upgrading from 60 to 100 amp necessary?

14 Replies

Hi Everyone,

I have a triplex with 60 amp service. My insurance company is demanding I upgrade to 100 amps. $4000 is my lowest bid. There are 2 small 1 bedrooms and a1 2 bedroom. Each apartment has an electric stove and window AC in the summer, otherwise no special electrical uses. Is this necessary to do this upgrade or can I save my 4 grand and change my insurance Co. Thanks in advance for your reply.

@John Thuesen

60 amps seems low for a tri. Do your tenants trip circuits when running multiple fixtures? Every year there are more and more electrical devices that draw power.

Originally posted by @John Thuesen :

Hi Everyone,

I have a triplex with 60 amp service. My insurance company is demanding I upgrade to 100 amps. $4000 is my lowest bid. There are 2 small 1 bedrooms and a1 2 bedroom. Each apartment has an electric stove and window AC in the summer, otherwise no special electrical uses. Is this necessary to do this upgrade or can I save my 4 grand and change my insurance Co. Thanks in advance for your reply.

I wasn't aware that 60 AMP was still out there. ;-) I think the bigger issue is whether it is aluminum or copper. If you have 60 AMP with aluminum, the insurance company is concerned about fires and you should be too.

 

That is a very high price. More like 1200-2500$ would be appropriate for an investor. That is a standard amount. If you have a lot of afci breakers (ie bedrooms), or the access to the entry area is a far distance or more obstructed, it would be more. The electrician should be able to tell you that upfront, though. If you need additional panels beyond the first, add 800$ for each beyond the 1st. (the 1200-2500$ includes the price of the 1st panel, because that will almost always have to be replaced at the same time).

If the 60 Amp service works and was to code when the place was built then you shouldn't have to upgrade this just to appease your insurance company. I'd shop for another insurance company. 

I doubt you have aluminum wire in the house. If that were the case you would need to rewire the house and the 60Amp panel is still not your issue.

If you ever wanted to upgrade to central heat and air you will need a bigger electrical panel.

If you do upgrade I would go to at least a 150A. It won't cost you much more as the big expense is permits and labor.

You can pull the electrical panel cover off or a light switch cover and look inside to verify you have copper wire. 

Definitely a good idea to upgrade the panels & it sounds like you don't really have any other option. Here's just a heads up when you pull that required permit & get the bldg., inspector involved.

You will need to run new service wiring from the new weather head(s)  to each new meter & then into the panel. The utility will run new feeds from their poles so you may have a couple of days down time (ours was 4 days) as an inspection must be done to clear the ESOP for each panel. Hopefully you have grounded circuits throughout the building.

The panels may also require AFCI breakers (new code requirement) for each new circuit, the last pack of 10 (20amp) we bought was $300. Code should require you to run new dedicated circuits to some of the appliances on 20amp 12/2 wire & definitely to all the required GFI's. We had a local investor run 14/2 & had to rip out all the kitchen backsplash to feed 12/2 to the GFI's.

The last complete single panel one I did myself (2 story Cape) to code & permit sign-off ran about $1200 in supplies (+ $375 for the tax grab permit) & 3-4 days of very frustrating pulling of wires & then drywall repairs. A 200 amp service I did last year for another of our properties ran $1800 in materials & again I re-wired the entire 2000 sq ft with 12/2.

So given all that & the time involved the $4000 for a licensed sparky to do 3 of them is not that expensive.

@John Thuesen 60, was not even aware that still existed , YES  upgrade . 4k is much to high 2- 2500 is more like it.

BTW, this is on you. When you purchased it you should have budgeted for the upgrade,,, hey its a learning curve 

Good Luck 

John,
The requirement for 100 amp service is becoming more and more prevalent with the Insurance carriers. If you do find an equivalent policy that will accept the 60 amp service you may end up with the same issue down the road.

The Aluminum Wiring, if present, will be a much bigger issue with the Insurance Companies. Most will not insure you if you have Knob & Tube or Aluminum wiring.

Get another company to cover you.  There are more insurance companies than there are bus stops. The one you have has found a reason to not do business with you. I'm not sure how an insurance company can hold your feet to the fire to change something that is legal, into what they want it to be, unless you decide to agree.

If your building dept hasn't flagged the property, it's been grandfathered. Grandfathered means it's legal. How would they flag it? Three ways come to mind immediately: A forced inspection at property transfer (HUD, etc.). Your request due to another building modification. A forced inspection due to rental property registration ordinance.

One other thing to consider: An expense such as you are considering can't be written off in the year you pay it.  It falls under property improvement, not maintenance or repair.  This makes it a capital expense and has to be depreciated.  I might make a case against your insurer for their imposing an unreasonable burden on you.  How long have they been underwriting you?

Given that each unit has a electric stove and whatever else is connected you are likely close to pulling 60 amps at times anyways. I would bite the bullet and upgrade, not for $4k though, more like <$3k

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