Are Circuit Breakers Over-rated?

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Jules wrote:

Hi, Do you do things like that?
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Jeffy3 wrote:

An alternative is to install a breaker-box yourself. You can get everything you need at the box store and, with an afternoon's* work, you should be able to swap out the fuse box for a 200 Amp service.
Should cost about $300.
--
* Depending on how far you are from the hardware store for forgotten
items...
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Man, WTF is up with you and bad advice? Is this some childish attempt to be funny?
The OP has fuses. The odds of him having 200 amp service is remote. You have no idea of his service, you have no idea of his capabilities, he already mentioned that he was having an electrician to come out and give a price for changing the panel - so, what exactly are you doing besides ignoring his question and running off at the mouth?
Stop it. It's dangerous. Pick some question that is more up your alley and doesn't have life-threatening consequences. Maybe painting barn scenes on hand saw blades or making clocks out of circular saw blades.
R
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re: "making clocks out of circular saw blades."
I've got one of those!
I set my alarm clock for 1:59 AM Sunday morning so I could set my clocks back at the correct hour, stumbled into the shop all groggy and cut myself on the clock.
The stiches come out in a week or so.
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RicodJour wrote:

Sorry I set you off.
First, I started my post with "An ALTERNATIVE is..."
Second, I suggested a 200 Amp service because the incremental cost between that and a 60 Amp or 100 Amp service is trivial. Might as well have excess capacity.
Third, it's NOT dangerous. Or complicated. Union people do it every day.
Fourth, while you are correct that I have no idea as to the OPs capabilities, I presumed his hand would fit a screwdriver (which is the extent of the skill-set that's required). If I erred in this assumption, I apologize.
It IS up my alley inasmuch as I've done it. The first one I did, I had no experience but the job was as straightforward as changing a tire: cut the power, remove the old apparatus, install the new, turn the power back on and see if anything smokes. It took me and my son about five hours, what with frequent beer breaks and all.
(Just kidding about the booze - although we DID have a beer when we finished; sort of a celebration in saving about $1000 over what an electrical company bid.)
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HeyBub wrote:

I've done 8 or 9 panel replacement / upgrades so far, and in most cases it is indeed quite easy. I've also done a quick panel upgrade 101 class for a friend who subsequently replaced his panel without any issues.
It certainly isn't for everyone, but most people with some mechanical aptitude and ability to read and comprehend reference material can do it just fine.
Hmm, I think those qualification excluded 95% of the last couple generations...
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re: Fourth, while you are correct that I have no idea as to the OPs capabilities, I presumed his hand would fit a screwdriver (which is the extent of the skill-set that's required). If I erred in this assumption, I apologize.
I think the error in your assumption is that all it takes is a screwdriver and the associated skill set.
When I had my 60 amp fused service upgraded to a 150 amp breaker panel a bunch of years back, it required a new service cable from the bugs at the top of the house through the meter and then to the panel. I don't recall if it required new wires from the pole to the bugs.
I don't think it safe to "assume" that all the OP needs is a breaker box and a screwdriver to upgrade to 200 amps.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Oh. Right. What I meant to imply was that he could put in a 200 Amp service panel even if he is currently hooked-up with only 60 Amp service from the power company.
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You didn't imply it, you said it. You said you can get everything at a big box store (they're selling experience and code knowledge now?), and it would only take an afternoon's work. No caveats, no "check to see", nothing except, "Hey, it ain't hard."
I think I saw your TV show, which one are you again...?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNfGyIW7aHM

Let's do a little test. Check out this thread on another forum and tell me how many things to check and caveats you omitted in your "It Ain't Hard" post. http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/electrical-lighting/replace-service-panel-147030.html Here's a hint: all of them.
"Should" is not a caution, it is a weasel word, and in your case indicating you don't know what you're talking about and shouldn't be giving advice on the topic.
R
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OP here. No, I will not try to do this myself. Installing light fixtures and ceiling fans are the extent of what I will do electrically.
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wrote:

Not a bad policy. There are a lot of hidden "gotchas" in replacing a service that take time to fix and you will be in the dark, with your fridge defrosting while you are doing it. Most times you will find out the wires are not long enough and stuff like that. It is not overwhelming but if you don't have a truck full of parts in the driveway you will be going to the depot a few times.
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I'd never argue a personal comfort level decision unless the person were doing something risky. I don't know your abilities, and I wasn't calling them into question. I was responding to what I considered bad advice. Of course it's your house, your abilities, your call. Everyone has to pick their battles and balance that pesky risk v. reward thing. Pretty much everything in residential construction is doable by a determined DIYer, but that doesn't mean it will be easy, cheap, quick or safe.
One of the things about changing a panel is the opportunity to bring things up to date to conform to code (usually safety related), and correct sketchy installations. Old houses have lots of sketchy installations. Periodic house maintenance lets you keep an eye on things and catch problems before they become bigger problems. Your house isn't that old, but it's still the same idea whether it's painting, changing batteries in smoke detectors, cleaning your gutters or anything else. It gives you peace of mind. Consider it insurance.
There's nothing inherently dangerous about a fuse box, but at the least you should verify that outlets and the service are properly grounded, wire insulation isn't dried out, there are GFIs in the places they are supposed to be and that sort of thing. If that stuff checks out then it's a $ decision. I have never seen any payback info on swapping out a fuse box, but I would hazard a guess that you would see most if not all of that money back at the time of sale. It will certainly be one less item on the home inspector's report.
Good luck with the project.
R
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Regardless of what you meant to imply, that is essentially what you *did* imply.
Your alternative was an upgrade to a 200 AMP *service* (your word - twice) for $300 using only a screwdriver.
It's OK for you to admit that it was a bad - or at a minimum, an incomplete - suggestion.
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

I admit to a little exaggeration. He will also need some pliers, wire-strippers, a drill, and maybe a socket wrench to screw the tapcons or anchors to attach the box to the wall. Other small tools may be useful - for example a hex wrench to tighten the primary's connectors instead of a flat-bladed screwdriver and a crescent wrench.
He may even find a use for pencil, paper, and a pocket camera.

I do so admit.
As an act of contrition, I intend to feel shame the rest of the day.
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re: "Third, it's NOT dangerous. Or complicated. Union people do it every day."
That oughta endear you to the "union people".
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DerbyDad03 wrote:

Buncha humorless scolds, you ask me.
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HeyBub wrote:

Around here, as I suspect is the case in most areas, that would mean having the utility come out to disconnect main power and then come back out to reconnect it, and they won't reconnect it without a licensed electrician signing off on the work.
Those three charges would need to be added to your $300 estimate.
Jon
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Jon Danniken wrote:

The places I'm familiar with, an electrical permit and inspection by the local building inspector are what is required. Nowhere is there a requirement for a licensed electrician, and the utility does not charge for the disconnect or reconnect.
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Well, it's different around here. It's exactly the reverse, except you could "forget" to pull a building permit and not get popped. The electric company is quite specific in their requirements.
4.2 CHANGE OF SERVICE PROCEDURES In recognition of the timing and coordination problems involved in the disconnect and reconnect of simple single phase residential overhead services, where modifications or upgrading of existing service entrances are involved, the procedure known as LIPA CONNECTS is to be used. The purpose of LIPA CONNECTS is to minimize the licensed electrical contractors time and effort while affording them a measure of protection by authorization to handle specific LIPA facilities without fear of prosecution for tampering or diversion of current. It will also provide the LIPA with a control mechanism and minimize the estimating of unmetered consumption (Forms in front of book).
It is entirely possible that your power company has a requirement that is not enforced by your local building department, and thus you might not be aware of it.
R
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Jon Danniken wrote:

So true. I keep overlooking some (most?) live in benighted areas.
In my town, the sequence is:
* Call the power company to remove the meter seal. They will respond within six hours. * Do your stuff* * Call the power company to return and restore the seal. They will respond within twelve hours.
------- * No permits, inspections, plans, approvals, or licensed anybody are required.
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