Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-20-2010, 12:09 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Share |
Default

200 AMP upgrade


About 20 years ago, my wife and I had a 'friend of a friend' replace our old fuse box with a new service panel. A few years later I learned that the work should have been permitted. Well, it was a bit late for that. I was confident that he did an excellent job so I just never worried about it. Now, many years later, I want to install a tankless water heater that says we need 200 amp service. Inside our service panel door says it is 200 amp but I'm thinking that it is not 'really' 200 amp service to our house, just a 200 amp panel. (?) I know that I need to pull a permit and have it inspected and all that but I'm wondering just what needs to be done to make things 200 amp? (older home...built in 1945) I'd like to be informed before I have an electrician take a look and tell me things that I have no idea whether he (or she) is just yanking my chain to make more money.

patnancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 12:23 PM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Central Indiana (USA)
Posts: 1,316
Default

200 AMP upgrade


From what I'm learning, it seems that you will have to update the meter base to 200amps, and the outside wires from the meterbase all the way up to the weatherhead above the house. I think this needs to be 12" from the ground, and needs to be ran in conduit if it isn't already.

You will need either 3/0 Copper or 4/0 Aluminum wire for this (aluminum is cheaper), and I don't know if you can get this in cable, or if you have to buy the individual THWN wires.

You will also need to contact the Power Company to make sure that their wires are 200 amp capable.

Please standby for the experts, as I'm just learning also.

sirsparksalot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 12:24 PM   #3
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Central Indiana (USA)
Posts: 1,316
Default

200 AMP upgrade


PS) the wires coming from the meter into the breaker panel also need to be 3/0 Copper or 4/0 AL.
sirsparksalot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 12:29 PM   #4
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 19
Default

200 AMP upgrade


If the Panel is labeled 200A, then u have a 200A service. The only thing to worry about is that your main wires that are connected from panel to the meter base are rated for 200A. IF they are not rated for 200A then it is very important to get this fix ASAP. Can you see the size of the wire on the jacket of the main wires? Also is the main wire Copper or Aluminum?

If main wires are not rated for 200A,not only will you have to upgrade them But you will have also have to upsize your service mast as well.


**FYE**
**FYE** is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 12:30 PM   #5
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,503
Default

200 AMP upgrade


Quote:
Originally Posted by sirsparksalot View Post
From what I'm learning, it seems that you will have to update the meter base to 200amps, and the outside wires from the meterbase all the way up to the weatherhead above the house. I think this needs to be 12" from the ground, and needs to be ran in conduit if it isn't already.

You will need either 3/0 Copper or 4/0 Aluminum wire for this (aluminum is cheaper), and I don't know if you can get this in cable, or if you have to buy the individual THWN wires.

You will also need to contact the Power Company to make sure that their wires are 200 amp capable.

Please standby for the experts, as I'm just learning also.
This sums things up fairly well.

There is a type of cable called SE-U that can be used. Conduit would only be required for protection or local requirements.

You should really have a demand load calculation performed to see what your actual power needs will be. You will definitely need to involve the power company and let them know about the proposed increase.
__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 12:41 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Default

200 AMP upgrade


Thank you everyone. I appreciate the replies. I take it that were I to try to install the tankless water heater without having the outside wires replaced, they would get too hot trying to pull enough juice to run everything? Anyway, I will feel a little more informed when I talk to the electrician.

Thanks again!
patnancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,731
Default

200 AMP upgrade


I would suggest that you go with a gas tankless and forget the electric tankless.

If the panel is rated at 200 amps, does it have a main beaker?
__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 10:14 PM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Default

200 AMP upgrade


Too late on the gas. I purchased electric because they're less expensive (both to buy and to install) and the reviews I read on this particular model were very good.
Our service panel does have a 200 amp breaker. But I'm pretty sure that the guy that installed it didn't do any work outside the house. I'm not positive about that. It was a long time ago and I have no idea how to get in touch with this person.
patnancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 10:19 PM   #9
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,731
Default

200 AMP upgrade


You should contact an electrician to check the sevice and make sure it is rated for 200 amps.
I have seen many panels changed from 100 amps to 200 amps without the service wires being changed.
__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2010, 10:40 PM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Default

200 AMP upgrade


I am going to do that. I just wanted to get as much information as I could so I would have some idea what to expect. For outside wires to be rated for 200 amp, does that just mean that they would be bigger? If they are rated, say, for 100 amp does that mean they would heat up under too heavy a load or what? I'm pretty sure that our home is currently (no pun intended) not pulling a heavy load. We have gas heat. It is a small-ish home (1800 sq ft with the basement) and it is just me and the wife.

Thanks for your input.
patnancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2010, 12:30 AM   #11
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 19
Default

200 AMP upgrade


Bigger amps means bigger (thicker) wires to be used. Wires (conductors) have limits on how much amps it can safely carry. If the amps over exceed the carry capacity of a wire, then the wire itself will heat up fairly quickly and catch fire.

For Example a 14-2 wire is rated for 15amp circuit, if you hook that 15 amp wire up to a 20Amp or higher circuit the 14-2 wire will fail and cause a fire.

Regarding the 200A panel, The panel is rated to handle up to 200A and if 200Amps is exceeded then the breaker will trip to protect the wires that supply the panel. (providing of course that the main feeders are rated for 200Amps.

If you have a 200amp panel and the mains feeders are only rated for 100Amps, the breaker WILL NOT TRIP Until 200 Amps are exceeded. BUT the main feeders will fail and catch fire once it exceeds its 100A capacity rating. This is why the ampacity of the main feeders match the ampacity of the Panel.

So in a nut shell if u have a 100 amp service and want to get a bigger panel (200A) then the panel, the mains and the the entire service entrance has to be changed as well. Service Entrance starts at the drip loop (the loop in the wires just before they are connected to the pole) and ends at the panel.

**FYE**
**FYE** is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2010, 11:15 AM   #12
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 11
Default

200 AMP upgrade


Thanks for all the great information. It all makes sense.
patnancy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2010, 11:22 AM   #13
" Euro " electrician
 
frenchelectrican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI & France { in France for now }
Posts: 5,369
Default

200 AMP upgrade


If you have flat SE cable the quickest giveaway is go in your pocket and grab a Americian quarter and face it front of the SE cable if the width is about the same as the Americian quarter then you have smaller cable which it only good for 100 amp service.

Once that service entrance cable is wider than quarter more like a quarter and half then you have 200 amp SE cable

But if this in the conduit { pipe } then this will change the game a little but if you have overhead service look at the conductor if they are more than 3/4 inch diam then you have pretty good chance that you have 200 amp service otherwise look at the load centre but do not touch large service entrance cable but look for the numbers it will stamped like example 4/0 AWG or 3/0 AWG etc once you find that number let us know then we will tell you the answer quick.

Merci,
Marc

frenchelectrican is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
service upgrade needed ? 37victor3 Electrical 2 09-24-2010 10:51 PM
house power supply upgrade in Australia pcd1965 Electrical 3 08-22-2009 08:17 PM
400 Amp Upgrade / Transfer Switch AndrewF Electrical 50 07-04-2009 07:33 PM
Can I upgrade my main panel? MarkinTexas Electrical 8 01-22-2009 10:15 AM
Upgrade Meter Box Help BenJoeM Electrical 10 10-24-2008 10:58 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.