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Should a 35-year-old house with 100A service be upgraded?

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2013-05-02 22:13:09
2013-05-02 22:13:09

If you don't need it, you don't need to upgrade it. However, most modern homes are built with or retrofitted with 200 Amp main breaker services. Therefore, if you plan to sell, it's a good thing to do. The need for electricity isn't going down. It's going up.

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It depends.

How do you heat your home? How do you make hot water? How do you dry your clothes? How do you cook?

If you use gas to do all of those things, then no, you probably don't NEED to upgrade your service from 100 amps to something larger.

If you're considering adding loads like central air conditioning, or adding a lot of circuits to your house, then you might want to.

If you're going to replace the service anyway, you might want to go for the extra amperage because the cost difference between the 100 amps, and 200 amps often isn't that great.

Right now with the price of copper, and materials, here on Long Island, you're only looking at a difference of about $300 in materials, and the labor isn't much more for a 200 amp service.

Recently, we did two services, similar jobs, but one was 100 amps, and one was 200 amps. The 100 amp service cost $2300, and the 200 amp service went for $2700.

If there's even a possibility that you might need more capacity, it's silly not to go for the 200 amp service if you need to replace the service anyway.

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It depends on the amount of power you use. If you trip circuit breakers a lot, the service needs to be upgraded. Also, sometimes the wiring in the walls deteriorates. An electrician can tell you if the service is adequate or not. Odds are, if the home has a gas stove, gas water heater, gas furnace, and gas clothes dryer, 100 amps is perfectly adequate, although some new circuits may need to be added to help spread the load around. When you make any of the above items electric, that's when you start eating up your power reserve. Also you may not have enough outlets available. This is especially true in kitchens with heavy draw items like toasters, coffee makers, and other heating appliances. Or in the living room, if you're into home theatre.

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You are real power hungry. In this country you are lucky indeed if you can get a 40A supply for home use! Our office have 45A supply and my home 35A, and I cannot even afford that!

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The simple logical answer is YES. The average life expectancy of your electrical equipment is about 30 to 40 years. So it may be time to replace your equipment! When you do this, upgrading your house wiring for future use is a good idea. I see the trend of using more electricity - and not less - to be a safe bet.

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In the UK you get a 60 amp or a 100 amp supply, at 240 v. I think mine is 60 amps and off that I have a 10-amp lighting circuit, a 30-amp ring main and a 30-amp cooker circuit. But most of the time the load is much less than that because my air-to-air heat pump for space heating uses only 3-4 amps most of the time even in cold weather.

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Look on the handle end of the main breaker. There should be a number there. That is the amperage of the main breaker. That is the size of your house service.

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