Hi, I'm thinking of doing a panel upgrade to 200 amp service in my house at Toronto. The house was built in the mid-1960’s. The main reason for the upgrade is safety and I understand that the old panel was designed for just a few circuits. The circuit consists of all the outlets linked on one wire operated by a single fuse or circuit breaker. So, there can be an issue related to the tripping, even when the circuit is overloaded. And this danger can lead to the danger of electrocution and shock. I have my own reasons for the upgrade to which I am getting different answers from different people. Some say that if we pull the panel, the house needs to be brought up to code with a new build. At the same time some others say that, because it's an old home, the code is not a problem. There are currently 2 outlets. One guy says two is fine as long as the outlets are grounded, the other is saying I need another outlet. So, I was hoping to contact a licensed electrician from Toronto to clear the confusions. So, I was hoping to get some suggestions or advice related to the matter. Does anyone go through this problem with an older home? Anyone know the rule on the above?
The code is not a legal problem, existing installations are generally still legal as installed but your concern for safety is valid. Shop around and try to get bids from a few electricians and see if you can get references. Issues you may encounter is older circuits that are not wired such that Arc Fault breakers will work so that may involve extra work to find neutrals shorted to ground and improper connections between neutrals that may have been OK, if not legal. Whether you actually need 200 amps or not really depends on any added load that was installed but it really does not add much to the bid over staying with 100a.
First, it's great that you are contacting a local area Licensed Electrician. It sounds like you are looking for a 200 amp service upgrade, not just a 'panel change'.
In NJ, when you do a service upgrade, 60-100; 100-200 etc. that is what you get. A new service entrance, new panel with the appropriate main CB, and branch breakers for your existing circuits, and breaker space for future use. The grounding and bonding is also brought up to the current code. There are NO modifications to any internal wiring, circuits with a straight service upgrade.
Installing new circuits, outlets, etc., may be contracted for at the same time as the upgrade. It sounds like you are in the need for some new wiring and having additional circuits installed. Good idea to require a 40-42 circuit NEW panel so you have capacity for future expansions.
AHJs have a long rich history of making stuff up as they go along but the NEC (2014, the one we are on) only says you need to add AFCIs if you are modifying a branch circuit by more than 6 feet. That would even allow adding short extensions to the circuits to reach breakers in a new panel without triggering the AFCI requirement but I would still ask.
210.12(B) Branch Circuit Extensions or Modifications Dwelling Units. In any of the areas specified in 2IO.I2(A), where branch-circuit wiring is modified, replaced, or extended, the branch circuit shall be protected by one of the following: (1) A listed combination-type AFe! located at the origin of the branch circuit (2) A listed outlet branch-circuit type AFCT located at the first receptacle outlet of the existing branch circuit Exception: AFCI protection shall not be required yvhere the extension (~f the existing conductors is not more than 1.8 m (6 jt) and does not include any additional outlets or devices.