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Should I Upgrade to a 200-amp Electrical Panel?

Apex Pros - Should I Upgrade to a 200-amp Electrical Panel

In older homes, it’s not uncommon to find an outdated electrical panel or even a fuse box. A 200-amp electrical panel has a higher capacity, making it less likely to be overloaded. In the 1950s and 1960s, 60-amp panels were commonplace, while 100-amp service was sufficient. But in a modern home, a 100-amp electrical panel may run close to or exceed its maximum capacity. It limits your options for adding new appliances or the latest hi-tech devices.

Below, we’ll look at why, if you haven’t already, you should consider upgrading to a 200-amp electrical panel:

Increased Capacity

The higher capacity of a 200-amp panel allows you to install more equipment and higher-power devices. What can you install with 200 amps? Aside from your current appliances and lighting, an electrical panel upgrade can support a new HVAC system, an electric vehicle charging unit, or a hot tub. If you’re planning to install a home theater system, the new panel provides the capacity for the latest video and audio equipment. 

More Circuits Are Available

A 200-amp electrical panel is larger and has more slots available. It can fit as many as 42 circuit breakers (depending on how many single-pole or double-pole breakers are used). You can set up dedicated circuits for more high-power appliances; running them won’t trip the circuit if other devices are used simultaneously. Separate circuits can be set up for workshops or home offices (plus, you can install more outlets to support more devices).

With the increased circuit and power capacity, a 200-amp panel helps prepare your home for future power demands.

Improved Safety

Electrical overloads are a common cause of home fires. Able to handle a larger electrical load, a 200-amp service panel safely supports more appliances and devices with a reduced risk of power outages, fires, shocks, burns, and damage to electrical wiring and other components

There’s also less risk of tripped breakers, outages, or damage to your home. Appliances and electronics are also more likely to last longer. Modern circuit breaker panels include ground fault circuit interrupters, arc fault circuit interrupters, and other safety features as well.

Increased Property Value

Given the increase in function, efficiency, and safety, a 200-amp electrical panel can help increase the value of your home. A potential homebuyer may find your home more attractive if it has increased electrical capacity and is free of electrical issues or safety risks. They also won’t have to invest in an electrical upgrade after purchasing a new home. Therefore, an electrical panel upgrade is a selling point and can increase the sale price of your home.

Greater Convenience/Flexibility

With a higher-capacity electrical panel, there’s simply more you can do with your home. You can use an oven, washer/dryer, or vehicle charger simultaneously. The upgrade can also lead to energy savings over time; modern electrical panels distribute electricity more efficiently. And, if you’re renovating your home, the added capacity makes it easier to add new outlets, light fixtures, and other components, whether you’re building additional rooms or updating a kitchen or living area.

What are the signs I need a larger electrical panel?

Signs that your existing panel is outdated include:

  • Circuit breakers trip often
  • Lights flicker when other devices are used
  • A warm panel
  • Burning smells 
  • Sparks
  • Buzzing sounds
  • Scorched outlets

How do I know my electrical panel’s capacity?

A label on your electrical panel may list its amperage rating. The capacity may also be indicated on the meter. You can also check the main breaker for a number that shows its capacity, or, you can add up the capacity of all the breakers currently in your panel.

What does it cost to upgrade to a 200-amp electrical panel?

Upgrading to a 200-amp panel can cost around $2,000 or more on average.1 However, the actual price varies depending on the costs of labor and other potential updates to old wiring, receptacles, and circuits.

Do I need an electrician to install a new service panel?

Hire an electrician to install a 200-amp electrical panel. A mistake can lead to a fire or electrocution. You’ll also need a permit to upgrade your service panel, which requires a certified electrical contractor.

Schedule an Electrical Panel Upgrade with Apex

Specializing in electrical panel installation, our licensed technicians can evaluate your home and provide an upgrade that resolves any electrical issues you’re having. We handle the entire installation process. Our team installs main service panels and subpanels, single-pole and double-pole breakers, and also smart electrical panels with monitoring capabilities. To request an upgrade to a 200-amp electrical panel and an estimate, contact us online or call (614) 585-8814.