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Old 02-03-2012, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
293 posts, read 702,343 times
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OK, still househunting. I'm looking at a 1920s place - 4 br, 2 bath and a circuit breaker with only 6 circuits. Egads! I think it has 100amps, although I have to check again to be sure...

I know at a minimum I'm going to have to have an electrician increase the number of circuits - is there a standard I should be aiming for?

What else should I be doing at the same time? I know additional sockets in each room, switching to three prong, putting in GFCI sockets in the bathrooms and kitchen, anything else?

And assuming the panel is 100amps, is that enough? I see some new construction routinely does 200amps. Down the road I'm sure I'll renovate the kitchen and probably put in central air, so I don't know how that factors in.
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:42 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,409,188 times
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That is the question. If it is 100A then you will have enough for a house. A lot of smaller houses had 50A. Check it out and post the result so we know if you have to start with addition of 100A or more service.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
11,877 posts, read 45,676,236 times
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Today's 4bdrm, 2bath house would have at a minimum 150amps. And with today's technology, and the numerous appliances that we depend on day in and day out- I would consider a 200 amp service "today's" standard.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,717 posts, read 59,579,994 times
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I agree 200 amps is standard. I had a 100 amp panel in our old house. Added circuits and ran out of slots. We got by by using thin breakers that you could fit two to a slot. Electrician looked at it and then it was inspected - no problems. I never added it up, but I assume that we exceeded 100 amps. In fact the AC units were probably 100 amps. Arent they 50 amps each?

Figure on $2000 to replace the panel. The should include wiring in existing circuits. If you run the wire for additioanl circuits, they should connect those as well without additioanl charge. Some electricians will give you BS about not wanted to connect circuits that you ran yourself, That is BS. They have no idea who ran the older circuits in the house yet they will connect those. If they try that, find a different electrician.

Everything does need to be inspected though.
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,845 posts, read 51,301,408 times
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If you want to bring the whole place to current code and eventually replace all the wiring and add circuits, you will be spending some money. Not being able to see anything, just a seat-of-the-pants guess would be to budget somewhere around $8K. That could be way high or way low, but is what I would use as a starting figure - parts, permits, inspections, opening and closing walls, chases, etc.
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Old 02-04-2012, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Westchester County, NY
293 posts, read 702,343 times
Reputation: 100
Thanks everyone. I looked again today and it's 60amps.

I decided against bidding - not because of the need to upgrade electric, per se, but all of the other updates I'd have to do as well. Which maybe would have been ok if I was in love with the place, but I just wasn't.
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Old 02-04-2012, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Northwest Indiana
801 posts, read 2,415,442 times
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A good portion of the time the amps rating for your electric service will be on the main switches themselves. Most of the time the main switch(es) are at the top of the box near where the main (thickest) wire goes into the box from the outside. You may need a flashlight to be able to see the number as it will be stamped into the plastic. Most homes will be between 40-200 amps. Most new single family homes are built with 200 amps today.

I would advise at least 200 amps if you are building a new house or upgrading your service panel. Getting a 200 amp box doesn't cost that much more then a 100 amp box, in most cases less then a 100 dollars (most of the cost is the labor not the box). Central air and an electric stove-ovens can bring you to the limits of a 100 amp box. It seems that we keep adding more electric things to an average house, so its a good way to future proof your electric system.
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Old 02-04-2012, 05:34 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,409,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Today's 4bdrm, 2bath house would have at a minimum 150amps. And with today's technology, and the numerous appliances that we depend on day in and day out- I would consider a 200 amp service "today's" standard.

I would agree with this, but 100A was standard just 10 years ago and would not need to be upgraded if it was small and has natural gas service.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,135 posts, read 19,725,943 times
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Have to disagree that 100 was the "standard" just 10 years ago. 200 amps is what they have been putting in new homes for the last few decades. Homes I inspect built in the 70's all have 200 amps. Even those nasty Federal Pacific panels from the 70's were 200 amps.

Now if the only large electrical draw was an a/c unit, and everything else was gas, 100 amps would probably work. However, it just doesn't make sense to upgrade an electrical service and not put in 200 amps. I haven't checked, but I imagine the cost difference between 100 - 200 is very little.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:50 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,409,188 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barking Spider View Post
Have to disagree that 100 was the "standard" just 10 years ago. 200 amps is what they have been putting in new homes for the last few decades. Homes I inspect built in the 70's all have 200 amps. Even those nasty Federal Pacific panels from the 70's were 200 amps.

Now if the only large electrical draw was an a/c unit, and everything else was gas, 100 amps would probably work. However, it just doesn't make sense to upgrade an electrical service and not put in 200 amps. I haven't checked, but I imagine the cost difference between 100 - 200 is very little.

You can disagree, but you would be wrong.

It depends on what part of the country you are in. Houses in locations where large central air or no natural gas have been 200A for a long time. Elsewhere, some small houses still are being built with 100A service.
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