September 13, 2022

100 amp vs. 200 amp: How to choose an electrical panel

If you’re purchasing a new home or renovating your existing one, you may be wondering if a 100 amp or 200 amp electrical panel is right for you. To help you choose, it’s important to understand the differences.

Image of an electrical panel

An “amp” or ampere is a unit that measures the volume of electricity flowing into a property. A 200 amp electrical panel is larger and has more circuits, so it can handle more power than a 100 amp one. This allows it to use more of the electricity that enters your home from your energy provider to run your appliances and other equipment. A 200 amp panel is also more expensive.

But just how much power do you need?

If you have a mature home that uses gas heating or a gas stove, or if most of your appliances are older, a 100 amp panel could serve you well.

For homes with electrical baseboard heating, water heaters, and appliances that use a large amount of electricity, a 200 amp panel is a better choice. In addition, if you plan to install an air conditioning unit, pool, hot tub, or electrical vehicle (EV) charger, you will need a 200 amp electrical panel.

While electronics are not a huge drain on electricity, the power used by multiple computers, mobile phones, tablets, and other devices does add up. Upgrading to 200 amps is a great way to prepare your home for future needs.

Many people associate power outages with severe thunderstorms or tree branches falling across power lines. But if you’re trying to run too many electrical appliances without enough incoming power to support them, you may have to deal with an unexpected disruption. It may be necessary to move to a 200 amp electrical panel.

It’s important to note that the Ontario building code states that new home builds only require 100 amp service, so you may want to upgrade to 200 amps prior to moving in. In this case, fill out this online form. Elexicon Energy will confirm if this amperage is available in your area, and outline the steps required to safely complete the upgrade.