Upgrade to 200 amp panel with 100 amp service

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by aNYCdb, Oct 31, 2016.

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  1. Oct 31, 2016 #1

    aNYCdb

    aNYCdb

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    I recently purchased a vacation home that was foreclosed on and hasn't had power for a couple of years (meter has been removed by electric company). The panel in the house is a 20 space 100 amp that is rusted with breakers that are stuck. Before the power company comes to reinstall the meter (and power) I wanted to replace the panel and I was wondering if it is possible or even recommended to step up to a 40 space 200 amp panel. At this point I am not planning to upgrade the service (current wire to the house appears to be #3), but I may want to do so in the future.

    What can/should I do to future proof myself and is there downside (or special things I would need to do) because it would only be a 100amp service?

    Also on a related note would it also be a good idea to add a disconnect at this time?
     
  2. Oct 31, 2016 #2

    afjes_2016

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    About how many square feet is this home?

    Name the major appliances in the home that will be electric; range, hot water etc if they are.

    Normally a load calculation is performed to determine if an upgrade is needed compared to wanted. But in easy terms if you tell us what major appliances there are we can basically let you know what you may need instead of want at an extra cost that you may not need to spend.

    As far as breaker spaces. Panels can be purchased with notation such as 20/40. These indicate that it has 20 spaces but you can use tandems which would be a total of 40 circuits if it was filled with tandem breakers. Depending on your major appliances that run on 240 or 120/240 and the planned number of future circuits we can give you some guidance as to whether you need an upgrade. Keep in mind that any circuit whether 120/240v or 240v will require at least two full breaker spaces. Only 120v circuits may be placed on tandem breakers. This way you get two circuits on each breaker space. You are not sharing the amps but have actually two separate circuits.

    If you are going to upgrade to 200amp service everything must be upgraded that includes the service entrance that is connected to the utility company tri-plex line (line from pole or transformer) to the connection at the house to the meter, the meter box possibly, the service entrance cable from the meter box to the panel and of course the panel. For 200amp service you would need 4/0 aluminum SE.

    Adding a disconnect would be a good idea. However not required unless the SE comes into the house far away from the panel. Then you would want a disconnect where the SE cable first enters the house, then from there a matching size SER cable. The disconnect would be set up as your main panel then from the disconnect to the next panel would be where your breakers are would then be considered the sub panel where the neutrals and grounds are separated. You would run an SER (S.ervice E.ntrance R.ound) from the disconnect to the sub panel (breaker panel). This SER would have two hots, a neutral and a ground. This way if you want to do any work in the breaker panel in the future you can shut off ALL power to the breaker panel from the disconnect. Then even the main conductors leading into the main breaker in the sub panel will not have power. This always makes it easier to work with.

    Be sure though that if you will upgrade you find out from the utility company if their existing line to your house is capable of 200amp (more than likely it is).
     
  3. Oct 31, 2016 #3

    KULTULZ

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    :thumbup:

    You are one smart guy.

    Let me ask you a question if I may. Can he put the 200A panel in and use a 100A main if the extra service is not needed for now but make upgrade easier in the future?
     
  4. Oct 31, 2016 #4

    afjes_2016

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    He can put in a 200amp main breaker in the sub panel (most panels have mains in them, but not all when purchased; contractor pack) and then use a 100amp main breaker in the disconnect. This way it will limit only 100amp being drawn from the tri-plex line. Keep in mind the 100amp will limit the amperage pull on the existing service entrance to 100amp because the existing SE cable may only be rated at 200amp; this is why I say that. But honestly, most times it is just better to upgrade the entire package at one time. If he is going to go thru the expense of putting in the SER from the main to the sub he would want to be sure it is rated for 200amp or he would have to change it out again when he upgrades the other portions. But if he did use an SER rated for only 200amp from the disconnect to the sub 200amp panel prior to entire upgrade the main 100 amp breaker in the disconnect may not accept the heavier gauge (fatter) conductor.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  5. Oct 31, 2016 #5

    KULTULZ

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    THANX!

    I am on an extreme learning curve and your reasoning makes perfect sense to me...
     
  6. Oct 31, 2016 #6

    afjes_2016

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    Glad I could help. :)
     
  7. Oct 31, 2016 #7

    Kabris

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    I believe there are 30 space 100 AMP panels on the market.
     
  8. Oct 31, 2016 #8

    aNYCdb

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    About 1200 sq/ft

    Range, Dishwasher, Washer/Dryer, Resistance Electric Heating (as a backup). In the future potentially a 24000 BTU Mini-split and tankless point hot water heaters (plus whatever new power draining technology someone comes up with).

    At this stage I'm sure its more of a want than a need.

    That's exactly the logic I was thinking about WRT the disconnect giving me the ability to more safely work on the panel in the future.

    It looks like #3 cable to me and I suspect it isn't up to the job of delivering 200 amp, but there isn't much I can do about that now.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "may accept the heavier gauge." Do you mean that it may be physically too big (I'm assuming this is 3/0 size)?

    Also attached is a picture of the current panel which is in pretty poor shape.

    4388394919255469392-account_id=1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
  9. Oct 31, 2016 #9

    afjes_2016

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    Yes, there are many configurations available on the market. But first we need to hear from the OP as to what appliances are in the home etc. before suggesting what he should install.
     
  10. Oct 31, 2016 #10

    afjes_2016

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    On my way out to work now and will answer or comment more later on your recent post today. Meantime, one thing you need to do is determine what caused the major rusting in the panel. Leaky pipe? Whatever or you will be back to square one again.

    As far as the condition of the panel. At least it is not a Federal Pacific :down:; so be a little bit happy.
     
  11. Oct 31, 2016 #11

    joecaption

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    Looks like it was installed in a basement with a dirt floor and a humidity issue.
    I'd also be looking outside at the weatherhead and making sure it had a drip loop.
    And making sure the seal around the mast has not failed.
     
  12. Oct 31, 2016 #12

    aNYCdb

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    I believe the rusting wasn't from direct water, but the fact that the basement was flooded for more than a year (sump pumps don't run once they pulled the meter).
     
  13. Oct 31, 2016 #13

    nealtw

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    I would bite the bullet and bring it up to date.
     
  14. Oct 31, 2016 #14

    slownsteady

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    Sounds like too general an answer. What is "up to date"?
    200 amp service sounds good and this would be the right time to do it. But is the cost prohibitive?
     
  15. Oct 31, 2016 #15

    nealtw

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    If it is in the future anyway, nothing gets cheaper. It's not what the home has now, what might it have after it is fixed up and then add a little more, because we will all need that widget that will be new on the market any day now.:welcome:
     
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  16. Nov 1, 2016 #16

    afjes_2016

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    Through my experience homes of that square footage and the normal appliances like dryer, stove, oven, hot water heater etc that run on electric I would determine that 100amp service would suffice if the question was originally, "I presently have 100amp service and all equipment is in good condition; thinking about upgrading to 200amps-should I?"; however since all electrical equipment if far from even fair condition and the thought of all the extra power consuming devices/appliances that you already have plus what you are planning to have (even possibly) in the future it is my opinion that upgrading the entire service to 200amp is beneficial in this case and wise.

    If the upgrade is within your budget I would do it all at the same time. Upgrade your service entrance cable from the tri-plex to the meter pan, be sure the new meter pan is rated at least to 200amp, replace the service entrance to the disconnect (main panel; which I would highly suggest you install; as mainly a safety and convenience factor). Install a SER cable from the main disconnect to the new panel (sub panel) and bang; you have a great new service that should last you a long time to come and you won't have to look at it again and say :help: then you can add any power consuming devices you want without thought (well almost not thought) in the future. The most important thing is securing that electric service so it is safe and functions efficiently.

    The cost of a 200amp panel compared to a 100amp panel is not drastic. Most meter pans today are only rated at least 200amp so that won't matter, the extra cost of a disconnect is worth the money for convenience and safety. Explore your options with the sub panel (breaker panel). Remember that every load that is either 120/240 or 240 will require at least two full breaker spaces. All 120v circuits whether 15 or 20amp can be on tandems. I would also suggest that since the house sat for years in all kinds of weather that you also think about changing out all receptacles to new ones. That is probably something you can do as you have time. This will serve several purposes; one it will allow you to know what is in the boxes in the way of connections, back stabs should be now pig tailed jumpers. When putting in the new receptacles since this is your home and you are not paying yourself labor charges I would wire the receptacles in parralell instead of the standard series. Meaning the cable coming in and going out get wired nutted together (respectively by hot, neutral, ground etc), then with a jumper in the wire nut going to the receptacle under the screw. This way if that or any receptacle should fail in the future you will still have continuity past that receptacle to all devices down-line. When replacing any light switches etc I would take pictures first before removing the conductors for future reference in case you have difficulty hooking up the new switch.

    An after thought; be careful determining the number of breaker spaces you will need. Since this will be a total upgrade or even a new panel many municipalities (and of course highly suggested) is that you have a permit and a final inspection. Depending on the AHJ (A.uthority H.aving J.urisdiction) meaning your town etc they may require since this is a complete new install that all circuits leading to bedrooms etc have AFCI protection at the panel. Depending on what code cycle they are working on it may require AFCIs in almost every room. If this is the case keep in mind that AFCI breakers take up an entire slot; there are not to my knowledge yet AFCI tandem breakers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  17. Nov 1, 2016 #17

    aNYCdb

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    I appreciated the feedback. I think I'm going to go ahead and have a professional upgrade everything to support a 200 amp service. The only question I have left is what if the current wire from the pole can't support 200 amp?

    BTW if anyone has a electrician recommendation in Greene County NY please feel free to message me.
     
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  18. Nov 1, 2016 #18

    afjes_2016

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    Glad to hear you will go with the complete upgrade :thbup: at one time. I really believe that in your case it is the wisest choice :agree:.

    You need to call the utility company and ask them. More than likely it will support the 200amp service. If not they will tell you what the needs are and who is responsible for what costs. It is quite possible the electrician may be able to tell you. Usually the cost from the pole to the house is on the utility company unless you have chosen to do an under ground lateral (service from the pole transformer or pad transformer by the street).
     
  19. Nov 1, 2016 #19

    nealtw

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    I think the question was the cable from the meter up to the roof, he will need them to disconnect at the pole for that.
     
  20. Nov 1, 2016 #20

    Snoonyb

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    Everything after the weatherhead, in this case, is the property owners responsibility, everything before is the utilities, when the service is overhead.

    Unless the service mast needs to changed, the disconnect is at the weatherhead connection.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016

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