Q: We want to upgrade our electrical service from 100 amps to 200 amps. What is a reasonable price to expect to pay for an electric upgrade? The project will also require moving the meter to the outside of the wall it’s currently on.
A: Upgrading the electrical service to any home, whether 200 amps or more, requires disconnecting and then reconnecting the power line to the home, installing a new meter socket outside and replacing the circuit breaker panel. The meter socket is the box on the outside of your house that holds the glass-encased meter. Who owns the electric meter itself? Sometimes it’s the utility company and other times it’s the homeowner. Your electrician should know.
The electric company, and not the electrician, must disconnect and reconnect the power line. Your home will lose power during part of the process, but a good electrician will know how to minimize this time.
Upgrading to 200 amps generally costs $1,500 to $3,000 for a 2,600-square-foot home. For 400 amps or more, the price rapidly increases. Some electricians advise installing a whole-house surge protector, which adds $150 to $500 to the cost. The protection to your circuit breaker panel and home is worth the cost.
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Take time to find an experienced, licensed electrician who can pull the proper permits and work with your local electric company. It’s not just an issue of safety; homeowners usually will not be able to go through the correct channels to get their power transferred.
Angie Hicks is founder of www.AngiesList.com, provider of consumer reviews and services. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet with #AskAngie. Follow her @Angie–Hicks.