add a sub panel?
The total load is what has to be less than the main breaker. Adding up all the breakers will be higher than the main breaker just as adding up all the outlets will be higher than any one breaker.


The problem happens when the likelihood of things happening at the same time exceed the load limiting device.


There are codes for keeping it within reasonable limits and maybe one of the pros will explain how that should be setup and counted.
 

Jeff Handy

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I would add a 60 amp sub panel.

You have to put a 60 amp double breaker in the main panel to feed the sub panel.
So you will probably have to lose a few breakers to make room for that.

But those can be moved to the sub panel.

I have not done a sub panel for a while, but I think I would use one like this.

100 Amp 10-Space 20-Circuit Main Breaker Load Center Renovation Value-Pack

https://www.homedepot.com/p/100125954

I don’t think you need a main disconnect breaker right in the sub-panel, if the sub panel sits right near the main panel.

It will have more than 60 amps of breakers in it, but it is being fed by 60 amps of 240 volts, not 120 volts.
And not everything will be running at the same time.

You could put maybe four 15 amp and one 20 amp circuit in there for the house, and one or two 20 amp circuits for the garage.

The garage really needs just one circuit, to power a gfci outlet on each wall, one center ceiling outlet for an opener, and some lights.
Maybe another gfci outlet outside.

If you are going to run power tools, run two 20 amps circuits out there.

Pros on here could advise better, or you will get advice if you get estimates for this project.

I did a job just like this a while back, a client had three daughters just entering the hair dryer years, plus his wife kept blowing the breaker in her master bath.

I put in a sub panel and ran new circuits to the bathrooms, and one near her dressing table, then also ran extra wires up into the attic for future needs.
 
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Jeff Handy

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Because your house seems to be all electric, you will have to stagger your usage.

So you are not going to want to do laundry, while cooking a turkey, while using tools in the garage, all on a hot summer day with the a/c running.

If you have natural gas available, I would bring that in, or extend the lines as needed, that would relieve a huge burden on your electric.
And would help sell the house.

Get a gas oven/range and dryer.
 

swimmer_spe

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I would add a 60 amp sub panel.

You have to put a 60 amp double breaker in the main panel to feed the sub panel.
So you will probably have to lose a few breakers to make room for that.

But those can be moved to the sub panel.

I have not done a sub panel for a while, but I think I would use one like this.

100 Amp 10-Space 20-Circuit Main Breaker Load Center Renovation Value-Pack

https://www.homedepot.com/p/100125954

I don’t think you need a main disconnect breaker right in the sub-panel, if the sub panel sits right near the main panel.

It will have more than 60 amps of breakers in it, but it is being fed by 60 amps of 240 volts, not 120 volts.
And not everything will be running at the same time.

You could put maybe four 15 amp and one 20 amp circuit in there for the house, and one or two 20 amp circuits for the garage.

The garage really needs just one circuit, to power a gfci outlet on each wall, one center ceiling outlet for an opener, and some lights.
Maybe another gfci outlet outside.

If you are going to run power tools, run two 20 amps circuits out there.

Pros on here could advise better, or you will get advice if you get estimates for this project.

I did a job just like this a while back, a client had three daughters just entering the hair dryer years, plus his wife kept blowing the breaker in her master bath.

I put in a sub panel and ran new circuits to the bathrooms, and one near her dressing table, then also ran extra wires up into the attic for future needs.
I am selling this house within the next 5 years.
Here is my minimum wants in the garage:
1) 1 30A service to connect a camping trailer to.
2) garage door opener
3) lights and 120v wall plugs under 15A
4) At least 1 high amp 120v plug for compressor, welder, etc.

Because your house seems to be all electric, you will have to stagger your usage.

So you are not going to want to do laundry, while cooking a turkey, while using tools in the garage, all on a hot summer day with the a/c running.

If you have natural gas available, I would bring that in, or extend the lines as needed, that would relieve a huge burden on your electric.
And would help sell the house.

Get a gas oven/range and dryer.
I have natural gas available. Due to the cost of new appliances, I would rather put the money in a 200A panel than that, as the cost difference is negligible, and more power in the garage would be a much bigger selling point.
 

Jeff Handy

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In post # 14, you had said enough for some lights and a few outlets might be a good option.

I guess you changed your mind.

I would extend the gas lines and install a gas range and dryer, and do the sub panel to get basic power to the garage, and split off some overcrowded circuits.

You should contact a few good real estate agents and ask their opinion on all the options here.

Meanwhile, it’s your house, do your own thing.
 
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