Are you building a house and wondering what is the standard electrical service for residential? Let all our years of experience in the trade help you.
The standard size electrical service for residential is 200 amps 120/240 volts single phase. This is a common size 200 amp electrical entrance with a breaker panel and service. It will supply sufficient amperage for most heating sources, appliances and lighting.
What Is The Standard Electrical Service For Residential ?
The most common size electrical service in 2020 or 2021 is a 200 amp single phase electrical service one 120/240 volt.
This is common for several reasons.
100 amp services seems to be the thing of the past and you cannot get enough circuit sizes in the panel to do anything with. Most 100 amp electrical panels are limited to 40 crts.
Secondly 200 amp services are now not much difference in price than 100 amp services.
So you’re better off to go to 200 amp for sale value and install price.
Most newer electrical panels are much larger in size and can hold more physical capacity.
Some of the breaker panels are providing 60 circuits capacity now. This is 60 full size breakers or 120 mini breakers.
In other works this is more than enough even with code changes.
What Is The Standard Electrical Service For Residential If It’s Underground?
Common sizes for underground services are also 200 amps.
Most newer homes are all built with 200 amp services.
As for residential code you can max out a 200 amp service right to 100% of its rating.
Which means as far as the demand load goes you can go right up to 200 amp on the service.
Depending on the length of your underground service this affects your wire size however. The longer the length of the 200 amp underground service the larger the wire size must be.
This is to allow for voltage drop over certain distance as the longer the conductor is the more resistance there is inside the conductor.
It is best to consult with your local electrician especially if you plan on running any distance underground to a pole.
Sometimes the price of the wire has to be higher due to the size of the wire being larger.
When you get to a certain point of distance it may not be beneficial for you to continue going underground.
At this point it may be more beneficial for you to speak to your local power utility to look at more poles being installed in further from the road.
In this case this would be a long driveway if the house is built back in off the property.
Are There Different Size 200 Amp Panels?
Yes there are different size 200 amp panels.
They usually start at 24 circuit and go right up to 60 circuit.
Keep in mind when we say 60 circuit this is 60 full size breakers.
You can get many breakers now and increase our capacity right up to 120 circuits.
This means that the panel is quite large 120 circuit panel is almost 5 feet long.
Make sure you have the space to allow for this as the top of the panel can be no more than 67 inches to the top breaker. This puts the bottom of the breaker compartment in the panel almost floor level.
Commercial 200 amp panels are even larger and physical size.
They can be upwards of 6 feet tall and almost 2 feet wide.
They are much heavier duty and are built for the application. These are required to go into for a storefront or even school buildings or distribution equipment with inside of a panel room.
How Many Circuits Do I Need In A Panel?
The more the better. Or the more the merrier as we should say.
People are always doing renovations or additions to their home that require more space in their electrical panel.
Spend the extra couple hundred dollars and get the largest electrical panel that you can purchase when you originally build or renovate the house.
If you do not and you run out of space in the panel then you’ll be into a situation where you have to have a sub panel or second panel in.
We often call or refer to these as pony panels.
As mentioned above you can get up to 120 circuit panels.
Do not panic if you have a smaller panel in your home you can add a subpanel.
Sub panels can be 125 amp, 100 amp, 60 amp etc.
We recommend installing a decent size 100 or 125 amp sub panel with the largest amount of circuits that you can get in it.
This will allow for additions that you may want to do your home in the future or add more breakers.
Which Is The Best Brand Panel?
There are a few major competitors in the market that produce electrical panels.
All have their equal advantages and disadvantages.
The three major brands in Canada are Siemens, also referred to as ITE, Cutler Hammer or other referred to as Eaten.
Square D which is North American wide.
You can also get Murray Electric and General Electric which is based out of the USA.
Due to recent Covid issues there has been problems getting certain size breakers for certain panels.
However if it’s safety and ease of use that you’re looking for then Square D would take the top in the trip rating.
Squared he has a very good trip rating and will trip if there’s any problems at all.
Eaton would be second place.
If you still have a Federal Pioneer or Stab Lock panel all these have now been discontinued.
You can still get breakers for them however the panel boards are not being produced anymore.
Bottom line is they had a very bad trip rating.
Trip rating means the amount of time it takes for the breaker to trip if there’s an issue.
Federal pioneer breakers were known as welders. You could literally almost weld something together before the breaker will trip. Not ideal.
Can I Have More Than One Power Meter?
Yes you can have more than one per meter on your service entrance.
You can have a 200 amp service entrance coming into the property and have multiple meters if you have your property broke up into apartment units.
Each unit could have 60 amp to 100 amp if you like depending on local code requirements. These are known as multi gang purpose meter bases.
They could mount it on the side of your house so that the power utility can check the power usage for each unit.
Actually when you get into a bigger apartment complexes you can reduce the size as per our Canadian Electrical Code for each unit.
This usually results in a 60 amp service being in each unit however the main size of the service entrance may only need to be 200amps or 300amps coming in.
This allows for multiple meter gang positions like you see on the side of smaller apartment complexes with six gang meter bases.
These are common residential installations and we do them quite often.
How Do I Know What Size Electrical Service I Need?
Your local electrician can consult with you to determine what size power service that you will need for your individual dwelling or property.
Sometimes if you have more than one dwelling building on the property you may be better off to go with two or three smaller service entrances than having one large service entrance.
This comes down to ease of installation and cost.
If you’re simply looking for what is the standard electrical service for residential.
We follow the CEC code or electrical code as per section 8.
you can read more on this in our other articles for demand loads.
We calculate a demand load that is needed within the house to figure out the size of the service entrance that we would install.
There are a specific set of math rules that we follow to come out with our calculations.
Is A 200 Amp Service Enough?
Most cases a 200 amp service is sufficient for your property or dwelling.
However keep in mind with large heating loads getting larger.
Electrical back ups, in floor fired electric boiler’s, hot tub’s and swimming pool heaters may increase the size of the service entrance.
Larger homes they require more power so we usually go up to a 400 amp service.
A 400 amp service is double the price of a 200 amp obviously.
However with a 400 amp service you can have two 200 amp panels with 120 circuits in each one of the panels.
These are typically installed on homes that are 4000 ft.² or more.
Some of the larger heating loads can consume 150 A alone.
If you get into instantaneous hot water they can consume another hundred amps.
These large heating loads can consume your service entrance quite quickly which is why a 400 amp is required.
For more on some of the panels and products that we recommend you can check this out on our recommended products page in the link below.