Are you having trouble how to tell what amp service is in your house? Is your insurance company looking for this info? Read on for some helpful tips.
The size of your electrical service in amps will be marked on the side of your meter base. Do not mistake this for your power meter itself. It is the square base that the meter mounts too and should be on the nameplate sticker. Alternatively you can also find the same information on you main breaker.
How To Tell What Amp Service Is In Your House
There are two obvious places that you can look to see what size service is on your house.
The first place would be on the main breaker or main switch of your electrical panel.
It should be clearly marked 60 amp, 100 amp, 200 amp etc.
The number 200 stands for 200 amp.
In addition you can also look on the outside of your meter base.
The meter base is the cabinet behind the actual round meter that your local power utility read your power usage from.
This is the metal base behind the meter in the usually square or rectangle in shape.
It will have nameplate data on it and it will be marked 100 amp, 200 amp etc.
This also stands for the amount of amperage that you have coming into the home.
How To Tell What Amp Service Is In Your House If It’s Not Visible
If the number is not clearly marked on your main service panel.
Then you may need to look on the inside of the cover or the hinge cover.
This will give you the specifications on the nameplate sticker on the inside of the cover.
This will tell you what the volts and the amps are in the characteristics of the service entrance.
Sometimes you need to look hard for these as the numbers are smaller.
Alternatively, you can also take the serial number off of the inside of the panel and just simply type it into Google and it will tell you what size the panel is.
It should give you manufacturer details on the panel enclosure.
What If I Don’t Have A Main Breaker?
All electrical services are required to have a main shut off or main breaker in one place. This could also be an equivalent disconnect somewhere in the system.
you may be looking at a sub panel or a load center that is part of a bigger picture that you do not see.
Follow the main cable or main pipe back to where the disconnect would be.
There’s also may not be a disconnect and may be a disconnect right on the bottom of the meter outside.
This would have a little door that you flip up to see and reveal the amperage of the service.
Sometimes this is done when we have long runs throughout the dwelling as our code states.
That we cannot run any more than 10 feet without a proper disconnect source once we enter the building.
What If I Don’t Have A Square Meter Base?
Some older style meter bases are not square or rectangle at all.
Some older style meter bases are smaller and round.
These older style meter bases may or may not have a name plate on them for you to see the amperage rating.
If you cannot see the amperage rating then you will need to refer back to the main panel source.
This main panel source will to have an indication on it somewhere.
In addition you can also look at the fuse sizing if you have a main disconnect.
If you open the main disconnect door the main fuse should be clearly marked with the number on them.
For example a 200 amp fuse would be marked 200 A.
Why Can’t I Just Use What It Says On The Meter?
Most residential meters have a pre-marked reading on them from the factory.
The meter or the round part that the power is red from where I usually say one 120/240 volt 200 A.
This does not mean that you have a 200 amp service.
All of the meters are rated up to 200 amp.
So in other words if you have a 100 amp or a 60 amp service it will still read that even though the meter says 200 amp.
Keep in mind do not confuse us for the meter base this is the meter itself or the glass portion.
Newer style digital meters also have an amperage rating which means the same thing.
Why Is There More Than One Amperage On The Panels?
If you see multiple panels in your house with more than one amperage rating on this means the service could have more than one panel.
Which also means there could be sub panels.
It is common to come into a 200 amp main switch or a 200 amp main panel and then branch off two other smaller 60 or 100 amp panels.
If you see a 200 amp main switch with a 100 amp panel on either side do you still need to go by the rating on the main switch.
Trace it back to the source where it comes in from the bottom of the meter base.
This will give you a sure answer on what the actual size and how to tell what amp service is in your house.
Can I Tell From The Size Of The Power Pipe?
Yes actually you can tell from the size of the pipe on the outside of the house.
If you see a 1 inch pipe this means you have a 60 amp service.
You can have an 1 1/4″ to an 1 1/2″ by this means you have a 100 amp service.
If you see a 2 inch pipe this means you have a 200 amp service.
Keep in mind you need to look at the pipe that comes out of the bottom of the meter base and goes into the panel.
Do not look at the top of the mast as most masts are 2 1/2″ which doesn’t matter what size service it is so you couldn’t tell from the top of that service mast.
If you have a large meter base with two sets of 2 inch pipe this means you would have a 400 amp service.
What If It Says 400 Amp On It?
A 400 amp service is becoming more and more common.
400 amp services would be used in larger residential homes where they have excessive or larger heating loads.
This meter bases is unmistakable as it is quite large.
It is usually 18″ to 22″ inches across and usually 2 feet or more longer.
It’s called an oversized 400 amp meter base.
It will usually have two pipes exiting going into two panels usually 200 amp each in the bottom of the metre base.
From the top of the meter base will usually have two 2 1/2 inch stacks going up through the roof or up the side of the house.
This is so they can double the ampacity coming into the meter base to give you the 400 A.
We typically install these larger services on home exceeding 4000 sq ft.
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