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Which New Panel Should I Buy?

Hi, I was going to be adding a transfer switch/generator to my main panel, but after thinking about it I decided to just buy a new panel with a built-in transfer switch. The panel that I have now is 100 amps. The new one can either be 125 or 150 amps. Price between the models is almost the same so that doesn't matter. My question is should I just get the 150 amp model so there's no need to update anything later down the road, or would it be a waste of money and I should just get one of the 125 amp models (which are already bigger than what I now have). Just need help deciding which is a better route to go. Here are the 3 panels incase you need to see them:

Also, will the wiring between the meter outside and the panel need to be changed now that the amperage is bigger?




Re: Which New Panel Should I Buy?

You don't say what size generator you are purchasing which is a consideration. If you are going with a 5kw or 7kw you won't be able to do a transfer with all the loads on. If you are going with a whole house generator you may want to check operating costs. A neighbor has a whole house unit on propane, when it is running it goes through 4gal/hr and cost him over $130/day during a 5 day . Personally I think it is better to have a smaller generator 5 to 7KW. Operating cost are far less but will handle necessities. With the smaller generator I would recommend a transfer switch. Reliance transfer switch have a load meter so you can prevent overloading the generator. You can buy a larger transfer swith than the gen calls for and just switch on circuits as needed, plus with un-switched circuits, when the power comes back on you will know it. Changing out the panel is not something I would recommend being done by a DIYer unless they have extensive experience.


Re: Which New Panel Should I Buy?

I was going to get THIS one but have since decided to get their 5500 watt propane version as soon as they release it. Everything associated with the generator will be over rated so that I can upgrade at a later date if needed. In other words, instead of buying a transfer panel for a 7000 watt generator mine will be able to handle 15000 watts. I do not foresee ever getting a generator that big, but I'd like to plan ahead just in case. I do not want to have to do any of this twice.

I'm not sure why your neighbors unit uses so much propane, The one I'm looking at uses one tank in around 8 or 9 hours. I don't plan to use it often (another reason why I'm going with propane) but I want it accessible when I need it. I just don't know if it's wise to get a 150 amp panel when the one I have now is 100 amp and it seems to be fine. I will be expanding the size of our kitchen and adding extra outlets so maybe now is the time to get a bigger panel to 125 or 150 amp? What is the downside of getting a bigger panel than I need now?

Re: Which New Panel Should I Buy?

It's always a good idea to upgrade an old outdated panel. Besides, remodeling a kitchen will require more dedicated circuits. And 150 is not that big these days.

In my city, you need an electrical lic to do it. A homeowner can't - the DWP won't even come. So check with your building dept. You may be able to work a deal with an electrician you know.

Re: Which New Panel Should I Buy?

I would get the 200A panel because as you say you don't want to do this again and the difference in panels is very small.

Yes, you will need to use larger wire from the meter to the SE panel.

Most generators will idle down and consume very little power with small loads.

I like shut off the generator at night, if possible, and use rechargeable flashlights for trips to the bathroom etc.

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