House electrical question/help

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May 16, 2011
Greenville, SC via Chicago, IL
Bought a new house. It has a 60 amp panel with pull fuses. House currently has all electric appliances.

I'm going to replace the electric panel and upgrade to either 100 or 200 amp service.

The issue I'm having is the 5k price difference.

I can put in a gas line to the stove but my wife wants an electric range.

5 bedroom, 2.5 bath
1 furnace w/ 2 ton AC
electric washer/dryer
1 big AC window unit
Electric stove etc

I know this is vague but can I get away with a 100 amp service. I can always upgrade down the road but the house needs alot of work and that 5k will go to a good use.

100amp is undersize the stove alone can use 25amps.

any reason she doesn't want gas? I find gas easier to cook with.

Gas dryer is cheaper to run as well. Gas furnace? What kind of hot water tank?

My small 1200sqft house has 200amp service.

I find it hard to believe it costs 5000$ more? who gave you that price and what makes it 5000$ more.

if you didnt have the stove 100amp would be ok unless some fluke you turned on just about everything at the same time... hair dryer, toaster etc.
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$5K? Ouch!

You don't know any skilled electrical dudes who will pull the meter head and swap out that fuse-box with a new 100A or better service for you? (depending on service entrance wiring) Not that I've ever done that... Or would suggest it.. *ehem*..
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Maybe you could put in a 200 amp generator switch just downstream of the meter so you can come back later without having the utility interrupt power again.

Also, gas stoves own electric. Ever try to make candy or syrup, electric doesn't have the BTUs or control.
Ouch electric stove? those are the worst specially if you actually do cook on daily basis. The cost adds up when gas is dirt cheap. Atlease here in CA.

200 amp should be fine. Dont you have to tell your electric company tho? your pulling more than twice as much from THEIR transformer (theoretically ), theyre not going to be happy about it. In summer it can melt the coils inside their expensive transformer.

My philosophy is dont put over 100 amp unless REALLY needed. I would much rather lower the usage than put a bigger fuse.

for exmaple if you have an electric car your going to need more than 100, I'd run a dedicated line at that point. Many companies provide incentives for these type of thing.

Cost of electricity has only been going up , if i can use gas for ANYTHING i would in a hearbeat.

I am not married but I would do my best to talk my wife out of this.
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Originally Posted By: JTK
$5K? Ouch!

You don't know any skilled electrical dudes who will pull the meter head and swap out that fuse-box with a new 100A or better service for you? (depending on service entrance wiring) Not that I've ever done that... Or would suggest it.. *ehem*..

These prices are with friends of my dad. with 200 amp we have to pull a permit, and have the electric company come out and run a new line off the the street post. My father in law is doing the kitchen remodel and doesn't have a Chicago contractor license. It opens up a can of worms.
I'd be nice if we had a forum here for questions like this... and it would be nice if the management finally gave it serious consideration.

Every one has to live somewhere... right?
I've seen many homes with 100 amp service that have electric stoves. You really need to do a load calculation which an electric could do or you just get a copy of the NEC and figure it out yourself. Remember, that's 100 amps at 240v. Usually a stove is 40 or 50amps, typically on a new one, probably 50 amps. Probably gas per BTU is cheaper than electric, think about it, they burn gas to make electricity, then they have to send it over wires and it's only 33-50% efficient. If she's worried about gas, get a natural gas detector, about the same size as a smoke detector, but cost around $40. Also to pull the full 40-50 amps, you'd have to all 4 burners going at full blast plus the oven going too. That's maybe just once or twice a year.
Get 200 amp service. It'll open more doors down the road for the other things you'll inevitably want to add.
Cost for the range isn't the issue. I can run a line to the Range. My wife likes how easy it is to clean a electric stove....

I can put in a gas stove. My concern is if 100 amp will be sufficient for my needs.
100amp is plenty for us and our setup is comparable. I think you can do it easy. 100amp is the standard service to all the houses in this neighborhood.

*assuming your furnace is gas
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What about water heater? Well pump?

You could go with a gas dryer.

I have a high end gas range and I think most cooks prefer gas.
They have some hybrid I think, gas burners, electric oven.

I might go for a 200 amp panel with a 100 amp main and it will be less work when you want to go for the full 200 amps.

I have 200 amps and I have no A/C, oil hot water (heat and domestic), gas range and electric dryer and well pump.
You need to do a true load assessment. You know what equipment you have connected, so you need to identify current for that.

I'm assuming those connected loads will not change and are currently in use with that 60A service, so that may answer part of it. Is there a main 60a fuse?

For a home that size, 200A makes sense to me. However running new service is a big deal, so I can get the cost. Also, NEC 2014 at least requires AFCI in certain kitchen and bath circuits, so you'll be looking at some $50 breakers to do it right. So practical economics may dictate doing certain safety things versus running the higher service, especially if common sense indicates you're fine with 60 A today.
Our house has a 150 amp panel that was installed in the 90's (before we bought it). Is 150 amp an obsolete size?
Go with the 200 amp option. Too much is just right in this instance.
Amortized over your time there it'll likely pencil out.

Electric range? Not my preferred choice but if she's in charge of the kitchen you best do as she wishes!
Originally Posted By: dja4260
Bought a new house.

I thought you were planning to move out of the Chicago area. Or am I confusing you with another BITOGer?
You didn't say what the cost is for the 100 amp. I guess the new main wire and associated stuff runs the cost way up.

If the 100 amp is pretty cheap, you won't lose to much by going with 100 for now and wait and see about the 200 when you need it.

I would think you could re-use a lot of the breakers if you upgraded later. They are a considerable part of the expense no matter what the panel rating is.

I don't think the cost of a main box is really all that much, and that might be the only part you have to replace if and when you upgrade to 200.

There is no single appliance that will use more than 100 amps that I know of. You'll just be a bit limited on what you can run concurrently without blowing a fuse. It could happen, I guess, like if you had electric heat, stove, hot water all going at the same time.

Remember you're running on 60 now, so 100 is almost 2x that.
do you already have the electric stove? My cottage had a 60 amp service with all electric appliances. the house I grew up in had electric stove, central A/C, and 100 amp service. sure, you SHOULD put in a 200 amp service - but you can probably get by with 100 amp. obviously the big draws are the A/C and the range. my A/C in a house that size pulls 33 amps. I worked as a Journeyman electrician previously - and we worked in alot of houses with "just" 100 amp service.
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