If you have a basic understanding of electricity, you know that an 800-amp service is significant. In fact, you have probably never seen or heard of an 800A service. That begs the question.
What Does 800 Amp Service Mean?
800A service is a pair of 400A panels. You could also install four 200A branches. If you have an 800A service, bus bars carry a maximum of 800 amps.
This question doesn’t mean anything to the layperson because they cannot even identify the size of their amp service. To understand what an 800A service is, you must first understand the term ‘Amp Service.’
Utility companies use 120V or 240V wires to bring electricity into a home. Those wires deliver the current to an electrical panel that distributes the electricity to the various circuits.
According to The Spruce, your home’s electrical service has a specific capacity. That capacity reveals the maximum volume of electricity a home can expect to receive.
The bus bars in the cabinet of a home with an 800A service can carry as much as 800 amps. You have to know the size of the amp service because it will determine the number and strength of the appliances you can run.
Some people may decide to upgrade their electrical service because their current service cannot accommodate the load. Some of the symptoms that signify a need for an electrical service upgrade include frequent tripping, dimming lights, and crackling outlets. You should also increase the amp service if your outlets have started overheating.
If your house is new, the last thing you want is to spend money on an expensive electrical service when a cheaper option is more than adequate. Many homeowners hire contractors that can add up the wattage of all the appliances the consumer wants to run to identify a suitable electrical service.
Why Do I need 800-Amp Service?
800-amp services are significant. 30A and 60A services were the norm in the 1950s. But the demand for electricity kept increasing. Eventually, utility companies introduced 100A panels.
You can find them in numerous houses today. They can run all the fundamental devices you find in a traditional home. However, it has become more commonplace for homeowners to prioritize 200-amp services.
Many contractors will upgrade the electrical service from 100A to 200A whenever they undertake remodeling projects. 200A panels can operate some of the larger heating and cooling items in modern houses.
400-amp services are rare. You will be hard-pressed to find a 400A service in a home because most residential properties do not require that kind of power. The amp service is more likely to appear in a large house with massive, heavy-duty appliances like pools.
A 400A service would make your electrical system safer in such houses because you are less likely to overwhelm the circuit. Some people upgrade to 400A after observing signs which prove that the current amp service is insufficient.
Ultimately, you don’t need an 800A amp service because a 400A panel already provides more power than many homes need. You can install several 200A panels to provide power to multiple houses within proximity to one another or to accommodate an expansion.
What Is Required For 800-Amp Service?
If you want an 800-amp service, you can install four 200A breakers. Give each breaker a feeder to the cabinet. You can also install two 400A panels. The most crucial factor is to use cables of the correct size.
How Can I Get 800-Amp Service?
You don’t have to perform this task yourself. Talk to a licensed electrician. They will do all the heavy lifting. The contractor has to replace the meter base.
This is dangerous for the layperson. Even if you disconnect the power, things can still go wrong. And once you’re done, your work has to pass inspection. This is why electricians are so important.
First of all, in certain places, you cannot secure a permit to perform an upgrade unless you’re licensed to ply your trade-in in that area. Secondly, a licensed electrician knows what inspectors are looking for.
If you don’t pass inspection, you’re out of luck. The service provider cannot activate the electrical service until they get the relevant permissions from the inspector.
Additionally, the electrician knows all the cables, conduits, panels, and circuit breakers you need. You cannot do without them. Some utility companies will perform this upgrade for you.
They will install or increase your amp service before performing the relevant inspections.
Before hiring a licensed electrician, you should call your utility company. Some companies are cheaper than independent contractors. If you’re determined to install the amp service yourself, check the rules.
Do the local authorities permit homeowners to perform their own installations? If they don’t, you are breaking the law by refusing to hire a licensed electrician.
How Do I Know If I Have 800-Amp Service?
Start by checking the electrical panel. Manufacturers mark the main breakers with the amp service size. You should also inspect the meter base.
If you can’t see this information, find the panel’s serial number and use Google to identify the amp service. Although, most homeowners will find everything they need in and around the electrical panel.
Some experts expect homeowners to measure the main service wire’s conduit. They associate 2-inch tubes with 200A services and 1 ¼-inch pipe with 100A services.
How Much Does A 800-Amp Service Cost?
If you want to install two 400A services, each 400A service could cost you as much as $4,000. On the other hand, you may spend an estimated $750 to $2,000 on each 200A service.
800-Amp Service Installation Cost
You may spend $10,000 or more depending on the kind of setup you have in mind.
Cost To Upgrade To 800 Amp Service
An upgrade could cost you as little as $5,000 or as much as $20,000, possibly even more.
How To Install 800-Amp Service?
- Turn the power off. Turning the main breaker switch to the off position isn’t necessarily enough.
- Make sure the service provider has removed the wires that bring electricity to your house.
- Find the meter. Remove the socket and connected cable.
- Get a drill and make the hole in the wall bigger
- Replace the meter socket. Attach the relevant SE electrical cable.
- Add a PVC weather head and conduit
- Install ground rods
- Connect the power lines to the socket
- Cut all the wires in the electrical panel before removing it.
- Attach a ¾-inch plywood panel to the wall
- Pull the SE cable through the new panel before screwing it onto the plywood.
- Connect the wires in the panel
- Configure the circuits in the panel
After this, it is a simple matter of running the bare copper and white insulated wires to the ground and neutral bar, connecting the new breakers to the bus bar, and asking the utility company to reconnect the cables they removed.
Depending on the configuration you have in mind, installing an 800A amp service may not differ that drastically from installing a 200A or 400A service.
What Size Wire Is Needed For 800-Amp Service?
1/0AWG is a suitable wire size for 800A. That is the smallest conductor you can use. Some situations may require 600MCM. Also, take the temperature rating and wire type into account because they can influence the size. Don’t forget the length.
What Kind of Wire Is Needed For 800-Amp Service?
You can use THWN for underground wires. Otherwise, THHN is fine. Your electrician will determine whether or not you need copper or aluminum. They have to consider various factors, including distance, cost, and temperature.
Is 800 Amps A Lot?
Yes, 800 amps is a lot. Think about it. Most modern homes use 200-amp services. A 400A service would be excessive for the conventional residential setting. People still use them, but they are not necessary.
You can run every appliance that matters to a homeowner on a 200A service. With that in mind, you can probably understand why many people think 800A is a lot.
Modern homes do not require that much power. Large houses with jacuzzies and pools can exist comfortably on a 400A service. Some people use 800A services when they want to deploy multiple 200A panels that can serve the needs of various structures and extensions.