Electrical panel rewiring estimate

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I have an old Wadsworth panel (circa 1964) in our house. I recently got a quote from an electrician to upgrade the panel to Square D circuit breakers. He proposed to leave the old Wadsworth box in place, including the wiring entering the box, removing the existing circuit breakers and bus bars as well as the main fuses, and installing the Square D bus bars, main circuit breakers and new circuit breakers. This would result in less labor to remove the old box and rerunning the wires in the new box. Total cost would be about $600 (parts and labor) to approximately 30 breakers in a 200 Amp service. Does this sound like a reasonable approach?
Thank you.
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Might be worth asking Square D...
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Is he going to use the old box as a sub panel? Then use the new panel to feed eavch circuit in the old panel?
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No, the old panel would still be the main panel.
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Considering that the breakers alone would be at least $300, you are getting a bargain.

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Make sure you are getting QO breakers. IMO much better than the standard Harry Home Owner Square D breakers.

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Yes, it is a sensible way to do it. The box is a box. It does nothing but enclose stuff. If you can leave it and all the wires in place, you save a lot of labor. 30 breakers have to be in the range of $300 to $350 alone.
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FDR wrote:

to replace the box. It cost him $1400.
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Rich256 wrote:

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Here in the Tampa bay area of Florida that is a bargain,make sure he has it inspected though,if he wont allow a inspection by a city or county inspector,thats why its so cheap,even if he isnt a lic eletrical person you should be able to pull the permit as a home owner.
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Actualluy sounds reasonable. Thats $200- $300 in parts and will take him 2-3 hours. I bet that price does not include the permit which in my city would cost another $150 (94 for the permit and ~50 for the SE upgrade). Power company should not charge for the temporary disconnect but will if you require bigger service entrance conductors.
He should stick around for the inspection but will probably split before the power company guy gets back to reconnect.
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Although this sounds like an economical means and as someone else said "A box is a box", this is most certainly NOT the way to go. When Square D has their equipment tested to get a UL listing it is with the entire package. Removing the guts from a Square D panel and installing them in a Wadsworth panel will void all warranties and would not pass inspection. I am surprised that a licensed electrical contractor would even suggest something like that. Make sure that you get an insurance certificate from him because you will need it.
I understand that you want to save money, but the liability in such an installation is not worth a few dollars savings on a hatchet job. I suggest that you get a few more quotes from other electrical contractors and I also sugest that you have the installer get a permit and inspection for the job.
When a panel is upgraded the code requires that the grounding electrode system be upgraded as well. That means two grounds rods installed and all interior metal piping must be bonded.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv
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    Just had my 100 amp panel upgraded to a 200 amp panel. Everyone was involved: Electrician, power company, inspector. Passed ok. They didn't touch the grounding, used existing ground wire. Without digging down there, how would they have known if it was one or two rods?
    Bob
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It is possible to test the ground wire to determine if it is good for the code mandated 25 ohms or less. Usually a 100 amp service has a #6 copper or #4 aluminum (Or #8 copper armored) grounding electrode conductor. If you have water service from the street the conductor would be connected to that. A 200 amp service requires a #4 copper or #2 aluminum for the primary electrode grounding conductor. The supplemental grounding electrode conductor can be #6 copper. Your local jurisdiction may have less stringent code requirements.
Did the electrician bond the hot and cold water pipes to the gas pipe? Did they install a jumper from one side of the water meter to the other?
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John Grabowski wrote:

    The water meter is 40 feet from the power entrance. Everything from the water meter to the house is PVC. No, they didn't wire anything to the water pipes. The only gas up here on the mountain is propane. I suppose 30 feet of buried copper tubing would make a decent ground but I don't think it would be wise to connect to that. To add to all of this, the wires from the transformer two poles away to the house have not yet been changed by the power company. Wires are presently not adequate for 200 amp service. Maybe the power company will upgrade the ground if and when they upgrade their service. Having a 200 amp panel in rural Tennessee doesn't mean the power company can supply 200 amps. And I thought the TVA was all about abundant electricity.
Bob
    
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I didn't say anything baout saving money. The guy happened to be at my house doing electrical work and I asked him about the Wadsworth panel; if it was dangerous being old and fact that breakers are hard to come by. He mentioned they aren't UL certified and I asked him to quote replacing it. He came back with the idea of just repacing the guts. I'm just trying to see if it really makes that much of a diffierence.

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FDR wrote:

I agree with John. The Square D guts would no longer be UL listed and the installation would be a code violation. I would be surprised if the Wadsworth breakers/panel aren't UL listed but havn't seen one for a real long time.
bud--
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On Thu, 02 Mar 2006 03:14:26 GMT, "FDR"

I'd first ask your local authority whether it's permissable, before worrying about whether it will work. It shouldn't save you more than a couple hours labor, and maybe $100 on the case, though, as long as the new box has entry holes in the same places.
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FDR wrote:

It's still a hack job. Any electrician worth his salt can remove the old panel and replace it with a new one instead of gerry rigging an old panel. You should seriously consider finding another electrician. Retrofitting that old Wadsworth with Sq.D guts will NOT meet NEC. That $600 is probably about half the going rate.
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What part of NEC doesn't it meet, if you don't mind answering?
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