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Old 11-12-2008, 08:52 AM   #1
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


I just moved into a house that currently has 100AMPS. I have had no problems with the power until yesterday when I plugged in my space heater. It is a compact heater for small spaces, so I figured it would not use much power. Sure enough, the power went out in 2 different parts of the house that I used the heater in and I had to flip the breaker. I am worried because I was not even running anything else at the time besides a light. I am a new homeowner and am not sure what exactly to do if I need to upgrade...help!!

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Old 11-12-2008, 09:24 AM   #2
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


If the breaker was not the main one that went out then that circuit was not able to handle the additional load of the heater (with what ever else is also on that circuit). If the main breaker went out (your 100a breaker) then your service may need to be larger than you currently have.

I have found that older services were often a few circuits covering many rooms. The practice today is to keep this to a minimum and 200a panels with 30 & 40 breakers are commonplace.

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Old 11-12-2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


If it was the main, the question would be, why not the branch circuit breaker. Can you post a picture of the inside of your panel and point to the breaker that tripped. Many many houses are using a 100 amp service with no issues. If you are using gas appliances and or heating oil, your demand may not warrant an upgrade. Space heaters are a pretty good load, but should only affect that particular circuit.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:10 AM   #4
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


Yes, it was only that one circuit that went out. First it was the living room and then it was the entire upstairs.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:26 AM   #5
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


Its ok, just DO NOT oversize the fuses or breakers.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:11 PM   #6
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


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Originally Posted by Bowms2002 View Post
Yes, it was only that one circuit that went out. First it was the living room and then it was the entire upstairs.
Did these both go out at once? Did more than one breaker trip? If they both went off at once and one breaker triped, then you simply have both areas wired onto one breaker, and you overloaded that breaker. This has nothing to do with capicity of the service (100vs200A). If your running out of capicity on your 100A service, you would trip the main breaker, and the power to the entire house would be turned off all at once.


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Old 11-12-2008, 12:12 PM   #7
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


What is the wattage of the space heater and what is the amperage of the branch circuit breaker for the circuit you are plugging it into? As said you are experiencing an overload (most likely) of that circuit so probably it's 15 amps. I hate space heaters as they can run for hours without cycling if they cannot get the room up to temperature. This can get your wiring very warm and can cause other issues if you have a poor connection in the branch circuit somewhere.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:04 PM   #8
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


I hate space heaters at workplaces. All the women at my old job just had to have their own little wasteful space heater under their desk. In addition to them tripping breakers a lot, they would also sometimes plug them into the computer UPS, which is no way rated for those watts.

Even though I was a computer programmer, they would call me and say "hey my computer just turned off and so did everyone else's", not even thinking about the 3 space heaters they just added to the outlets in their office.
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Old 11-12-2008, 08:36 PM   #9
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


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I hate space heaters at workplaces. All the women at my old job just had to have their own little wasteful space heater under their desk. In addition to them tripping breakers a lot, they would also sometimes plug them into the computer UPS, which is no way rated for those watts.

Even though I was a computer programmer, they would call me and say "hey my computer just turned off and so did everyone else's", not even thinking about the 3 space heaters they just added to the outlets in their office.

What code did you use? c,c++, java, etc.?
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:20 PM   #10
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


Space heaters and vacuum cleaners do not like 15 amp circuits!

I don't think you need to upgrade to 200 amps, but just have an electrician install a couple of 20 amp new circuits/outlets where you want to use space heaters.

I used to live in apartments with 15 amp circuits and had constant problems with breakers tripping when using a space heater or vacuuming. Then I bought my own house, rewired, and installed 20 amp circuits everywhere. I've not had one breaker trip since I did this. Nice!
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:53 AM   #11
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


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What code did you use? c,c++, java, etc.?
At that job mostly PHP with some C++ and a surprising amount of Bash shell scripting.
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Old 11-13-2008, 02:55 AM   #12
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


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Then I bought my own house, rewired, and installed 20 amp circuits everywhere. I've not had one breaker trip since I did this. Nice!
Doesn't the code now require 20 amps for any new outlet circuits anyway?
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Old 11-13-2008, 05:31 AM   #13
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


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Doesn't the code now require 20 amps for any new outlet circuits anyway?
Only for such areas like kitchens, dining rooms, etc. Or unless you are in Oklahoma.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:46 AM   #14
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


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Or unless you are in Oklahoma.
Theres more truth to that than you may think....
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:24 PM   #15
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Do I need to upgrade to 200 AMPS?


Stubbie, 28 years ago I visited my cousin in OK. While there, I checked on some local electrical requirements/codes.

I was surprised to learn that the wholesalers did not sell #14 wire, and there were severe limits on the number of outlets one could have on any one circuit (20 Amp minimum).

Even the old houses were completely wired with rigid conduit!

They say there are less fires per capita because of the strong electrical codes that are enforced out there?

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