Do I Need 200-amp Service Electrical Panel?

You will need a 200-amp service for your electrical panel if your breakers are currently tripping due to overload, or if you plan to add additional appliances and equipment to your home. It will also help increase electrical safety, and available breakers and allow you to charge an electric vehicle on 200-amp service. 

With permitting prior to 2018, most new construction homes come standard with a 100-amp electrical panel, which may not be the best option for every home. Many older homes will either have a 60-amp or 100-amp service. With today’s size of new homes, and the number of appliances and entertainment devices – the traditional 100-amp may not be sufficient.

Fortunately, home builders do offer a 200-amp service as an upgrade. This home upgrade to the 200-amp service will cost on average $1,400. We recommend new construction homes upgrade to a 200-amp service – especially larger homes with basements.

If you find yourself renting out your basement to someone – they’ll come in with their own home appliances. These appliances, devices and entertainment plug-ins can quickly tap out a 100-amp service panel. Additionally, if you own or plan on owning an electrical vehicle – you’ll need 200-amp service for a Tesla charger.

So, how much does it cost to upgrade to 200 amp service? Existing homes with above-ground electrical service will have an average cost to upgrade of $1,800 to $5,200. Always work with an experienced and licensed electrician when upgrading your electrical panel.

A few factors to consider when deciding to upgrade your electrical panel include:

  • Square-footage of your home
  • Heating and cooling needs
  • The existence of hot tubs
  • Need for electrical vehicle charging units
  • Addition of solar panels
  • Addition of hot water heaters

200-amp Requirement after January 2018

If you’re wondering if a 200-amp service panel is required by the Ontario Building Code because your builder is charging for the new build upgrade – then don’t fret.

For homes part of subdivisions that are permitted after January 2018, the Ontario Building Code has been updated to include 200-amp service as a minimum requirement due to electric vehicle charging. This new requirement could add an additional $500 per new construction home in Ontario. Keep in mind that even if a home is being built in 2021, it may not fall under this requirement. This is because the subdivision permitting may have been issued prior to 2018 when the division started up.

What is a 200-amp Service Panel’s Capacity?

Every home has a main electrical line that comes in the home to offer electrical service. Your service panel will take the electrical service and distribute it through various breakers and circuits. This is to ensure that the wires in your home are able to handle the current.

A properly installed 200-amp service in a new construction home can be a safety feature against overloads and breaker outages. The larger your service panel capacity; the higher the number of appliances and devices that it can handle.

All new homes should be built with a 200-amp service, but builders commonly offer this as an upgrade. You can still upgrade an existing home from a 100-amp to a 200-amp, but it can come at a considerable cost to the homeowner.

Benefits of Upgrading to 200-amp Service

The benefits of upgrading to a 200-amp service panel include additional power capacity, increased breaker allowance, increased capacity for appliances and devices and safety against overloads.

We’ll take a look at the advantages of upgrading to 200-amp service:

Additional Power Capacity

By upgrading to a 2oo-amp service, your breaker will be able to handle greater power capacity. In an older home, the addition of a microwave could trip the breaker. However, when you have 200-amp service, you won’t have to worry about this.

Increased Breaker Allowance

With a larger electrical panel, you now have a greater breaker allowance. With more room for breakers, your electrical service can be split safely to your home. There is no need to overload any particular breaker just to send power to the many areas of your home.

For example, the outlets and lights in a room could be on a single breaker, while the master bedroom could have it’s own breaker.

Increased Capacity for Home Devices

Compared to a decade ago, there are many more devices and appliances in the average home. Most homes now have a full kitchen on the main floor, with an additional kitchen in the basement. A central AC unit and vacuum in the basement, with a hot tub in the backyard can all add loads to the panel.

Additionally, if you’re adding extra bathrooms and tubs in the home, and require an additional hot water heater – this too can require additional electricity.

With increased sales of Tesla, many homes are now becoming owners of Tesla vehicles. These electrical home charging units need 200-amp service in the home. Imagine purchasing a new construction home with 100-amp service, only to realize you need to upgrade your panel to bring in a Tesla.

We highly recommend making 200-amp service the standard in new construction homes. However, according to the OBC, this has become the standard in newly permitted subdivisions post-Jan 2018.

Increased Safety Against Overloads

With a higher capacity panel, you can ensure that power is safely distributed throughout the home with minimal risk of overloads and fires. When your home is running at capacity – the switch-on of a microwave or toaster oven can shut off the breaker. This will turn off everything that is running on that breaker.