Quantcast
Should I install a 400 amp or 200 amp service panel? - Homesteading Today
Homesteading Today

Come enter the Lehman's Aladdin Lamp Giveaway!

Go Back   Homesteading Today > General Homesteading Forums > Homesteading Questions


Like Tree4Likes
  • 1 Post By Ross
  • 1 Post By a'ightthen
  • 1 Post By wharton
  • 1 Post By Spotted Owl

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 05/20/12, 02:59 PM
WilliamsValley's Avatar
Registered Users
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: PNW
Posts: 21
Should I install a 400 amp or 200 amp service panel?

The electrical company told us they would put a 400 amp transformer on our pole for an additional $500-$600. We are getting power to our property for about $3000.00 so the $500-$600 would be an additional cost. It seems wise to me for us to pay the additional cost to at least bring in the 400 amp service. My question is this, do I need to install a 400 amp outdoor service panel or can I just install a 200 amp with the 400 amp service coming in to it? We may want to install an irrigation pump on our creek at a later date but do we really need a 400 amp service panel to do that? Our house will be around 1600 sq. feet and we will be adding a shop in the years to come. I hesitate in installing a 400 amp service panel because of the additional costs involved (More expensive panel, wire, etc), and I really don't know if we'll ever even use it. Any help/opinions would be appreciated!

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 05/20/12, 03:56 PM
Rick's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: West Central, West Virginia
Posts: 3,291
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamsValley View Post
The electrical company told us they would put a 400 amp transformer on our pole for an additional $500-$600. We are getting power to our property for about $3000.00 so the $500-$600 would be an additional cost. It seems wise to me for us to pay the additional cost to at least bring in the 400 amp service. My question is this, do I need to install a 400 amp outdoor service panel or can I just install a 200 amp with the 400 amp service coming in to it? We may want to install an irrigation pump on our creek at a later date but do we really need a 400 amp service panel to do that? Our house will be around 1600 sq. feet and we will be adding a shop in the years to come. I hesitate in installing a 400 amp service panel because of the additional costs involved (More expensive panel, wire, etc), and I really don't know if we'll ever even use it. Any help/opinions would be appreciated!
I'll be watching for answers along with you.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05/20/12, 04:08 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 9,627

How much power do you want? I have 200 amps and that is enough to run 3 houses but if you are doing much more the 400 amp would be nice. I doubt that you will get more than 200 amps service unless you have 3 phase to run some heavy machinery.

__________________

God must have loved stupid people because he made so many of them.

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05/20/12, 04:09 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,340

A 50hp (72000GPH) pump will only pull 92 amps. I doubt that you will ever use anything that large.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05/20/12, 04:28 PM
Registered Users
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 21

Could you upgrade later? If not I would have a tendency to overbuild. You never know how things will end up. I look at all of the 50 year old machine sheds that current tractors cannot fit in. You never know.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05/20/12, 04:32 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: ne colorado
Posts: 1,205

installed everything from 100 amp to 400 amp panels and the only place that ever needed 400 amp service was commercial business's. what all do you plan on having at your place--a commercial wood shop, butcher shop. most houses a 200 amp service is plenty even for most home business's. like wanda said pumps don't need a lot unless you get really big. that being said--years ago 100 amp sevice was plenty for a house, nowadays a 200 amp is needed. our power company rates are based on the transformer size, do you want to pay month after month for something your not using. one neighbor had the power company change his 200 amp transformer to a 150 to get a break on his bill every month, says that sometimes if everything is running he gets a brown out but he thinks thats a small price to pay for his monthly savings. make sure you know the long term costs not just the up front costs.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05/20/12, 04:34 PM
k9 k9 is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Michigan
Posts: 258

Is this just for a house, or a farm, or a factory? 200amps is a lot of power, but it depends on your load. In Michigan I put in 200, the power company told me that if I went above that at a residence they would charge me industrial rate.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05/20/12, 05:20 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 8,553

We have a 200 amp trailer pole on one side of the road and a 400 amp split meter box on the other side. Wonder if we have enough capacity?

The 400 amp side was done so that in case I wanted a shop for welding OR relatives had to retreat here the place would be all set for another double-wide - or two... or three...

Some depends on how your power company works. Instead of paying $200 for a trailer pole and 200 amp meter box, I had to buy the 400 amp meter box with two 200 amp breaker sets for $800, plus make the stand, etc.

If it is just a simple shop you plan, I'd likely go with just the 200 amp, and spend any extra on a transfer switch so you can add a generator later.

__________________

"Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's!" If you don't get the reference... Google it!

Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05/20/12, 05:21 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 13

I would get the 400 A pole transformer. Then put a 200 A service panel. I think that would be plenty. The 400A pole transformer would be a benefit if you severed your property. You could recoup your money and then some on your severed lot as they buyer could tap into the 400A PT.

Also, if you need more power in the future on top of your 200A, its right there at your fingertips so to speak.


I bought a cottage where the previous owners only got a 200A PT. There is two cottages on that PT so thats only 100A apiece....I cant run electric heat on 100A panel but would have if I had 200A available. Not worth it for me to change PTs.

Good luck.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05/20/12, 05:26 PM
Ross's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Ontario
Posts: 12,470

I would install the 400 amp service. Lets you run more dedicated lines and isolate (or split for multi circuit service) rooms. Doesn't mean you'll actually burn more electrons just let you mange your requirements better.

chickenslayer likes this.
__________________

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup........

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05/20/12, 06:10 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: NW Georgia
Posts: 5,717

I've gotten by on 200 amps, which services the house, garage, and one barn. That being said, if your budget allows, I'd opt for the 400 amps. Room for expansion is always a good thing.

__________________

"Luck is the residue of design" - Branch Rickey

Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05/20/12, 06:40 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,988

This farm only has a 100 amp service, and has never tripped a breaker, and I have arc welders, walkin cooler and walkin freezer, 4 chest freezers and other, well, 2 refrigerators and an whole AC for the house and three or 4 electric tank heaters for the stock water, (winter time)

I really doubt if you need a 400 amp service, and if you do need it you will not want to pay the bill,

If you want to isolate the power to each building then branch off your distribution pole and go from there,
(some of the buildings have breaker boxes with larger breakers than 100 amps, but that is for space not need for power)

each building has it own service only one (chicken house) is a true sub panel from another building. all is suppled from the distribution pole, (and that is a NEC approved method, to have a distribution point, or pole to supply, it is just like in the city where more than one house is supplied from one transformer, the difference is the meter is on the line from or at the transformer and then it is split up),

there is the house, barn, wood shop, generator shed/chicken house. and a line that goes over to the grain bins and wood granary,

__________________

Last edited by farminghandyman; 05/20/12 at 06:50 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05/20/12, 06:52 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Appalachia
Posts: 551

400 amps is serious chit.

Been licensed in 5 states, traveled the SE building stuff for 15+ yrs. Seen a chunk, done a chunk.

What makes you think that you need this? Curious as it seems to be quite an investment.

__________________
Going hungry ain't much of a plan
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05/20/12, 07:03 PM
highlands's Avatar
Moderator
HST_MODERATOR.png
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
Posts: 6,994

I don't need it but for a mere $600 additional cost I would install 400Amp. Might need it in the future and it will be far more expensive to install then. For us it is a mile and a half of our own wire. We could only get 200Amp. For an additional $50,000 we could have gotten more.

__________________

SugarMtnFarm.com/blog -- Pastured Pigs, Poultry, Sheep, Dogs and Kids

Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05/20/12, 07:17 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Appalachia
Posts: 551
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ross View Post
I would install the 400 amp service. Lets you run more dedicated lines and isolate (or split for multi circuit service) rooms. Doesn't mean you'll actually burn more electrons just let you mange your requirements better.
The 200 amp service is mainly to incorporate 40+ circuits. 180 watts/device, dedicated laundry circuits, small appliance branch circuits etc .... I'll walk this pup into the ground. 150 amps is basically sufficient for the typical resident.

400 amps is to the extreme .... mainly installed to accommodate larger homes and the number of circuits required .... not use, back to the number of devices allowed per circuit.

200 will spin the world for most folks. If you have bigger plans, proceed. If you desire to exist in a frugal means, abstain.
Sawmill Jim likes this.
__________________
Going hungry ain't much of a plan
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05/20/12, 07:19 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 6,815

Do you have electric heat, cook stove, washer dryer, well and water heater true running amps is still less than a 100amps . A 55 kva transformer is 250amps at 220 volt To get to a 400 amp the transformer would be a 88kva lots of the transformers have the kva stamped on the outside .

On a regular house and small shop it would be hard to run full amp load on a 200 amp breaker box which would be close to 180 contiguous amps . Most would have to turn everything they had on at the same time and borrow another device or two from the neighbors .And they would send you a electric bill every week for fear you would faint otherwise .

Here the electric Co supply's the transformer for which i am happy as i blew a old one at the sawmill .I shop built a 220 single phase to 3 phase converter and smoked that old transformer on start up .

I can run at the house a $350.00 electric bill not pulling near the max load on a 200 amp box so if you need more amps i hope you got a gold mine in the back yard

__________________

Check it Out O added another Plank With O care
http://www.libertyzone.com/Communist...to-Planks.html

Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05/20/12, 07:48 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 6,815

Unless you are going to split that 400 amp at some point ie two 200amp 40ct boxes on your wall or a different set up of some sort A 400amp service when you get to the riser and meter base it will require 300 or 400 MCM wire which will not fir in a 200 amp breaker . So i think someone is missing some numbers somewhere .

Next why have a 400 amp transformer feeding a 200 amp box the only advantage on the transformer is to pull to another service off it . Also if i bought the transformer i would want exclusive use of it in whighting

__________________

Check it Out O added another Plank With O care
http://www.libertyzone.com/Communist...to-Planks.html

Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05/20/12, 10:58 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 9,627

In our area they set a 500 amp transformer as the small one they have to offer. But what I was referring to was the service meter and breaker box. Once you put a breaker box they will put a transformer of their choosing. Any thing before the meter is their problem not yours.

__________________

God must have loved stupid people because he made so many of them.

Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 05/20/12, 11:08 PM
HermitJohn's Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 7,534

As others pointed out, you'd have to be very wealthy to ever pay the bill if you were seriously using a 400A service. That would be large farm or small factory level of use. Or some crazy rich guy with a house so large it required a serious staff to run it.

__________________

"What would you do with a brain if you had one?" -Dorothy

"Well, then ignore what I have to say and go with what works for you." -Eliot Coleman

Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 05/21/12, 05:19 AM
pheasantplucker's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,056

I have 100 amps. Seems like plenty for a non-industrial facility.

__________________

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow the fields of those who don't."-Thomas Jefferson

Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 05/21/12, 08:39 AM
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: northcentral MN
Posts: 13,678

I've got 100 amp and I've never come close to maxing it out.

__________________

"Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?" Hobbs
"I'm not sure that man needs the help." Calvin

Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 05/21/12, 02:55 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 670
Quote:
Originally Posted by a'ightthen View Post
The 200 amp service is mainly to incorporate 40+ circuits. 180 watts/device, dedicated laundry circuits, small appliance branch circuits etc .... I'll walk this pup into the ground. 150 amps is basically sufficient for the typical resident.

400 amps is to the extreme .... mainly installed to accommodate larger homes and the number of circuits required .... not use, back to the number of devices allowed per circuit.

200 will spin the world for most folks. If you have bigger plans, proceed. If you desire to exist in a frugal means, abstain.
This is correct. Most folks confuse available amperage and breaker space as being equal values. When you get involved with engineering for actual load usage, reality is that you only use a fraction of the available amperage to operate a typical home, small farm or homestead. In other words there really is no possibility that the average homeowner is ever going to pull 200 amps of load at one give time. Maybe a peak of 90-130, or so, if an electric heater, dryer and baseboard heat all happen to be calling for juice at a given moment. A 200 amp service is more than enough for 99.5% of users, and a cheap 100 amp sub-panel solves the issue of available breaker space and puts the power where it's needed. For example I have a 200A 40 circuit main in my home that is full. I added a 30 circuit 100 amp sub next to it, and another 100 amp sub, 110' away in the garage. I'll never use 100 breaker spaces available, or draw 200 amps, but it's a cheap way to distribute power and end up with breakers where they are needed.
Wanda likes this.
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 05/21/12, 04:28 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 8,553

wharton, I'll add to your comments if you don't mind.

You don't ever want to get usage near the actual capacity of your panel and electrical entrance.

In Florida, our house had a 150 amp panel. The problem was that it was all electric. Electric heat pump (fan and compressor), electric range and oven, electric water heater, electric washer and dryer, electric dishwasher, electric pool pump, electric irrigation pump, some serious electric light, especially in the kitchen and around the pool, computers tvs and other electronics.

The system was enough maxed out that there were no heat strips (electric furnace) in the heat pump ducting. When it was a hot day and everything was running at once, the load was pretty large.

At one point, a breaker had tripped and I was out at the panel to reset it and I noticed that parts of the panel were too hot to touch and that the meter box was hot. We went into "don't use the power!" mode and I called an electrician from work. He came out, opened things up and the insulation on the cable going from the meter box to the breaker box had overheated, charred, and was about a day away from a direct short - PRIOR to the breakers, meaning that there would have been no way to fight that fire safely.

My father was well aware of the problems with under-rated entrances. Back in the early 1960s, he put a 200 amp entrance in our home, when it was the same over-building as putting a 400 amp entrance in one today.

I do not expect electric consumption patterns to increase over the next twenty years, in fact I suspect that they may fall as electronics get smaller and appliances more efficient. My point is that having the extra capacity is a safety factor.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 05/21/12, 07:16 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: New Jermany
Posts: 557

I added a waste water pretreatment plant to a 14,500 sq foot trucking terminal. We pulled in another 200 amp service...

They had covered our offices and 5 tenants, 6 shop bays w/ welders and plasma cutters, boiler room and 4 wash bays w/ multiple pumps, etc. on the original 200 amps.

__________________
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 05/21/12, 10:59 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: U. S. A.
Posts: 169

Don't do it.

A 200 and/or 400 amp panel can be run from the same transformer. The service wire is the only difference. 200 they'll probably run #2, for the 400 they'll probably run 2/0. The same 10 kva tub and up, will pump either and do it all day long for years to come. Have them put in 2/0 service wire then you can upgrade your side when ever you want and the utility side will already be covered. Don't let them sell you on the idea over over loading the can either, our company routinely runs at 150% to 200% loading to cut down on the tariff charges, it saves them money not you.

I work at a local utility in the NW and our estimators try to sell this all the time. Usually the customer doesn't say anything to us, but when they do us guys on the crew explain this very thing to them. When they call the office ---- and ask then the realize that they were about to be taken to the cleaners. Most always they opt for the 2/0 service wire. They go from there, as their needs/wants arise. It's also based on your 240v loading not the 120v per leg side so don't let them get you there either

FYI, from a guy that hangs transformers everyday and has worked utility crews for 16+ years.



Owl

Space Cowboy likes this.
__________________
Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:07 AM.