amperageHow much amperage does your home need? That is a question that many home inspection clients ask us. But unfortunately it is a question that only you can answer.

There are rules of thumb, speculative family usage, and all sorts of charts. But when it comes down to it, your usage is different from other people’s. So a family of 4 may be perfectly happy with 60 amps, but there may be a single person who needs more than 200 amps. If the first example doesn’t have TV’s and a swimming pool, they should be fine. If the latter has a tennis court and an indoor movie theater, he will likely need more power.

It all depends on what you use and how you use it. But there is definitely a developmental theme for amperage sizes over the years. Either way, before upgrading an electrical service, try living with it for a while and see if you really need more power.

Development of Power Needs

There are still rules of thumb that help you to expect what amperage you home will likely have (but not guaranteed).The list below is intended to be no more than a rough rule of thumb covering the average unimproved electrical supply over the last century, and would cover the average 1,500- to 2,000-square-foot home.

  • 1900s to 1930s: 30-amp supply
  • 1930s to 1950s: 60-amp supply
  • 1950s to 1970s: 100-amp supply
  • 1970s to 1980s: 150-amp supply
  • 1980s to 2000s: 200-amp supply

Obviously, larger and more expensive homes have always required more power than the norm, and it is not unusual now to see 400+-amp services in high-end homes.