No announcement yet.

Cost of 400 AMP Install

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Cost of 400 AMP Install

    I'm a carpenter by trade, I only possess basic knowledge for electric.

    My wife and I are doing some renovations in the near future, we're adding a heated pool, hot-tub, and re-doing the kitchen, along with a bunch of recessed lighting through-out our home. No I am not doing any of the electric, this will be done by a licensed electrical contractor.

    Here is the situation, our 200 amp electric panel is full, and one electrician we had out suggested installing 400 amp service, breaking it down into 2 @ 200 amp panels.

    We live in Chester County, PA - can any of you provide me a ball-park cost to remove the old service panel and install 2 new 200 amp panels.

    The electrician said he would take out the old 200 amp panel - as some of the breakers were broken down into slim-line breakers (2 breakers in one slot). He said he will rewire the panels, and not use any slim-line breakers.

    Thanks for your time, again, we're just trying to get a ball-park cost so we have something to go by when we get quotes from several electricians.


  • #2
    Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

    I'm questioning several things you appear to have been told.

    Did they actually do a load calc, and determine that you actually need 400 amp service? If your heated pool is electrically heated, I suspect you might need that much. Otherwise, 200 amps will support a lot of house.

    The fact that your panel is full is unrelated to how large a service you need. The service is sized to the actual load, not to the number of breakers you have.

    I'm wondering why he wants to remove your existing 200 amp panel, and replace it with another 200 amp panel. Is there something wrong with the existing panel? There are certain brands that it is wise to get rid of because they are unreliable and dangerous, such as FPE and Zinsco. Otherwise, the fact that there are dual breakers in the panel is not a reason to replace it.

    The usual way to deal with a full main panel is to add a subpanel. You leave the existing panel as it is, and feed a second panel from it. It there is too much stuff in the main panel, you can move some of it to the subpanel (such as bringing the dual breakers back down to singles).

    There may be good reasons why the guy is suggesting replacing the panel and going to 400 amp service. However, judging only from what you posted (which doesn't even include the footage of the house), it sounds like the guy making the job bigger than it needs to be.


    • #3
      Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

      Ditto Solar Power’s post.
      Give us more info for a better guess.

      It might be a good idea to get several bids and look each over for the details.

      Remember the words of my Pappy, “sit 10 men in a room and at least one is a thief one a liar and one that can be trusted. The other seven are there just to hear the preacher.”
      Seeking to be the best and the safest in the electrical trade.


      • #4
        Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

        I would have to agree with the above. Ask the electrician to perform a load calc and provide it to you to determine if you need a new panel. Otherwise just run a subpanel to reduce the number of slim line breakers.



        • #5
          Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

          In my area the POCO's will not install a service larger than 200 amps without a load calculation. And, just because you arbitrarily want a 400 amp service doesn't mean you'll get one. They make you justify your requirements. Also, if you're in an overhead service area the size of the triplex cable going from the pole to your house would be too large and probably rip the strain relief hook off the side of your house (probably why you don't see many of these in residential areas). If you're in an undergaroud service area the feeders for your existing 200 amp service are probably 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum in 2" conduit coming into your outdoor 200 amp meter pan. A 400 amp service will require 400 MCM copper or 600 MCM aluminum feeders. These will not fit into a 2" conduit. You'll have to excavate and lay in 4" PVC (at your expense, I might add).

          All 400 amp residential services that I've installed were fed underground in 4" conduits into a CT cabinet. Out of the CT cabinet I installed a 100 amp meter pan with a 1 1/4" galv. conduit nipple and the POCO installed a special electronic meter (with about 14 # 12's into the CT). To the best of my knowledge I don't think anyone makes a residential meter cabinet with lugs that will accept 400 MCM copper. If they do you'll have a hell of a time bending these wires into the lugs. Also, depending on the POCO, some will want the meter outside no matter what, while some want the meter located wherever the CT cabinet is.

          I can't even think about what the cost will be in your case. Obviously you don't want any extended interruption in service. Good luck with this. Personally speaking, I would take the sub-panel route if I could.
          Last edited by goldstar; 08-19-2006, 06:04 AM.


          • #6
            Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

            Hello Iam in a similar situation.

            I originally was going to have 2 200 amp panels put in as the planner for the electrical company came out suggested that a year ago when I was having the location upgraded.
            He suggested just add another.

            Come to find out the rules changed or the original planner had it all wrong.

            In order to run another 200 amp panel for a total of 400 amps I need to have a business as 2 panels with 2 meter are not allowed for one residence.

            Currently in my 200 amp panel I have a 130 amp draw for my electrical tankless water heater.

            Then I have a oven with a 35 amp draw.

            That does not include the rest of the house lights receptacles etc. washer 20 amps and dryer another 30 amps.

            The house is 1200 sq. feet .

            I want to run a 50 amp service off that panel for light out in the backyard and I want to run another 100-150 amp service to the standalone garage for the welder 65 amps, air compressor 30 amps .

            I currently have a new panel installed and a new panel in the box that I purchased but now I am dead in the water.

            in addition.

            If I was to go thru all the hassle of getting a business license any will do then they can do the extra panel with another meter for more money per KW of course.

            The planner also stated that I would need a gutter.

            correct me if iam wrong but is this aka a wireway.

            What do you the pros who chime in suggest.

            I would have loved to get the 400 amp panel if told to originally but said it would not be a problem to add another without problems.

            Obviously that was not the case.

            Can some one layout a proper method to get 400 amps out of a 200 amp panel.

            One guy suggested a 320 amp plug in meter and have 2 200 amp legs going to it . That may not go well with the electrical compaNY.

            The electrical company has approved it no problem and iam going underground.

            They will also give me a $3000 credit at their expense for the underground installation conduit labor wire 100 feet from the electrical pole be it a 400 amp panel or 2 200 amp panel or just one 200 amp panel.

            Location SAN BERnardino, CALIFORNIA


            • #7
              Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

              Get rid of that stupid tankless water heater.
              Problem solved.

              The go find the guy who suggested that you install it in the first place and kick him in the knee.


              • #8
                Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                Obviously you have never had a tankless water heater.

                I have had it for over 4 years with no problems and everybody who stays at my house is like whoa that shower kicks out the jams for heat and love it.

                They had the same ideal as you speedy petey those things suck.

                Until they tried it.

                Thing is they cannot afford it.

                Before the install .

                I went thru 3 brand new water heater.

                Yes I could return them but the hassles they gave me for every one was not worth it.
                They claimed installed it wrong and every excuse so that my claim was shut down. They did replace it but the labor to return it after removing it and down time for showers etc.

                Is a waste of time.

                The only people that I have found to hate a tankless water heater are those who try and go skimpy and buy a chepie off ebay.They are probably refurbished or seconds or something because anybody whose had had one knows what is up.


                • #9
                  Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                  Back to my question as stated before anybody out there have any good advice to do a panel upgrade with the same 200 amp panel. I was told a 320 amp socket with 2 200 amp legs.I just got off the phone with the local electricasl company.I told them about the 320 amp socket into a 200 amp panel.He said it might work but would have to see because the box overall depth on a 400 is more than the depth of a 200 amp box.

                  Anybody have any good thought out responses


                  • #10
                    Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                    In a residential installation the only way to go is with two 200's and a 320 meter pan. This has become a very common installation in recent years.

                    It still kills me that you need a 320/400 amp service in a 1200 sq/ft house simply to support one of those water heaters.

                    No sir, I have never had one nor will I ever. Yours is one of the only positive feedback stories I have ever heard with those hogs.


                    • #11
                      Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                      Siemens has some nice 400 amp Combo Meter Panels with provisions for either a 400 amp main breaker or two 200 amp main breakers. They are somewhere around $1000 and are available with up to 30 spaces.
                      I like to run subpanels on each floor, off of a Main Meter Panel so this is a nice solution.

                      If you like your existing 200 amp panel and it has enough spaces (30 or 40), add a 2nd one and move some circuits over to it. Otherwise replace it. You can find the Siemens "Rock Solid" panels 30 or 40 space panels for $100 or less if you look around.
                      HERS Rater • BPI Building Analyst • BPI Envelope Professional
                      Certified Green Building Professional • Certified Existing Home Advisor
                      General Building Contractor • Asbestos Certification • Hazardous Substance Removal Certification • EPA Approved Lead-Safe Contractor • Locksmith
                      PMP • ESEP • CISSP


                      • #12
                        Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                        By the way, I'm switching from 100 amp overhead to 200 amp underground and Edison is charging $2000 plus whatever it costs me to put in the underground conduit (17' run plus the pull box plus a 6' run from the pullbox to the pole), so there can be unexpected costs.
                        HERS Rater • BPI Building Analyst • BPI Envelope Professional
                        Certified Green Building Professional • Certified Existing Home Advisor
                        General Building Contractor • Asbestos Certification • Hazardous Substance Removal Certification • EPA Approved Lead-Safe Contractor • Locksmith
                        PMP • ESEP • CISSP


                        • #13
                          Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                          Ever think about a gas tankless heater? I mean seriously, I've seen 1,200 sq ft houses that have yet to max out a 100 amp panel.


                          • #14
                            Re: Cost of 400 AMP Install

                            Where I live, electric is the only option. No gas line and cannot place a propane tank.
                            An old battleax of a woman said to Winston Churchill, "If you were my husband I would put poison in your tea.". Churchill's response, "Ma'am if you were my wife I would drink it.".

                            -Winston Churchill