I need a new electrical panel. One electrical contractor looked at the
existing feed and said that he could pull 150A wiring through the
existing pipe and change the main breaker in the 200A panel to 150A so
that the breaker matched the wiring coming in.
Another contractor insists that this is not legal because someone could
change that 150A main breaker to 200A in the future because the panel is
rated for 200A.
My next door neighbor did this and it passed inspection. But was it a
clueless inspector or is it really legal?
It is certainly legal. The real answer is right there on the lapel.
Each panel will list the different breaker types it will accept. I bet
that panel says 100-200.
The code does not address the dumbest thing someone can do after the
initial, permitted installation.
In fact I wrote a proposal to the 99 code saying the wiring should
reflect the largest size overcurrent device (fuses in my case) that
would fit in a holder and it was roundly rejected.
My original concern was 400a switch gear with 250 KCMIL copper wire
and 250a fuses installed.
Everyone I asked, up the chain, said it was legal, hence my proposal
to change the code..
On 4/10/2015 12:09 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Well apparently my neighbor's installation was never inspected. Two
different electricians spotted issues with it instantly, but not related
to the 150 amp main breaker on a 200 amp p0anel. It was the improper
connection to the incoming power line and improper grounding. This was
done by the contractor installing his solar system from Solar City.
I actually did find a 150 amp version of the 200 amp panel they were
looking at so hopefully they'll order one of those, SC816D150C rather
than the SC816D200C. They would prefer one with the meter on the top but
apparently those don't exist anymore for that width in semi-flush.
But it appears that there is no good reason not to use the 200 amp panel
with a 150 amp main breaker.
We couldn't even think about installing one of those here.
Our meter bases have to be separate and outside.
And a 200 amp 8 slot 16 circuit panel????
My 100 amp panel has more circuits than that (and it's too small)
On Fri, 10 Apr 2015 21:58:52 -0400, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
This is the "meter main"and you will end up with another panel inside
with most of your circuits in it, fed as a sub panel.
Typically these are installed as upgrades and the existing panel is
left in place. They will feed additional sub panels from the meter
main for new circuits so they don't need that many in there.
Doing it this way, you are only replacing the SE going from the old
meter base to the existing panel with SER or simply shoving another
conductor in the raceway if it is wire in pipe.
You still have to add the ground bus and swing over the ground wires,
lifting the bonding jumper but that is a lot less labor than replacing
It is legal and is done all the time.
I can only get 150 amp service to my house unless I pay to have the
underground wiring updated all the way to the transformer vault. I can
put in a 200 amp panel with a 150 amp breaker, and if in the future I
need more power I can have the underground updated and swap the main
breaker for a 200. It's not like you can just pop out the breaker
like a branch circuit breaker, at least not on MOSTservice entrance
Most companies don't make (or at least the distributors don't carry) a
panel between the 100 and the 200 - they just downgrade a 200 for 125
or 150 amp service.
In my case about $4000 - if everything goes well. So I'll be putting
in a 200 amp service panel with a 150 amp breaker and a new meter base
to meet Waterloo North's current requirements - and if the underground
cable fails it will be Waterloo North Hydro's job to replace it at
their cost - and current replacement is 200amp minimum.
If I want it replaced with 200 amp while it is still totally
functional, I pay.
The thing that might make a service lateral expensive is if they did
not put in a big enough raceway. If it is 2" he is fine for 4/0
aluminum (200a). It might be a tough tug but it legally fits.
If it is 1.5" you might be digging or using 2/0 copper. Price would
I think that I would probably want to go with the new 200A service and run
it down the wall on the outside. But, you are there, and I am here, and you
know better what you want and why.
Are you saying that there is an existing conduit/pipe, but that it runs
through the roof and then down inside a wall but not on the exterior of the
wall outside? If so, I thought that there was some kind of code that
prohibits the feed from running more than just a few feet inside a building
before a service disconnect switch. But, maybe that doesn't apply if the
incoming service line is inside the building but also inside a conduit -- I
Yes, the feed is through conduit in the wall.
150 amps is more than enough, and that's what they are doing. A 200 amp
feed on the outside of the wall would have also worked.
They are going to do a sub-panel because it is a better installation to
have the solar going into a sub-panel. That will leave room for
expansion, though there are no more high-current devices that I would be
likely to add. If anything, I'd go to a gas range and oven and scrap the
electric cook top and electric oven.
They actually said that a 100 amp panel would still be sufficient but
that my 100 amp panel (Zinsco) has the usual Zinsco issues.
I am just curious . . , what does the "existing pipe" mean? Is it an
overhead service and the existing pipe is the conduit down the side of the
house? Or, is the "existing pipe" and underground conduit to the house?
Also, what is the size of the "existing pipe"?
Part of why I am curious is that, if it is an overhead drop, maybe changing
the conduit/pipe at the same time as the new service line is be installed
wouldn't cost much, and maybe the new service could just be 200A for not
much more money -- mostly just the additional materials cost.
I noticed that later you discovered that your neighbor didn't end up getting
his inspected after all.
In my area, the normal process is for the contractor to pull the permit
(which I pay for) and then the contractor does the work and a final
inspection is done. That way, I know that the work that is done will meet
all of the codes and will have a final approval sticker upon completion.
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