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How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

Posted by booger3914 (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 21, 09 at 7:14

My home presently has a 100 amp service which is adequate given I have gas heat, gas water heater and a gas range. I am considering upgrading to a 200 amp service so a sub-panel can be added to serve the garage and kitchen. Does anyone have an idea of what is costs to upgrade the service with new panel?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

The size of service has nothing to do with subpanels.

We can't possibly give you an estimate:

There will be work to your main panel as well as probably fees from the power company to do this. Labor costs are highly variable around the country.

Get estimates, get references.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

This might give you an idea. It cost me $3000. The electrician had a day job and did it off-hours. He was very neat and professional. About 5 years ago I changed from the first configuration to the second:

1: 1955 slab-foundation house originally supplied with 3-phase, but then the more common 240 single phase. The original 3-phase equipment was still in use. Main panel and outside main disconnect outside near meter pan. Two indoor fuse (sub) panels and another (sub) fuse panel/shutoff by the AC compressor. I dont really know how many amp service it was, but the wires in the drop were smaller than the new one.

2: Same house obviously. New mast, meter pan, 200 amp service panel in essentially the same place outdoors. The original cables to the indoor panels were cut in the attic and spliced in two large boxes to reroute to the new service panel. There were 19 old circuits. The electrician ran 12 new functioning circuits including a three-way light on the back porch. At least half of these were to the opposite end of the house to the kitchen and porch. There were 4 spares that terminated in the attic junction boxes for my future use.

As ronnatalie pointed out, it is really impossible to say how much your job will cost without knowing a lot of details like how the walls are constructed in your house, how accessible the basement and attic are,.. Mine involved a lot of unpleasant attic work and the new cables in the exterior walls was mostly fished by cutting holes in the eaves to access the top.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

There is no real way to estimate since who pays for what is all over the place.

In Virginia the POCO is responsible for everything up to the meter base, and used to give even those away for free since they had a 'preferred' one.

Updating the overhead lines was on their nickel also if you increase your panel capacity.
Remember that the overhead wires are also not under the NEC since they are POCO distribution wiring.

It is pretty common to place a new meter base beside the old run, hook the new base to the main panel, and then use jumpers from the old base on the bottom to the top of te new base.
Shorting bars on the new base bypass it, and with the meter plugged back into the old base the power was up and running in a single day.
After a final inspection, the POCO gets around to unpdating the feed to the new mater base and moving the meter over.

In other places the homeowner is responsible for everything from the weather head down (mast if required), and the POCO may be required to cut the feed and then reconnect it when the work is completed and inspected. That can leave you without power for a day or two.

Some places will not allow upgrades if the main panel is still fusses.
A new breaker panel is then required, and depending on how 'messy' the old work is it can take a lot of work to update the panel.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

This can be a costly upgrade depending on your configuration. You have to upgrade your panel inside and the meter. I am currently a apprentice electrician and we have done them for 2000$ but that is with pretty good conditions. MOST of the time before any inspections we just have to show our local electrical utility company that we did pull a permit and that its getting inspected, then fill out a paper for the utility company and they hook it back up as soon as we are done, so the homeowner is only out of electricity for a matter of hours. Like everyone else is saying truley hard to say excatly how much you' spend but i couldn't imagine spending over $3,500 to change over unless you have some jacked up wiring.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

You cannot throw numbers around on a forum such as this without knowing exactly what is involved in the job.

How do you know that the existing drop location is good and meets all current clearances?

What if a mast is required, how about a roof patch where the mast goes through the roof?

The list goes on and on...

Even stating it "shouldn't be more than $3500.00" could be way off base.

To the OP - follow the original advice and get an estimate from a couple local electricians, that is the only way to get a real estimate of what the job will cost.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

Just from reading posts over time, what might cost $2,000 in Dallas, may cost $5,000 in Chicago. Certain areas of the East Coast may be higher. Union electricians and conduit requirements account for a lot of the higher costs.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

texasredhead, I found the end of your post funny because I'm from the East coats (NJ) and union electricians are usually CHEAPER because they do the work on the side and under the table. Around here you can expect to pay a licensed EC about $4-5K while a unlicensed union electrician (still a "pro", just not having a contractors license) will charge about $2K. It's a big difference not having to pay for a shop, trucks, insurance, workman's comp, benefits, unemployment, stock, taxes, and everything else an EC has to pay.

It's very rare for unions to get residential work (such as houses, large condos are different). Where are union electricians raising prices of home service upgrades?

As mentioned, prices vary GREATLY by area. Not only cost of living, but requirements as well. Someone above mentioned that the POCO is responsible up to the meter pan. Around here the POCO only goes to the overhead splice, the homeowner has to pay for the pipe or rope.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

"texasredhead, I found the end of your post funny because I'm from the East coats (NJ) and union electricians are usually CHEAPER because they do the work on the side and under the table."

Yeah, and many times it is hack work in a home because they have no idea what they are doing in a home. Give them pipe and wire and they will usually do great work. Give them NM and plastic boxes and SE cable and residential codes and they flounder.

"Around here you can expect to pay a licensed EC about $4-5K while a unlicensed union electrician (still a "pro", just not having a contractors license) will charge about $2K. It's a big difference not having to pay for a shop, trucks, insurance, workman's comp, benefits, unemployment, stock, taxes, and everything else an EC has to pay."

Exactly. And in most cases this unlicensed and uninsured side work is illegal in many areas. If it is not technically illegal it IS undercutting legitimate contractors trying to make a living.
YET....the union will try to get the workers from any and every contractor to sign up. At the same time their policies forbid side work. This policy is conveniently ignored when the work they are stealing is from non-union "residential contractors" and not their own.
This is because if a union contractor had to compete with a legitimate open shop electrical contractor for residential service upgrades they're price would be way out of line.
The BA needs a new Cadillac you know.

These union side-job guys are NO better than Joe's Handyman Service offering to do a 200A upgrade for half as much as a LEGITIMATE contractor.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

Wow, petey_racer, you showed your true bias lol.

It's funny how you say:
"If it is not technically illegal it IS undercutting legitimate contractors trying to make a living."
and complain about the union guy undercutting the EC, yet you have no problem with the non union guy undercutting the union guys:
"This is because if a union contractor had to compete with a legitimate open shop electrical contractor for residential service upgrades they're price would be way out of line."

Nevermind the fact that you generalized ALL union electricians to be no better than "Joe the Handyman". Do you do the same stereotyping with races and religions??

I'm not a union member, but I just don't have such a huge hatred for 75 million fellow Americans.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

Hi boooger3914 ( may I call you 'boog'? lol) I just recently bought an 1800 Sq. ft Cape up here in Massachusetts, and I was just wondering myself 'about' how much it would cost to update/modernize my electrical system from the original 1950's service that is in the house now. My quest was the same as yours; just an 'idea'of how much it 'might'cost. Obviously nobody can pinpoint the exact amount on a forum, but I was quite pleased to see the suggestions that have been posted. I'm thinking it could cost anywhere from(best)$2,000-$10,000(worst.)I know that's a big expanse, but I always estimate both the 'lowest' I think it could be, to the 'highest' in any remodel/update/ etc. situation. If you plan for worst case scenario, just think how happy you'll be when it's 1/3 that amount!


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

I just got a quote of $3,600 to upgrade and reroute my service main. The electric Co-op here would pull new cable through trench from pole to new meter box at the corner of the house for free. Electric guy would do the new box and route a 120amp cable to the old box around the back of the house to feed the existing circuits.
This would get the main from crossing part of my roof, which isn't kosher now, and give me 200a service.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

I live in Los Angeles, California, and I was just quoted by a general contractor to upgrade from 100-amp to 200 for $9,000. When I expressed shock and dismay, and after a bit of conversation, he lowered it to $7,500 then wouldn't budge.

Hopefully something more affordable can be found by calling electricians directly. I'll start with Angie's List.

P.S. my existing panel is a reasonably-modern "Square-D" mounted on the outside of the house right under the meter. It is fed with conduit, which I would guess should make it easier to work with than an internal NMB-fed box.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

What makes you think conduit is going to be easier?
A Homeline panel won't even go to 400A. You'll have to switch to a QO (or some other manufacturer). While prices are steeper than what we get here, this ain't LA. Swapping the panels itself would run over $2000 here, not counting whatever work was involved in the meter base and upgrading the service drop. Add 10% for the GC's cut.

But I agree with you, if all your doing is changing the service, why would you want a GC in the middle.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

To the "pro" electricians. I would take a "hack" anyday who is not a premedona and thinks he is hot stuff and deserves a fortune. You "I am a professional and should be compensated very generously" type guys suck my bunghole. I would invite you in and let you do the work then slap you over the head with a pipe when you ask for that type of money.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

Oh Luke, you seem like such a genius. lol
And SUCH a tough guy too. Wow, I sure hope you never call me to do work for you with the threat of being bludgeoned for asking for a fair legitimate price.

Please, enlighten us as to what you think a "fortune" is. I am all ears(eyes).

BTW, do you have ANY clue what it takes to run a legitimate business? ANY at all?

On top of it all you are simply a moron for digging up this two year old contentious thread just to state your hatred.


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

If u have some basic know how u can do it yourself and materials and a permit will cost you no more than 750$


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RE: How much to upgrade to 200 amp service?

"If u have some basic know how u can do it yourself and materials and a permit will cost you no more than 750$"

Service upgrades are often well past "basic know how."

The existing service must be examined carefully since it must meet the code in affect NOW, not when it was first installed (it is grandfathered until changed, like an upgrade).

Depending on age you may need additional grounding electrodes (two are required).

POCOs also have different policies about how they deal with upgrades.
Some drop feeds and will not reconnect until final inspection, while others have no issue with pulling the meter, upgrading, and even resetting the meter.

Removing and reconnecting meters is NOT for the uninformed though.
The line fuse is normally on the high voltage (7,200+V) side of the pole transformer.
It will allow VERY large currents on the secondary of the pole transformer and there are no fuses on the secondary side feeding your house.
If you strike an arc it can be 10,000 amps or more.

Even with a meter removed from the socket, the upper connections are still connected to the POCO.


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