Advice on Rotating Electrical Panel

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Hello, I am remodeling the kitchen in my condo and need some advice with regards to the electrical panel. Currently, it is located on an interior wall with access from the kitchen. Seems silly to me, as it makes it difficult to use that wall for anything. What I would like to do is remove the current panel and install a larger one in the same location, but such that it is accessed from the other side of the wall, which faces the living room. Also not ideal, personally, but better than the current setup. Turning the panel this way will allow much greater design flexibility for the kitchen remodel, such as relocating appliances, adding storage, etc. I'm wondering if anyone might be able to answer some basic questions, like how difficult a job is this, how long it should take, how much might it cost (in a really rough sense), etc? And if anyone has any other advice about the project, I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks!
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you might as well upgrade the main service. it will be a big job.
sounds like a decent idea but how will you cover it up in the living room?
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Not sure what is meant by upgrading the main service? I can hang a box over it in the living room that looks like "art" and is easily removed.
Thanks,
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"Upgrading the main service" means as that long as they are doing some major electrical work around the panel, take a look at the rating of your current service (100A, 150A, 200A, etc) and see if it makes economic sense to move up a notch or 2, e.g. from 100A to 150A. Look at the main breaker at the top of the box to see what your current rating is.
The cost of doing it now, as part of the panel box move, might be cheaper than calling them back a year from now when all the fancy new appliances in your kitchen start popping breakers.
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wrote:

Not sure what is meant by upgrading the main service? I can hang a box over it in the living room that looks like "art" and is easily removed.
Thanks,
Having professional electricians come in to give you advice and prices is the most sensible thing to do. It makes absolutely no sense to even talk about service upgrades until you determine what size the current service is, and if the few new loads you plan on will make the slightest bit of difference. If you are just looking to flip the panel position and use a slightly larger panel, expect to cut the sheetrock beam to beam from about a foot above and below the existing panel on the kitchen side. Since the new panel will be larger, there is no concern about the conductors not being long enough. I can't imagine this taking more than 3 or 4 hours plus materials and filing fees
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quksilver wrote:

Hmmm.
What, if anything, do your codo rules / regulations say about remodels with respect to to using icensed contrators for things like electrical / hvac / plumbing??
Maybe I'm just a little bit conservative i this regard, but I'd having a licensed electrician doing the electrical, and let his insurance be on the hook if anything went wrong in a multi unit building. In the long run the amount of money you save yoursely on a DIY electric job could be very expensive.
YMMV.
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jJim McLaughlin wrote:

I don't see anywhere that the OP has said they intended to DIY it.
As to the issue of facing the new panel to the other side of the wall, that would have just about no effect on the cost. Installing a new larger panel in that location in the wall is the same amount of work regardless of which side it faces.
Were the OP to hire an electrician to do the job, I'd expect it to cost $1k-$1.5k depending on the typical rates in the area, for DIY, around $500 or so in materials.
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Thanks, not really planning to do it myself. I did look into it, but I don't have a lot of the tools and would rather not incur the liability. I have a couple electricians coming out tomorrow to provide quotes, but I'd like to have an idea of what to expect. Looks like some consensus is developing around $1k. Any thoughts on the amount of time?
I'm in the DC area and labor is unbelievably expensive. More than half the cost of the kitchen remodel! (One reason I looked into DIY...) Anyway, don't have the cash for the entire remodel right now, so I'm looking into preparatory options first, like upgrading the electrical panel.
Thanks!
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quksilver wrote:

I'd expect it to take anywhere from about 3 to 6 hours depending on the details. Items like the amount of slack left in the wires and the mounting height of the existing panel can make a good deal of difference. If the wires are short and the panel is already at the max allowed height it will be time consuming and require some additional materials. If the wires have some slack and the panel is below max height so you can mount the new one a bit higher to gain slack if needed it can be easy. If all the wiring is from the bottom it's even easier since the code doesn't have a minimum height.
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might as well go to 200 amp......... it costs little more. plus will leave space for the new kitchen circuits/
one for fridge, minimum of 2 and preferably 3 20 amp GFCI general appliance circuits, one for disposal, one for dishwasher, plus electric stove if you have one.. plus take a look at all plumbing so you dont have to do it again anytime soon
if your redoing the kitchhen and it has outside walls your better off gutting and installing foam insulation. since you will have lots of holes in walls for electric upgrade anyway
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" snipped-for-privacy@aol.com" wrote:

200A service for a DC Condo? Unless it's a truly huge condo I think you'd be hard pressed to max a 100A service.

Ideally a minimum of two circuits accessible on any decent sized span of counter space, so you have flexibly to run a couple power hungry appliances at the same time, like a toaster and coffee pot.

Kitchen remodels are always more fun if you gut to wall studs and floor and ceiling joists and start fresh. Not always the most practical or cost effective though.
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Thanks all for the advice. Upgrading the main service seems like a good idea since there is no extra room in the current panel and I will be adding a separate range hood and better lighting, and I know there are problems with the current wiring/circuits (can't run a hairdryer and iron at the same time, a/c kicking on causes lights to dim, etc).
The kitchen has two walls that are internal to the building, but external to my unit. One backs up to a shared common hallway, the other backs up to another unit. Don't think additional foam insulation will be necessary, but I'll keep it in mind for when I get to the point when I can afford the rest of the remodel.
What are you recommending specifically about the plumbing?
Cheers,
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wrote:

Thanks all for the advice. Upgrading the main service seems like a good idea since there is no extra room in the current panel and I will be adding a separate range hood and better lighting, and I know there are problems with the current wiring/circuits (can't run a hairdryer and iron at the same time, a/c kicking on causes lights to dim, etc).
The things you describe above are more a matter of distribution than service size. If you had a 1000 amp service, you still wouldn't be able to run your hair dryer and iron at the same time. You need to run new circuits and outlets for these high amperage appliances, which doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't enough amperage feeding the panel
The kitchen has two walls that are internal to the building, but external to my unit. One backs up to a shared common hallway, the other backs up to another unit. Don't think additional foam insulation will be necessary, but I'll keep it in mind for when I get to the point when I can afford the rest of the remodel.
What are you recommending specifically about the plumbing?
Cheers,
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re: You need to run new circuits and outlets for these high amperage appliances
True, unless the current wiring uses "almost home runs". When I moved into my house, I had something like 4 fuses. When I replaced the panel I ended with 9 breakers just from splitting circuits that had been doubled up on fuses and/or run back to junction boxes right next to panel and then attached to a single fuse.
Over the years, I've found junction boxes further downstream that allowed me to split the circuits even more with a single run back to the panel. Things like splitting the garage off of the first floor were fairly simple tasks.
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wrote:

re: You need to run new circuits and outlets for these high amperage appliances
True, unless the current wiring uses "almost home runs". When I moved into my house, I had something like 4 fuses. When I replaced the panel I ended with 9 breakers just from splitting circuits that had been doubled up on fuses and/or run back to junction boxes right next to panel and then attached to a single fuse.
Over the years, I've found junction boxes further downstream that allowed me to split the circuits even more with a single run back to the panel. Things like splitting the garage off of the first floor were fairly simple tasks.
That's exactly my point. Often people think that by increasing their service size, more electricity flows through all the wiring, increasing the capacity of every outlet and circuit. They wind up spending a pile of money for a service increase, and find nothing has improved. With proper distribution, even a small service goes a long way
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when you go from 100 amp to 200 amp the number of breaker slots increases a lot. so even if you never use more than 100 amps your and resale buyers are ready for the future. bigger service helps resale time.
if your replacing the main panel anyway your better off going 200 amp, since its not that costly
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Just to keep the peace.....have you approached your condo board about the work you are doing? As others have mentioned, doing electrical work yourself in a condo is a no-no. It is violation of building code where I live. In addition, any structural, elect., gas or plumbing in multi-family res. requires a permit. Having seen some of the worst in condo board behavior, I would put the plan in writing and get any required approval from them in advance. If your condo documents require approval, then you don't have a leg to stand on if they take issue with work done without their approval........you don't want to get the work done and have them require you to "undo" it.
My hubby - a condo board member - tried to get our condo board to repair wiring damaged in work done in the unit above ours. The "doer" was not the owner, and, AFAIK, not a contractor. I complained to the city when the electricity went out for the third and final time.....bldg. code requires permit for structural work, which was being done (removal of walls). The city guy said the doer told him no structural work was being done, which was not true. Our condo documents specifically address the situation, requiring the condo assn. to make repair and the person doing the damage to be responsible to the assn. My hubby got TWO letters from assn., basicly telling him to stuff it. One letter told him to "cease and desist" in contacting the condo pres.! After going back and forth for a week without electricity to part of our unit, the guy doing the work hired another electrician to make repair. He was nice about it, but dumb as a doorknob. Our condo assn. has lots of ways of playing hardball, and the folks who "do it right" are the minority.
Lots of condo boards ignore their rules and bylaws until the issue gets personal, so I would be careful.
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I do have to clear the work through the condo board first. I also know one of the members of the board who had is electrical panel turned around as part of a kitchen remodel. So I'm hoping that will pave the way for me to do it...
Thanks,
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quksilver wrote:

Condo = Permits and Inspections.
(I know you're not contemplating a DIY remodel.)
The kitchen remodel *plus* the service alteration could easily trigger a requirement that the rest of the unit be brought up to current Code levels. That would be determined by the local Bldg Dep't, but it's worth investigating.
I could see the panel makeover itself eating up 1 Grand out of the budget.
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remodeling is done on unoccupied units with tons of drop cloths and doorways with tarps and requires an endless credit line. pack up the kids and pets and plants and hand over your keys and savings account! :)
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