200-Amp Service: Why You Should Upgrade Your Home’s Electrical System

Scott Dylan Westerlund
Updated July 30, 2021
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An upgrade to 200-amp service is a good idea if you have an older home or new appliances have increased your electrical demand

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If you have an older home, it probably has a 60-watt or 100-watt amp service that can't handle your plans for a new air conditioner, appliance upgrade, entertainment room, or heated swimming pool. 

Simply put, upgrading to 200-amp service lets you use more electricity. However, the installation requires proper permits, a qualified electrician, and inspections. You'll also need to have your utility company disconnect the service.

What Is a 200-Watt Amp Service?

Amps measure how much electricity your circuits can handle. If your appliances draw more power than your circuits can handle, your circuit breaker will cut power before something dangerous happens. The cost to upgrade to 200-amp service is between $750 and $2,000.

When choosing between a 100-amp electric panel versus 200-amp panel, keep in mind that the 200-amp option typically only costs $100 to $200 more than the 100-amp option.

As we rely more and more on electronic devices for entertainment and comfort, our household electrical loads grow. A home that was built more than 30 years ago probably maxes out at 100-amp service. The good news is that you can upgrade to 200-amp service relatively easily.

Why Is a House Better With More Amps?

Entertainment center
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First, 200-amp service is actually the minimum recommended for modern homes. That means you're instantly making your home safer just by upgrading. 

You may need to consider upgrading if any of these apply:

  • Your panel box is humming or buzzing

  • You have an outdated fuse box

  • Your circuit breakers constantly trip

Upgrading lets you enjoy higher usage and performance from your electric system. Keep in mind electric panels have a built-in safety limit of 20%, so with a 100-amp service, you're really only getting 80 amps. You'll finally get over that 100-amp barrier once you upgrade.

If you're adding new appliances to your home that will draw more electricity, you'll need to determine if your home can handle the extra load based on your current amp service. Your home may not be up to code once you add a new swimming pool, hot tub, sump pump, range, washing machine, or any other upgrade unless you also upgrade to 200-amp service.

The Pros and Cons of Upgrading to 200-Amp Service

Tripped breakers getting you frazzled? Burnt-out appliances piling up in the trash? You probably already know it’s time to bring your home's electrical system into the 21st century. Let's cover the good and bad of expanding your home's electrical system.

Pros:

  • A safer home

  • No more tripped circuit breakers killing your power

  • Appliances are protected from tripped breakers/outages

  • Your home will be up to code

Cons:

  • Materials and installation can cost hundreds or thousands

  • Not a DIY project

How Easy Is Upgrading to 200-Amp Service?

While this project takes careful planning, it's fairly straightforward. You'll need to hire an electrician near you because working inside your home's electrical panel can be dangerous.

Mishandling even one step of this project could prove lethal. A 200-amp upgrade is a complex electrical wiring project with two parts. Your electrician will install a service wire and then add a new panel. 

Here's a look at what's involved in upgrading to 200-amp service:

  • Obtain proper permits

  • Shut off power to your house

  • Have the utility company disconnect cables from your home

  • Complete electrical wiring

  • Complete panel installation

  • Have the work inspected

  • Have the utility company reconnect cables to your home

Remember that the inspector can't let the utility company reconnect your electricity until the work passes inspection.

Final Thoughts on Upgrading to 200-Amp Service

A modern house needs modern power resources. If you're concerned about load, upgrading to 200-amp service is a safe solution for enjoying modern comforts and upgrades while enjoying peace of mind and performance.

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