I've been renting a duplex with a one stall garage, but my tools are
becoming too many for it.
I've decided to buy a house with a nice big shop/garage and it has a 100
amp service panel. The service panel (breaker box) is a very old model
and has only 2 more slots for breakers.
I need to add a 220v service for a clothes dryer and a 220v for an
electric stove to make the little woman happy. I'd like to add a
sub-panel for the shop/garage.........
I'm electrical dumb, now that's out in the open, here's my questions......
Should I replace the old 100 amp panel with a new 100 amp panel with
more slots plus the sub-panel? *****OR*****
Should I bite the big bullet and upgrade to a 200 amp service?
What should I expect to pay for the upgrade?
Thanks in advance for any info/advice
taunt at cox dot net
Your house has a 100 amp panel? Not enough these days, even without a shop.
How do the present residents dry their clothes and cook? Gas? Boy, I'd pick a
gas stove over electric any day of the week.
If you change your panel, for sure go to 200 amps or 400 amps.
It doesn't matter what we say, get a few bids from honest electricians. Those
numbers are not only believable, they're purchasable.
Taunt wrote in
Without a doubt, upgrade to a 200 amp service. 100 amp is nowhere near
sufficient for a home in todays electronic age. I refuse to install 100 amp
services, even for a stand-alone garage. In a new install, a 200 amp
service doesn't cost but a few dollars more than a 100 amp (mostly due to
A 200 AMP box will run you about $200 + breakers.
200 amp Square D panel with slots for 40 QO breakers. No discussion
needed. It won't be cheap since you will likely need a new new service
entrance meter box and upgraded cable. It should add significant value
to the house.
About 20 years ago we owned a house in Portland, OR with 100 amp
service. I had it upgraded to 200 amp. In the process of removing the
old box, the electrician showed me all the charred cardboard around the
fuses. The thing had been overloaded many times and was just waiting
for an opportunity to start a fire. So, save your house and upgrade as
soon as possible!
got a 100 amp push button breaker panel on my house with a 50 amp push
button panel in the garage. just welding with a 110 mig unit makes the
lights flicker in the house. need to make sure all the wires are tight in
about a year ago I got a quote for a 200 amp panel for 3900.00. the only
thing was that the cost of the service conduit up the side of the house was
more that the cost to have the utility company run the power underground to
the house. he said the utility company only charged a dollar a foot to run
the power in and they could run the cable and telephone in the same hole if
I would get with those companies to tell them when.
I put our service underground a few years ago. *I* was responsible for
the ditch, conduit, and cable long enough to connect to the secondary
distribution lines. Edison came out, spent 15 minutes splicing the
connection and charged me $175. What a rip off! Bob
For openers, have the 'little woman' try using the gas range for a
while before you commit to changing it out - once they've tried both,
a lot of people prefer gas for cooking for the fine control of exactly
how much heat you get. And you can look at the burner and immediately
SEE how it's adjusted, with electric you have to wait and see what's
going to happen and how much it changed.
And they're practically indestructible, compared to electric ranges
that are always having an element go open or a control short out -
that wonderful "BZZZT-POP!" is a wonderful thing to have happen when
you're half awake in the morning...
And unless you have a fluke situation with really cheap electricity
or really expensive gas (Propane and you're so far out in the boonies
they charge extra for deliveries) you will ALWAYS save a lot using gas
for clothes dryers, space heating, cooking and water heating. $100
worth of electric heat is roughly $20 using natural gas, and roughly
$30 to $40 using Propane. The difference is substantial enough to
quickly pay for the new appliances and their installation, and after
that the savings are all gravy.
I'm an electrician, and all the appliances in the house are gas.
Nope, that only delays the inevitable. You'll eventually reach the
point of living "Green Acres" style, rationing out the electricity use
so you don't constantly pop breakers or fuses.
Probably, unless the house is tiny. Since you are in r.c.m, I'll
bet you are going to want to do shopwork in the garage, run a welder
or lathe, and that almost guarantees you'll need the additional amps.
Otherwise SWMBO is going to be complaining constantly when the lights
If this is a Big house (or a small ranch) or you plan some serious
shop equipment, you might want to jump straight to a 400A service.
They are Not Cheap, but you can easily send a full 100A to 200A line
out to the garage, and run your 250-ton punch press or big-ass
Synchrowave 500P welder (230V 1ph 180A at full output) with ease.
Or, if you can talk your local power utility into it (not a simple
task, and sometimes not cheap if you have to buy the transformers) you
put a 200A 1ph service on the house, and a 200A 3Ph 120/208V 'Y',
120/240V Open Delta, or 277/480V service just for the 'shop'. Then
you can run just about anything you want.
There are a Whole Lot of variables, but for a very simple surface
mounted 200A 1ph all-in-one panel, 10' to 15' of new service mast
straight up, and transfer all the circuits from your old panel right
next to it (leaving the old breaker box in the wall gutted out as a
splice box) it's about $2,000 installed - permit fees not included.
(And you have to pull a permit, or the utility won't energize it.)
When you start getting fancy, it's on an hourly or per-item basis.
Sinking in the new panel semi-flush into the wall, pulling the old
panel out and putting the new one in the exact same spot, pulling out
the old 1-1/4" service mast and getting a 2" through the existing wall
for the 200A service wires, digging the old roof flashing out of 2" of
old Henry's Mastic to slide a new flashing under the shingles,
patching up the holes in the wall, running new conduits up into the
attic for all that stuff you plan to add...
Bruce, what is your opinion on these synchrowaves. Are they useful for
someone who wants to do "advanced stuff around the house", such as
making a trailer or some such.
how much might that cost?
I told her, I liked the gas stove better for cooking, and she is willing
to try it. I just thought while the electrician was there, I might as
well put the receptical in. I haven't had the same luck with the chothes
dryer, she wants the electric one, oh well!
It's a 2000 sq ft home, in town, built in the late 60's. Gas: heat,
water, stove, dryer and yard lamps.
I dealing with a Magnetrip Zinsco 100 amp panel with 16 of the 22 slots
My garage (the only part of the house that is my domain) has (2) bench
grinders, belt/disc sander, vertical bandsaw, 8X14 benchtop lathe, sd180
ac/dc welder, and two new items to arrive at the end of July (Zay7045fg
benchtop mill and radial arm benchtop bandsaw)
Bruce L. Bergman wrote:
I had errored in my first post... I thought I had only 2 more slots left
in the breaker box.
Just got the keys today.
I went back and took a second look and I'm using 16 of 22 slots, looking
at the outside panel. I don't know how many is under the panel
Just a small point here. A 200 amp box will have a lot of breaker
spaces. The main breaker in the box or the breaker feeding the box does
not have to be 200 amp. I have a 125 amp panel in my shop which is fed
from the main house panel (with the meter) witha 60 amp breaker. But
the 125 amp panel gives me breaker slots to spare.
Gack!! For years I used electric dryers. Then I bought a gas one. Ill
NEVER go back to electric. Not just for the economy..but it heats and
dries better, the clothes come out softer and less wrinkled.
"Considering the events of recent years,
the world has a long way to go to regain
its credibility and reputation with the US."
I'm not kidding about the savings - do a comparison on paper and
tell her the extra $50 - $100 a year for each electric appliance comes
out of her pin money, and that might change her mind.
If the seller is leaving the gas dryer there, ask her to try it
first. They are much faster and a bit easier on the clothes. If not,
donate the electric dryer to Goodwill and buy her a brand new gas
dryer - you'll save the cost of the new dryer in electricity in two or
three years, and most gas dryers will easily run for 20 years.
Every laundromat I know of runs gas dryers. Both because nobody
sane would pay $1 for the wash and $4 for the dry, and they'd have to
install monster 2000A power services to run them all. By comparison,
big gas meters and big gas pipes are downright cheap.
In the few condo buildings I work at with coin laundries still
running electric dryers, the coinbox only pays the equipment owner for
the machine maintenance. The HOA has to eat the cost difference on
the house power bill.
Any heating appliance is inherently more efficient being fueled
directly with natural gas, propane, or oil. Solid fuels (coal, wood,
pellets) work for some things like boilers and furnaces.
Electricity is great for running lights and providing motive power,
but the generating and transmission losses along the way to your house
are way too high to just turn it back into resistance heat.
Ouch. Expensive breakers, if something starts going wrong doing the
panel change is cheaper than changing out all the breakers. (You can
still get some of them new, T&B is making them, but for a simple Q-20
what was $5 is now $50.) And the main busbars like to go bad and take
out all the breakers, they're tin plated aluminum.
For 2000 feet, a 200A service should be plenty. If the garage is
detached, run a 70A to 100A sub out there, even if it sounds like
overkill now. Most home-shops need a 50A circuit to crank up a stick
welder, and you want some capacity leftover for lights and fans.
Open breaker spaces inside the panel is one thing, having enough
service capacity left to run them all is another...
If you have an all-electric house with small electric wall or
baseboard heaters or radiant heat panels in every room, you can easily
load the panel to 'full' and have half the slots vacant. Stick on
more loads, and you'll be tripping the Main.
Under-loaded is almost always better than overloaded. ;-P
I did a web search on that model panel and the overall opinion of that
product is, "The Zinsco is crap"
I'm going to replace that panel with a newer style 100 amp panel and
start saving my pennies again for the upgrade to 200 amp service.
P.S. the new home and machine purchase has zapped my funds and I can
only afford the new panel for now.