Upgrading Power Service In New Home Build


Getting ready to move on a new build which has 200 amp service vice 400 amp service that we currently have. The current house has 4 dedicated 20 amp circuits in the media room. I asked the builder to add the same amount in the new house,,but we have to wait to get approval from the electrical section, and home builder. So, thinking that a negative decision will come back, do I just need to contact the power company for a service increase, say 100 amps or so, and deal with the power company directly after the build so that I can get the service, then ask an electrician to add the dedicated circuits and wiring to new outlets in the media room? Seems like a lot of work if the builder can't accommodate me. 

Anyone have experience adding service upgrades to their new or older homes, and how did you add the extra circuits to your listening or media room? FYI, northern Virginia, dominion power will be the power service provider. Thanks in advance.

Audioquest4life
audioquest4life
In Rhode Island, the electrician would have to pull a permit and he would notify the electric company  that the service is going from 200 to 300 amps.  The electric company may need to upgrade the wire from the telephone pole to your home to handle the extra current..  300 amps seems like overkill though.
The utility in all probability will not beef up their wiring. If you ask for a 400-amp service, the utility will ask to see a load letter to justify the request. They will then determine through their experience based on other users with similar electrical loads how much power you will draw and then see if their transformers in the area can accommodate the extra load your house will place on their grid. That will determine whether or not a new transformer is needed and what size overhead or underground current carrying conductors they'll bring in.

Now if you want a 400-amp meter and service panel in your house, you most certainly can install it. The electrician will run those 400-amp hoses of wire down the service mast to your meter but the utility will most likely leave a pair of spaghetti sized wires at the service mast for him to connect. 

Aside from all that, if you have no electric heat, no electric cooking and no well water pumps then 200-amps should be plenty for the average size house with central air. Install the four dedicated lines you are planning -- they are not no way no how going to draw 4 x 20 = 80 amps.
I am building a new home in Arizona.  Unfortunately, the original developer only provided service for a 200 amp sub-division.  I needed a 400 amp system which was part of my original architectural guidelines.  Once that was established, I went to the electrical company and they did an engineering study to determine how this was going to be accomplished.  Consequently, it is going to cost me an additional $7,000 to trench for this service.  I will have a separate 20 amp system for my theater room an a separate 20 amp system for my 2 channel room.  I am not a happy camper but you have to do what you have to do.  That could have been money I could have used to buy an upgraded $K sony projector. 

There are some good reasons for not upgrading. :)

The resistance in the wires actually improves surge protection, and reduces interaction from other buildings and other services drawing power.

Your mileage may vary, but upgrading an electric service in amperage is not all positive.

Now, having your own transformer.... that's helpful. :)

Best,


Erik
Oh how I love country living. I just realized I have my own transformer!!

(But I have a nagging fear that there's loads of crap on that line anyway.)
It's got to be cleaner than living in a building with elevators.
@erik_squires 

erik,

Of all the potential sources for power line crap, I never thought of elevator motors. Thanks for reminding me that I should be grateful. Maybe my neighbors electric fence or welding shop could be a country equivalent.

What's a good way/tool/process to check AC power contamination? I've seen simple plug-in device detectors mentioned in articles/posts but I can't seen to find one to buy.
An oscilloscope with the right probes and preferably a frequency analyzer would be ideal.

Sadly these are not really easy to come by. A DIY'er might build his own PC interface using the sound card to oscilloscipe software, but doing so for power sockets is dangerous if not done right.

There are of course commercial AC power quality test tools available, but even pricier.

All I can say is that the most cost effective solutions I know of are Furman units with SMP and LiFT. The commercial grade units are cheaper than the home version.

After that, the PerfectPower and PS Audio units.

Best,


Erik