Is 200 Amp Service Enough? (AVOID Doing This!)

Yes, 200 amp service is more than enough for most average homes. In fact, a 200 amp panel is the standard in most modern houses. 

AMP refers to amperes which is a unit of measurements for electrical current. It is used to gauge the amount of electricity flowing through a given house. 

Higher the amp number, the larger the capacity and the more the number of circuits one can install in their house. 

Older homes used to have 100 amp panels because they used less electricity as compared to their modern counterparts. In a modern setting, that number is simply not enough to accommodate the newer appliances.

In this article, we’re going to try answering the question of whether 200 amp is enough and the factors that go into determining it. 

How Many Amps Does The Average House Use? 

electric panel

Most modern, average houses require at least a 100 amp for the smooth functioning and accommodation of all appliances. 

The average modern house comes standard with a 200 amp panel and for good reason. It’s far more versatile and safer than a 100 amp panel.

As a rule of thumb, an electric circuit should not be allowed to sustain loads higher than 80% of its full capacity for extended periods. 

To put this into perspective, 40 amps in total is generally consumed in lighting the house and maintaining the temperature. This leaves less-than-ideal room for other appliances such as televisions and computers. 

Should You Upgrade To 200 Amp?

Modern houses come standard with a 200 amp panel but even if one doesn’t or in the case of an older house, it’s absolutely advisable to bump it up. 

100 amp used to be enough for the average house because of the relatively low electricity consumption. These days, however, our appliances have grown, both in terms of, power and number.

A 200 amp panel has its safety threshold of around 160, hence there’s a lot more scope for expansion. This not only allows you to have more circuits but also adds more living space and appliances to your home in the future if need be. 

The distinct advantage of having more circuits in your house is being able to operate more devices on the same electrical capacity. This can be especially handy if you have a dedicated working space such as a workshop or a garage at your place. 

A 200 amp service allows for a lot more room to grow into, thus preventing a potential overload. In general, an upgrade such as this brings versatility and a lot more safety to the table. 

How Many Breakers Are Allowed In A 200 Amp Panel?

A 200 amp panel has 40 single-pole and 20 double-pole breaker slots in it. That doesn’t however mean you can and should use all of them, depending on how much power is actually going to be used. 

A 200 amp panel should not exceed the 160 amp threshold and the number of breakers needs to be set accordingly. It largely depends on the load i.e., the number and the type of appliances you are going to use. 

Generally speaking, 15 amp and 20 amp breakers are the standards for lighting and most common appliances, respectively. These include phone chargers, television, computer, etc. 

This is not the case for heavy-duty machines such as air conditioners, washing machines, and heaters that require their own circuit. 

Envision the amount of power you’re going to need at your home by gauging your appliance’s power consumption. Use this to determine the number of breakers needed in your house. 

How Many Amps Do Common Appliances Use? 

Appliances in our homes use different amounts of electricity depending on their purpose. This number may vary based on how efficient these gadgets are and that may depend on their quality and age. 

Here’s a chart of how much power some of the common ones consume, on average : 

AppliancePower consumption
Lights (per bulb)0.5 -1.5 Amps
Water Heater (6-gallon, heating)8-13 Amps
Window Air Conditioner5-10 Amps
Ceiling Fan0.2-6 Amps
Space Heater (800 watts)4-10 Amps
Refrigerator5-8 Amps
Blender5-6 Amps
Microwave Oven7-15 Amps
Toaster8-10 Amps
Coffee Maker5-8 Amps
Electric Kettle6-12 Amps
Frying Pan (Cooking – High)7-12 Amps
Food Processor5-8 Amps
Hair Dryer (High)7-13 Amps
Curling Iron0.5-0.7 Amps
Iron (High)8-10 Amps
Vacuum (Hand-Held)2-6 Amps
Television HD, Digital1.5-4 Amps
Satellite Receiver/Game Console0.5-0.8 Amps
Computer (Laptop)2-3 Amps
Chargers (small electronics)0.5 to 1.5 Amps
Drill2-6 Amps

Final Remarks

The article was aimed at answering the question of whether a 200 amp service is enough. We looked at various aspects and factors that determine the power consumption in a house. 

Most modern homes come standard with a 200 amp panel, which is up from the 100 amp that was the previous norm. 

A 200 amp service is more than enough for an average to a larger-than-average sized modern home. It allows a threshold of 160 amps, which offers sufficient room and versatility in terms of circuit breakers and the number of appliances.