Your home’s electrical service size is directly responsible for determining the power and efficiency of your home’s electrical distribution system. In layman’s terms, it indicates how many appliances, lights, or other electrical devices you can operate simultaneously. Several years ago, a standard electrical service size of 100 amps provided enough electrical current to operate any devices the average home would use. Nowadays, many homes draw a lot more current than their service size allows for. Many homes now contain a large number of appliances, technology devices, and luxuries (such as spas and pools) that electrical contractors and homeowners could have never previously anticipated. As a result, it’s more important than ever to make certain your electrical service size is capable of supplying power to the devices in use in the home.
If you know what you’re looking for, it’s relatively easy (and only take a few minutes) to determine your home’s electrical service size. In this article we’ll tell you how to do just that, in 6 simple, easy-to-follow steps. To size your electrical service, you’ll need access to the main components of your house's electrical distribution system -- the wire, the conduit, the meter, the panel and the main breaker -- to identify which has the lowest amperage rating. Its rating is your overall home's electric service rating.
Measure the diameter of the conduit that houses the service cable entry. This conduit houses the cable that comes from the electric company and enters the power meter box. Depending on whether your electricity is provided from underground or above ground, the conduit will enter the meter box from the top or the bottom. Many times the conduit is oversized, so measuring it is sometimes not a true indicator of the wiring it houses, but it’s a good start toward determining the service size. The following list indicates common conduit sizes and their associated service sizes; based on the gauge of electrical wire they’re capable of housing.
Visually inspect and estimate the size of the main service cable, if possible. The list below indicates the typical width of the cabling and the amps it is capable of supplying:
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