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Old 06-17-2009, 08:16 AM   #1
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200 year-old house - new electric


I'm considering buying an antique home in Massachusetts. It currently has 100amp service. The home has had some renovation but I may update more as I go along. I presume the 100amp service will limit me.

My questions is not only the cost of upgrading to 200amp but also will I have to change wiring throughout the house also?

Thanks. Also, any comments on buying an older home would be appreciated.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:15 AM   #2
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200 year-old house - new electric


i just started reading a book you might find interesting.

Sheetrock & Shellac A thinking person's guide to the art and science of home improvement by David Owen.

in the opening chapter Owen recounts the purchase and life experiences of purchasing and owning a 200 year old home in New England. that is as far as i have gotten in the book. it appears to be a mix of anecdotes and how to type stuff. he has a very engaging writing style.

sorry i dont have any more specific electrical help.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:23 AM   #3
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200 year-old house - new electric


100 amp service might adequate for the house. How much of the appliances are going to be electric? Stove? Dryer? Water heater? Heat? AC? Any other large appliances?
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:38 AM   #4
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First updating the service does not require rewiring the rest of the house if the wiring is up to code.
Second, why do you need to update to a 200 amp service? It is usually unnecessary unless the home is all electric which includes heat.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:00 AM   #5
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200 year-old house - new electric


If you do decide to go to 200 amp service, it will only require bringing up to code the new panel and the service feed to it.

If it is served underground, you may need to upgrade the service entrance cable to handle 200 amps and this would require a call to the electric company.

It may also require a new meter socket.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:11 AM   #6
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200 year-old house - new electric


I think it would be worth hiring an electrician who well versed in working in old houses to do a detailed inspection of the electrical system. They would be able to give you an idea of what needs to upgraded or what can wait for a future date. I imagine that you have a mixture of electrical wiring that spans from knob & tube to romex. That gives you an idea of what to expect in the future. Depending on the size of the house it shouldn't take more than a couple of house.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:11 AM   #7
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200 year-old house - new electric


Depending on the age of this house, you must know how much work will be involved in restoring the dwelling. Is the house electric or gas? Is it multi story?
Generally a service upgrade requires no more than the actual service itself. Of course you can do things as you go. But if you are going to do major renovations you most likely will have to bring everything to current code.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:26 AM   #8
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200 year-old house - new electric


If I were going to do this I would install a 200 panel & make the old 100a a sub-panel. Swap the 240v circuits over to the new panel & as many of the 120v that are new or will reach

My last house was 912 sq ft & I had a 100a service
I had gas heat, HW, dryer & cooking
I had a hot tub - 50a GFCI & never kicked off the main breaker

What type of wiring in the house?
Any knob & tube?
What does the sheathing look like on the NMB (normal plastic sheathed) cable? Cloth/grey material, White, yellow?
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:39 PM   #9
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200 year-old house - new electric


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Originally Posted by AndrewF View Post
If you do decide to go to 200 amp service, it will only require bringing up to code the new panel and the service feed to it.
Local jurisdictions very. With a house that old some of the wiring may be K&T, some jurisdictions will not allow service upgrade if K&T is present unless all is brought up to code.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:48 AM   #10
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200 year-old house - new electric


Those questions seem too broad to answere over the internet. The house could have been done very nicely with code and craftsmanship in mind or the house could be a death trap. Also is it all electric or some gas?
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:08 AM   #11
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200 year-old house - new electric


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Originally Posted by jimmy21 View Post
Those questions seem too broad to answere over the internet. The house could have been done very nicely with code and craftsmanship in mind or the house could be a death trap. Also is it all electric or some gas?
It could. But he said it was antique. That alone makes me think complete re-wire. It would be great if the house has been upgraded already. Is that what you meant.
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