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Old 10-19-2008, 06:49 AM   #1
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Need opinions on the cost/necessity of upgrading service.

I'm usually not an idiot, but I needed an electrician to replace a line for my thermostat which wasn't working, and I wound up purchasing a service upgrade.

i know I need this; the house is 40 years old and was wired with Federal Pacific circuitbreakers (google that if you're unfamiliar with the history of the company.) The house is a three bedroom ranch; my husband and I live here, so we don't have a lot of the electrical use you get from kids.

Anyway, the guy wants to upgrade the 100 amp service to 150, and he's charging $1,900.

My questions: does that price seem reasonable? (I live in NJ.) And do I need a service upgrade to 150 amps? How necessary is that?

Another electrician explained that if I keep the service at 100 amps, I can cut the cost because the exterior wiring to the electric meter won't have to be changed (he looked at it and said it looked fine.)

Any opinions would be gratefully received, esp. since I gave this guy a $500 deposit already, and I'm seriously regretting it because I didn't get more estimates.



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Old 10-19-2008, 07:34 AM   #2
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Why did this electrican tell you that you needed to upgrade your service, did he do a demand calculation on your place or was he trying to make himself some money.

If you don't trip your main breaker or if you have not added anything big to your house recently(i.e pool or hot tub) I see no reason to change your service. If your plan is to add something that draws a fare bit of electricity then you may have to upgrade.

Get a few other electricians in and see what they have to say, they should be able to do a demand calculation and tell you if you should upgrade.


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Old 10-19-2008, 08:53 AM   #3
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Whether you need the upgrade or not depends on your current and future power demands. If you do decide to upgrade then I would skip the 150 amps and go with a 200 amp service. The cost between the two is not that much more. What you don't want to do is do this upgrade twice so if you are putting in a new panel anyway then it makes sense to upgrade the whole service and go with the larger service drop and meter.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:41 AM   #4
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Darren, the reason for the "upgrade" is to get rid of that fire trap FPE panel. GOOD call Simple!

I agree with teamo. Forget 150A and go with 200A. The difference is negligible in the scope of things. And $1900 sounds pretty low for NJ, even for 150A.

A 100A service is very much restrictive in today's world. You WILL run out of space in time and you WILL increase the load over time.
If the service is original I seriously doubt it is "OK". Age and deterioration are the main factors for service changes IMO. To stay with 100A just to save some money is a decision you WILL regret later on.
This is a decision you will have to live with for another 20-30 years, unless you want to pay to have it done again later when you add that hot tub, or renovate that kitchen, or install that pool, etc, etc, etc....
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
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cost , necessity , service upgrade

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