Reuben's Home Inspection Blog

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Will your home inspector tell you if your electric service is too small?

Will your home inspector tell you if your electric service is too small?
30 amp service

While it goes beyond the scope of a home inspection to perform load calculations, occasionally I'll do a rough calculation if I get concerned that an electric service is too small for a house.  If the service size from my rough calculation comes up too close to the actual service size, I'll recommend having an electrician perform an official load calculation... and I think I've done this twice.  Ever.

At nearly every home inspection, I find one of two things:  either the electric service is outdated and obviously too small, such as the 30 amp service pictured at right, or the service has been upgraded or over-sized and is plenty large enough for the home.  I don't find much in-between those two.

I got to thinking about this while inspecting a 3,600 sf house in Plymouth for an old friend from high school.  This home had a 100 amp electric service, which seemed too small for that size of a house.  I considered recommending an electrician to do a load calculation on the house, but I first plugged in a few numbers at an online load calculator - http://www.electricalknowledge.com/SFDLoadCalc.asp .

I didn't have all of the exact numbers that I needed, so I guessed on a bunch of them, such as the VA ratings on the garage door openers, garbage disposer, dishwasher, and microwave.  I put in 1800 VA for each one of these, which is certainlyway too high, but it makes me feel better about guessing - at least I'm not guessing on the low side.

This home was heated with a gas furnace, had a gas clothes dryer, a gas water heater, and a gas oven.  The only major 240 volt appliance at this home was the air conditioner.  This is pretty common for a home in Minnesota.

Can you guess what the calculated service size was?  68 Amps.

Granted, my calculation probably wasn't perfect, and I'm not sure that this online load calculator was completely accurate, but this was enough to make me not worry about the service size.  When I took an electrical inspection class many years ago, we had to perform a lot of load calculations for fictional houses, and I learned enough to know that if most of the major appliances are gas, a 100 amp service is probably plenty enough.

I invite you to plug in the numbers from your own home at the online load calculator that I linked to above - you might be surprised at how small of a service you could actually get away with.  For the record though, the smallest allowable service for a new home today is 100 amps.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections

        

Comment balloon 62 commentsReuben Saltzman • October 11 2011 06:10AM

Comments

I always perform a quick calculation when viewing the panelboard. .if I see no more room for breakers and see double circuits . . I know it needs upgrading.. . 

I would thing the scope of a home inspection is a field test. . turn on all the lights , the diswasher and the A/C and if breaker start tripping. .is overloaded.

 

 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 7 years ago

Fernando - the test you describe might tell you if a particular branch circuit is overloaded, but it probably wouldn't tell you if the entire service size was overloaded.  

Have you ever seen a main breaker trip? 

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

I say it like this - if the house was built today, this would be your minimum service.  Then I add that our electrical usage grows an average of 7% a year, which means it doubles every 10 years.  But, when more amperage is added, often a different distribution needs to be wired as well.  That provides opportunity to service rooms, or locations, better, like the media room or office.  Modern is modern, and small panels/service are not. 

To me, even if it isn't immediately necessary, like your 68amp calculation, it is logical and always better to be ahead then behind.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Interesting information. I think Jay's comments about usage growth is an interesting consideration as well. Thanks.

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Interesting post. My inspector always checks the electrical box and they have often found problems (even on new construction). Amazing that double our electrical usuage every 10 years.

Posted by K.C. McLaughlin, Realtor, e-PRO, Homes for Sale - Cary, Raleigh NC (RE/MAX United) about 7 years ago

I certainly don't get as deep into it as you, but when I see a small service like 60 amp, I recommend an upgrade. I think many people are under the impression they need a big service like 200 amp. Truth is the 200 amp panels were being used due to the extra room for all the additional circuits the electric codes call for in modern construction. Newer 100 amp panels have been expanded, so I see 100 amp services more often in newer homes built in the last few years. Bottom line is most things electric are more efficient, like newer A/Cs than in the past. You don't generally need anything more than a 100 amp service for the averaged sized home.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay - wow, 7% per year is a staggering number.  Where does that number come from?  I would think the number would be much lower than that, or possibly even negative, with the proliferation of more efficient air conditioners, furnaces, light bulbs, etc...

I do agree with you though, bigger is certainly better.  

Gary - Yes, I'm very curious about why our consumption is growing so much.  I certainly understand that we have many more electronic devices today than we used to, but 7% more usage per year for a single family home... again, wow.

K.C. - thankfully, I find very few electrical defects on new construction... but still enough to make it worth checking.

James - I rarely plug those numbers in.  I only do it when I'm really concerned.  Like you, I always recommend an upgrade when I find a 60 amp service.  

Also, you're certainly right about the panel limitations; I wrote about that in an article that was published in the ASHI Reporter earlier this year.  In 2008, the old rule that limited a 100 amp panel to 20 circuits went away, so now a 100 amp panel can have a much more realistic number of branch circuits.

Harold - your best friend's mom sounds like quite a gal :P

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Interesting, Reuben.  I've called the power company too to see what the average daily usage is, and I've found that people are often a lot lower than they think.  That's one nasty looking service!

Posted by Mike Cooper, Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 7 years ago

Mike - I'm curious what the average daily usage is.  I bet I could get there by going over a few of my past bills and doing some math, but that sounds like a lot work :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

And the buzzer sounds!   Ehhhhhhhh!  Negative you say my dear Salzman?  Ehhhhhhhh!  My electric company is a cooperative (I get about a 2 months rebate a year from my membership, which is very cool!) and I get these little blurb pamphlets that say things like our electric usage, generally speaking, increases about 7% per year and then offers energy-saving tips.  Just employ the 72 rule to know how quickly things double.  The 72 rule is used in finance a lot to show how quickly, or slowly, your money will double in a given investment.

Sure we have energy-saving devices, but we have MORE of them.  How many TVs did you have 20 years ago?  DVDs?  Computers?  Wiis?  Electrical stuff?  And a lot of our appliances now draw energy 24/7.

And what will we be using in 20 years?  How much will those things draw?  Certainly, we can't imagine that.  So, I recommend the upgrade.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Hi Reuben: I sold a home the other year to the nicest couple... they owned second and third homes, a large boat but their amp service was 68... not conforming to local minimum standards.. it must be at least 110 amps here... so we arranged for a credit tot he buyers who upgraded to 220.... no worries!

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) about 7 years ago

Thanks for the link Rueben. Every once in awhile for FHA appraisals I come across a house that seems like the service is too small-now I have a site to help give me a rough estimate. Very much appreciated!

Posted by Michael S. Bolton, MN Appraiser (Michael S. Bolton,Inc.) about 7 years ago

I did have a inspector tell a client that the house did not have near enough amps. It ended up being a bone of contention to because the seller was low on money and already had to reroof the home as well. The deal did go through but I was nervous until I got to the closing table!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Yikes Jim!  On new construction here, the "average"-sized home, whatever that means, is getting two 200amp panels, each half filled.  When asked why I tell my buyers that they are anticipating future needs/use.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

An average sized home is 2000 sq. ft. About 50 years ago it was 1000.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Reuben, its always better to under utilize the service, but is there a safety factor to know how much to add for an upgrade?

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 7 years ago

Wonderful information Reuben...i love following the home inspector around & learning things...it is the same here on AR!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Another thing, a service is sized based on what is to be installed in the house, outlets, appliances etc., so I would tend to trust that the electricians are appropriately sizing the services based on their calculations.

No?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Thanks again for great information. I am always amazed when buyers automatically think they need 200 amp service when the 100 amps is fine.  In one case, they actually called in an electrician to evaluate the panel, and it turned out to be the same electrician who recently installed it.  So he was able to explain to the buyers how things worked and why it was OK.  

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) about 7 years ago

I have done the same as Gay mentioned - if the system doesn't meet standards, then we ask the seller to pay for an upgrade.  I know that most buyers need a larger service due to the computers, etc. they all use.  :)

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) about 7 years ago

I sometimes see electrical systems using fuses in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I often see knob and tube.

Good stuff, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) about 7 years ago

Not sure Jim.  It seems to me that the builders just have a blanket 400amp policy.  The County likes it too, according to what they have told me.

My mom's 1951 cape cod cracker box, built to help with the post WWII baby boom, had a 60amp fuse box when I sold it when she died in the 80s!  1000amps?  I have never seen that around here.  You New Englanders have different stuff!

But at least Uncle Bob shows up...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Fascinating subject..one of many in this business...I had an electrician come out to a 50 year old home and tell me to upgrade if I didn't want any future problems. The amount charged made so much sense too. Good one

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 7 years ago

Reuben great post as always.  The size of panels today has as much to do with having enough places to put all the circuits than in the main breaker/panel size itself.  In your average 2000 sq ft house, unless it is all electric, the chances of ever using 100 amps, all at once, is pretty small.  I don't know that I have ever heard of anyone tripping a main breaker due to normal loading.  For one thing you would almost never likely have everything running at start-up amperages at the same time.  Big houses have a gazillion circuits---it does not mean they are going to get used astronomically more.  It is more meaningful to look at the "minimum" amperage draws of appliances---like what is stated on every HVAC unit---or on an electric furnace.  All gas houses under 100 sq ft would likely be fine on 60 amps---it is just that the panels are too small to accommodate the number of circuits required by current standards.  That said, I pretty sure the minimum allowed today is 100amps---but don't quote me on that :)

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

@Jay.  According to the World bank, per-capita electric use made a steady climb between 1960 and 2000 with use doubling every 20 years.  But by the time we get to 2008 it had leveled off---and even dipped slightly just prior to 2008.  Of course these are world figures and we all know about the conspicuous consumption of the US.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 7 years ago

Reuben,  The importance of a home inspection cannot be stressed enough. It is also important to make necessary repairs/corrections as recommended by the home inspector.  Knowing about the deficiencies in a home is one thing .... taking the steps to correct them are another.  I always follow up with my clients and asked if they had such and such corrected? 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) about 7 years ago

It seems we've seen more of upgrades to the electric that were not done correctly. That's a safety issue. Then old outdated panels. That's a potential safety issue. I always stress the safety side for my buyers and the home inspectors are the best judge of that. Great post and keep up the good work.

Posted by The Derrick Team - Indy Metro Realtors, Your Pet Friendly Realtors (Carpenter Realtors) about 7 years ago

Thanks for such an interesting post. It got me thinking more about when I had to upgrade the electrical service for a 4-plex I own in Kansas because a tenant kept blowing circuit breakers by overloading the 60 amp service to the 540 sqft unit. Really makes me wonder what all they were running in that tiny place that caused daily breaker trips.  It won't happen any longer now that I have upgraded panels for all units!

Posted by Reba Haas, Team Reba, CDPE (Team Reba of RE/MAX Metro Eastside www.TeamReba.com) about 7 years ago

Reuben, this is interesting. I live in the country on 5 acres, no gas pipelines out here. Everything is electric. I'll have to check out this load calculator and see how we do. My house was built 4 years ago so I'm assuming the electrician who installed the house would have done this. Good to know.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay - Two 200 amp panels is standard in your area?  Medeco locks being installed like... what did you say... pancakes or something?  There must be a lot of money in your area that people just can't figure out what to do with ;) 

Gay - those are some very unusual electric service sizes that I've definitely never come across before.  I'm glad you were able to work out a solution for your buyer.

Michael - I think that after you do a couple rough estimates, you'll begin to realize that the majority of electric services out there are way oversized.

Rosalie- I'm glad you could work through it.  Upgrading an electric service isn't cheap.

James - ever seen a 2000 sf house with two 200 amp services?  Ever?  I haven't.  They don't know what to do with their money in VA ;)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Reuben, if an inspector doesn't say something about the capability of the electrical service, I make sure to ask him to explain it for the benefit of my clients. Btw, that's a cool picture of the old school electrical panel.

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) about 7 years ago

Reuben -- great information - thanks for the link.    Regarding James (#19) comment - my son bought a new house a few years back and the entire master suite was on one 15 amp circuit (bedroom receptacles, light, bathroom lights, fan, receptacles) which we thought was very questionable.

 

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 7 years ago

Charlie - world usage, schmorld usage.  That don't count...  and my electric coop pamphlets don't agree!

Reubs - I had my locksmith, whom I have known and bowled with for over 25 years, install three Medecos for $600, plus 3 keys (each lock came with two).   That included keying all the locks the same.  You think that's expensive?  I have many stealable (is that a word?) things in my house worth much more than that.  My family members are worth more than that (oh, wait, I have tons of insurance on them...).  Crap, all the TVs in my house cost more than that (except the one over my head in my office, a mere 20" and cheap).  $600 ain't expensive.

And yes, on single-family homes, not townhomes, I am routinely seeing two 200amp boxes.  Large townhomes, all electric, are getting two 150amp boxes.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Good Information, Reuben! Interesting discussion is following, too. Thanks for sharing!
Bruce

Posted by Bruce Kunz, REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale (C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100) about 7 years ago

As a designer I do load calculations on every job.  All newer houses here are 200amp.  Many use the 400amp on large customs mostly for the number of breaker spaces.  The trend, at least during the boom, has been to install the electrical outlet at all the major appliances even if gas was available.  That way the owner has the option.  The panel then has to be sized as if the owner wasn't using the gas.  Our air conditioning loads are slightly higher here in sunny Arizona.  I am sure that makes a difference.  The only load calculations I have done that came in under 100amps were for 600 sf guest houses.

Posted by Loren Green, Phoenix Home Inspector & Designer (Greens Home Design L.L.C.) about 7 years ago

Reuben - I think I've seen inspectors comment on this before or perhaps just that the box should be replaced.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 7 years ago

Reuben:

I haven't tried your link yet, but I will.  Thanks for providing it.  It is good information for me and my clients.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 7 years ago

Michael - if my rough 'overestimated' calculation gets me to within 10% of the maximum service size, I'll recommend having an official load calculation done.  The load calculation basically gives a worst case scenario already, so there is no need for an additional safety factor.

Ginny - Thanks!

James (again) - I certainly trust electricians as well.  I start to question things a little more when I find circuit breakers of an improper brand used at the panel, tandem breakers used when the panel isn't made for them... you know.

Peggy - I have no problem with 200 amp services, and if I were updgrading I would probably put one in, but I certainly wouldn't do it if I already had a service that was plenty large enough.

Joy - I enourage you to try the online load calculator that I included a link to.  I think you'll find that having a bunch of electronic devices in the home won't make much of a difference on the overall calculated load.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Richie - thanks.

Charles - yes, 100 amps in the minimum allowed today.  At my last house, I had a 100 amp service with a 100 amp panelboard, which had the old circuit limitation of 20 circuits for the panelboard.  I used seven separate circuits in my kitchen remodel alone - (2 - ctops, 1 - fridge, 1 - microwave, 1 - lights, 1 - disposer, 1 - dishwasher).  While I certainly could have updgraded my electric service to accomodate my need for additional circuits, a simple load calculation told me I needed a 51 amp service.

That was an easy call - add a 100 amp subpanel.

Kathleen - I always want to follow up with my clients... 

Connie & Dennis - thanks.

Reba - I'm sure it was multiple hair dryers :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

I did.  I tried to include my double oven and couldn't figure out the kwV.  It kept throwing it out saying I had a really large oven.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Tammie - with everything being powered by electricity, I'm sure you need a pretty large service.

Eric - thanks, I was pretty shocked when I found that 30 amp service.

Steven - today's standards would at least require at 20 amp circuit for the bathroom outlets, or a dedicated 20 amp circuit for the bathroom.

Jay - You're living the high life.  No question about it.  I guess I just don't have much stuff worth stealing :)

Bruce - thanks for reading.

Loren - wow.  I would love to see one of the worksheets to figure out what puts the required loads so high.

Fullmalls - thank you so much for telling me about all these great deals.  I can't wait to click on your links and tell all my friends and family.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Jay - why am I not surprised? ;)

Christine - I've told many home buyers to replace their panels.  No question about it.

Evelyn - thanks.

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Here is the post on my oven.  The first one lasted 13 years!  That sucker took me five months to pay off!  Not exactly the high life.  We have a gas cook top on the island and a double electric oven.

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2350268/please-box-it-up-for-me

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

I believe that post prompted you to check yours, if I remember right. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

@ Jay 1000 amps? That was sq. ft silly boy :)

My take on big electrical services is the same in as the over sized heating systems I find in the large majority of homes. My heating system is being replaced very soon. It is twice as large as necessary. So the blanket builder policy in your area is probably due to consumer perceptions. How many times does a customer ask, think they need to upgrade the electrical ssytem in the house? Pretty often, right? Perception drives the market, wouldn't you say?

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

I find that a lot of the time the basements have not been finished.  You said that the average house is 2000 sq ft.  The houses I am seeing are 4, 5-6K, without the basement finished.  It might be that the local codes demand it for certain square footages, I don't know.  It doesn't matter to me.  More space makes it easier to expand and finish, add wine cellars and saunas, etc.

As to heating and AC, bigger isn't necessarily better.  Unless you have a boiler, returned air is very important.

Oh, I reread your comment and it was sq ft!  Sorry...

But wow, 1000amps!!  Although, I just did a mansion in McLean VA a few weeks ago with six 200 amps boxes in the garage!  The entry way was bigger than my house and looked Smithsonianesque.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

We don't see 100 amp services on homes here very much. 200 amp is common for a residential home and 100 amp panels are seen in apartments and condos.

Rarely we come across 60 amp services and they are on old dwellings where heating, hot water and cooking are done with oil or gas systems.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

Rueben,

Great post, and fun comments. If I saw a 100amp service here I would most definitely be calling for further evaluation ; ) It all electric.

If any upgrade is performed I would thin going to 200amp 40place would be my recommendation on any home for just the reason Charlie points out. It may not be the actually amperage needed by the home but just the amount of circuits. Plus the cost is relatively cheap at that time.

Plus if you have one of them older services the age alone is enough to warrant evaluation, electrical components age just like everything else.

When I built my home I did my load calc's and I ended up exceeding 200amps. Now I have a electrical boiler for my radiant system, that could if, at full load take a big chuck of that capacity. So this is a special scenario.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

I have seen everything from 30 AMP up to one dual 200 Amp. Of course the 30, 60 and a few 100's are fuse while breaker panels seem to come in 100, 125, 150 and 200. In general it seems finance companies and insurance companies are leery of 30's and 60's and insurance companies don't like fuses.

I typically recommended up grading any 30 or 60 Amp system but a 100 Amp fuse box is statistically probably slightly safer than a similar sized breaker panel (properly sized fuses will melt while properly sized breakers will almost always trip) and provides adequate power for the vast majority of homes in this area.

The objection I voiced to clients was one of convenience. Fuses are a PITA ("Honey, did you remember to get that box of blue fuses I asked you about?") plus they don't come in GFCI and AFCI versions to the best of my knowledge.

Posted by Marshall Brown, BSEE, CHI (Mid America Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Interesting post, which confirms that an electrical inspector should be used to inspect the system.

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 7 years ago

Reuben,

Thank you for the post! I look forward to playing with the numbers. Recently I had a question about the amp service  at one of my listings by a prospective buyer and no-one had the answer... I even called the electic company - they had no record. Just based on the number of major electric appliances (A/C, electric stove, oven, central vac, well pump, size of home, etc.), I assumed it was 200 amps, but the box looked small. I could not give the buyer a definitive response. He was concerned with the possibility of having to upgrade the service based on his plans for the home, which could be costly. My box at home clearly states the amp's, but I guess older boxes do not. 

Posted by Olga Simoncelli, CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management (Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Very interesting...It seems like the inspectors here do a visual on the electric panel and do mention if it seems adequate.  Newer construction does have 200 amps.  Most of the older homes seem to have 100 amp boxes.  I have seen two 100 amp boxes in some updtes, but I don't know if that is to code today.

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) about 7 years ago

Hi Reuben Saltzman,  Any home inspector worth his "Saltzman" better tell me if the service is too small!

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) about 7 years ago

I just re-read your comments and realized you were mentioning my Medeco locks and not my ovens!  Sorry.  I'm slow on the uptake.

Medeco locks are selling "like pancakes" around here because of a crime wave of home invasions and burglaries involving our new friends from a couple of different continents.  I mentioned in those burglary posts a while ago.  For a reason!  This is a bad area for that because, as you mention, we live the "high life."  Compared to those jerks invading homes we are in fact living the high life. This has been, and is, a huge problem.

These predatory practices involve moving vans and smash ins.  With Medeco locks the doors cannot be opened from inside or out.  So it makes it more difficult to empty a house.  And that is what has been happening.

I did an inspection just yesterday on a cul-de-sac where the homeowner had foiled a moving van plot.  He lured them in making them think the house was vacant.  It was not.  It was occupied by the police.  He did us all a good service.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay - I remember that post about ovens :-).  I made a little joke about having a copper tube feeding the electrical to my oven... but as you know, it was a gas oven.  Ha ha.

That's terrible news about the break-ins in your area.  There were a fair amount of burglaries in my old neighborhood, which bordered on North Minneapolis, but those weren't planned out break-ins.  It was little punks that would take advantage of unlocked doors.  

I hope I never have to resort to putting Medeco locks on my house.

James - perception is huge.  If every other house on the street has a 200 amp service... well, then you should have one too.

Robert - in newer communities, I find mostly 150 or 200 amp services on single family homes.  It certainly makes sense to put in a larger panel to accomodate future needs.

Anonymous - You might want to read the second half of this post.

Donald - with an all electric service, heck yes.  You have an electric boiler?  I've heard of 'em, never actually seen one.  

I once saw an electric tankless water heater - that thing used three 40-amp 240 volt circuit breakers.  I've gotta think your boiler uses something similar...

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Marshall - you're right about all those things.  I wrote a post on fuse panels a few years ago - http://activerain.com/blogsview/929691/what-s-wrong-with-fuse-panels-

Kimo - huh?

Olga - Some older services are certainly difficult to determine the amperage on.  I've found that if the amperage isn't clearly labeled, it's almost a sure thing that the service size is 100 amps or less.\

Karen - yes, two 100 amp panels would be perfectly acceptable.

Bob - yeah, we're definitely worth our saltz, man :)

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

My problem with the key is that I also have Medeco keys on my ring for the church building! They all look exactly alike!

I don't get them mixed up though, because the house Medeco is surrounded by two Redskin keys I need for the house also.

By the way, thanks again for McNabb.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Quebec is an electricity producer and exporter, so prices are stable. The default energy source here is naturally electric. This means higher R value insulation, and panels large enough to accommodate electric heating and future expansion.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

I agree 100 amp service is the most common expecially if there are gas appliances .  I would be more concerned with the condition of the service panel

Posted by Michael Singh,Broker (Singh Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Great post and thanks for the tip and the weblink. Always appreciate your posts!

 

Posted by Jayson Holland, Jay Holland (Listings.com) almost 7 years ago

Reuben, building in Maryland on an average house always used a 200 amp service. Is that standard in Minn. or do they use something less like the 100 in your example. We didn't have a lot of gas usage, oil mainly, but also a combination of propane and natural if it was piped.

Posted by Winston Heverly, GRI, ABR, SFR, CDPE, CIAS, PA (Winston Realty, Inc.) almost 7 years ago

Thank you for sharing your blog; we need Real estate Professionals to share their comments and information regarding their markets and experiences. Thanks again from beautiful Sunny San Diego.

Posted by Paul Gapski, 619-504-8999,#1 Resource SD Relo (Berkshire Hathaway / Prudential Ca Realty) almost 6 years ago

Participate