Cost to upgrade to 200 amp service.
What is the cost to upgrade your electrical panel from 100 amp to 200 amp?
Some homeowners are experience problems with adding new load( such as wall oven, new basement apartment, electrical car charger, hot tub, etc). The existing 100 amp panel doesn’t have enough capacity to handle an additional 30-80 amp.
Usually, 200-panel upgrades cost is anywhere between $1500 and 2500$. There are a few examples where old has main wires big enough for 200 amp, in this case, your should expect to pay from $1500 to 2000$ dollars. The price includes all necessary permits, labor, and materials. What can increase the price:
-Toronto habitats will have to add disconnection cost, it is about 300$ for meter pull out and 678$ for disconnecting power at the overhead line or transformer. We had paid 4000$ once, so it is always better to check with your local utility
-Changing grounding conductor, Ontario Electrical Safety Code requires minimum #6AWG grounding conductor between the panel and incoming copper water pipes. If your panel doesn’t have one expect to pay 100-200$ extra
-Panel relocation. If you want to relocate your main electrical panel most likely electrician has to make 1-2 junction boxes in your existing panel location and run jumpers to the new panel. Also if the panel is located more than 1.5 meters from the point where main wires entering the building disconnector mean has to be installed. All this may cost up to 1000$-1500$ extra.
Why 200 amp is better than 100 amp?
Some homeowners aking if the electrical bill will go up if they upgrade electrical service from 100 to 200 amp. Absolutely NO, the electrical bill is only based on power consumed by house electrical appliances, you only pay for what you used.
Think about water pipe coming into your house, if you put a bigger pipe you still only use the same amount of water, but you will be able to use more water at the same time and fill your pool faster. It is very similar to electricity, when you charge your TESLA with a 15 amp/120 volts charger it takes 8 hours, and when you use a 60 amp/240volts charger it is less than 2 hours. But the actual amount of electricity is the same, therefore the bill is the same for both cases.
Safety. Many 100 amp old panels are already overloaded and outdated( especially fused once). You may notice flickering lights, crackling sounds, double-tapped wires, and even smell. Its time to upgrade your panel
Convenient. If you doing reno or adding new loads to your home it is often better just to get a bigger panel rather than install a sub pane. And you also need to know that sub panel only gives you more spaces for breakers but it does not make your panel capable of handling the new load, it is still 100 amp main breaker and main wires,
Cost. While panel upgrade to 200 amp may cost between 1500-3000$ it also will add to your property value. So it is an absolute win-win situation.
Reliability/Safety. If a panel is not overloaded it is safe to have 100 amp panel for most homes. But many 100 amp panels are working at close to overload currents ( oven and dryer can draw up to 70-80 amp, plus add other common loads such as lights and other small appliances). Such conditions may significantly lower the safety and reliability of your electrical panel.
Do you need to upgrade your panel?
The common question we hear is about the necessity of panel upgrading. Well if you are planning to get an electric car, hot tub, build an addition to your home then YES.
If you are having issues with your panel, such as sounds, flickering lights, often breakers tip, or even smell from the panel then you should first call a licensed electrician. After further investigation, he may suggest if your panel is overloaded or maybe it is only a poor connection issue, and it can be easily fixed.
Do you need a permit for panel replacement?
The short answer is YES. If anyone ever tells you you do not need a permit simply run.
This is the LAW in Ontario enforced by Electrical Safety Authority. Though homeowner permitted to do the electrical job in own house, still must pull a permit from ESA, this a law and also insurance matter.
For panel upgrade, you must hire a Licensed and Insured Electrical Contractor and this is Electrical Code Requirement, also before panel upgrade you need permission from the electrical utility. Local Hydro will check if the incoming cable is capable of a new panel and disconnect power so safe panel replacement.