Load center replacement

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I'm thinking mabee it's time to replace my old fuse panel with a breaker panel. Problem is, the new panels are not even a close match to the old panel. The existing panel is surface mounted with the main switch/fuse on the left, with the power feed coming in from the back in the lower corner. All the "load" wires come in the top. They come out through the plywood service board and then enter thepanel within inches. This does not allow much flexibility.
The closest I've found so far is a Schnieder StabLok panel, but I would need to mount it sideways. No problem with the main breaker as it would be oriented on up, as required by code. The feed would need to come in through an elbow through the bottom of the box instead of the back as the new panel is significantly smaller. I can make all this work - but then half of the load breakers are upside-down. Don't know if that is an issue here in Canada - aparently it is not allowed in the USA. I guess I could always restrict myself to half capacity (use a 40 circuit panel as a 20)
The only problem I can forsee is some know-it-all home inspector seeing the FPE on the panel and demanding a future buyer replace the dang thing because early FPE StabLok breakers got a REAL bad name in the USA (rightly or wrongly). We will likely be selling in the next 5 years or so (which is the MAJOR reason I'm even thinking about replacing the panel in the firstr place.
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On Oct 29, 9:32 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

It is clear that this project is beyond your skill level...
First you are looking for a panel with an identical layout to the one you have installed now... -1...
Second you had not thought at all about removing your present fuse box guts and using it as a junction box, extending all of the existing wires through conduits to a new circuit breaker panel installed next to the existing one, then obtaining a piece of sheet metal of the proper thickness to correctly cover the old fuse box...
Then there is no fusing around with any of the old wiring removing them from the old panel and installing them into the new one, old wires sometimes lose their flexibility and it would really suck to have to trace circuits back and install new home runs or have to work with many junction boxes out and away from the panel...
Call an electrician to do this for you...
~~ Evan
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On Sat, 29 Oct 2011 19:45:27 -0700 (PDT), Evan

Au contraire my friend

Not an option Not enough space, and besides that it would look like heck as well. Would sure turn off any future buyer.

of this work in the past. Used to work wit my dad, who was an electrician, and actually wired this house back in the early seventies.

choosing what goes in and what it is going to look like when it is done. I know there are lots of ways this can be done that would be FAR less than optimal. Anything less tha RIGHT, it will stay the way it is - because there is nothing WRONG with it the way it is. In 30 years the only fuses I've had to replace have been from jamming the table saw or starting the compressor when it was too cold and stiff.
ANd it DOES still have 2 spare circuits available.
I do know, however, that any half-assed home inspector hired by a future buyer would flag the fused panel. And I've never met a home inspector that was anything better than half-assed - period. They pick on small unimportant stuff and miss the big expensive important stuff.
"you don't want this house, there's no dish washer, and the switch plate in the bathroom is cracked" and they don't catch the bad grading that causes water to flood into window wells in heavy rain, or the blistered cast iron drain stack, or even the extention cords, or even telephone wire, used to wire the rec room. Went through that before we bought this place 30 years ago without an inspection. I checked this place myself and no problems I wasn't aware of. I knew the windows were cheap contractor windows that would eventually need replacing, along with the roof - I replaced the roof 7 years later, and the windows starting after 15 years, finishing this year.
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On Oct 29, 11:44 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

You are concerned about it "looking like heck" when you are trying to find the one ideal panel which would be a drop in replacement, oh and you are concerned about the name on the new panel...
WOW...
Grow up... Seriously... Either do it right or leave it alone... Your problem was with where your feeder cable was running, and that is one of the easier things to replace as usually the meter can and the panel aren't all that far away from each other...
So that is one problem that seems to be driving your decision eliminated... As to the other, the wires all coming in at the top, another person suggested here that you install a trough and then use sections of conduit to feed the circuits into the new panel... You could do that if you wanted or use the old panel as the junction box as I suggested, (oh but wait you said it was too close to the window or some foolishness, hmmm, perhaps the new panel could go on the other side of the window -- why not show us a picture of the area so that more information is available to make the recommendation) which is an acceptable option if you replace the cover plate with one which has no openings in it (some inspectors are good with a screw fixing the door in place and others want a solid piece metal cover plate)
I would also upgrade to 200 amp service at this point in time, as a different respondent told you your choices are not going to be the same as the new buyer of your house when it sells... Plug-in hybrid cars are becoming more popular, and while the capability to recharge overnight (10-12 hours) using a standard 15 amp, 120 volt cord is nice and all, a lot of people who buy plug-in hybrid cars want to be able to recharge their cars more quickly and that requires a 240 volt outlet using as much amperage as a 40 amp electric stove...
But it is your choice, your money and your hard luck if your house ends up interesting yuppie/hippie types and you have to fix a whole punch list of things really quickly (thus costing more money for the time pressure) versus making your upgrades on your own time table...
~~ Evan
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if its so easy just do it all once...... changing the main entrance cable to support 200 amps will solve many of the install issues. 90% of all home buyers demand a home in perfect condition ready to move in. a electrical make do can discourage lots of buyers
drywall is cheap, open the wall and do it right
once you put your home on the market / or under sales agreement all repairs must be done by registered contractors. all buyers will want receipts. this runs up the costs a lot

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wrote:

Waterloo North Hydro requires a "service plan" I think they call it on all panel changes. They WILL require the meter base to be changed if a permit is pulled and an inspection done. They will NOT allow stub conduits, although Kitchener does? or at least did. My electrical contractor friend is checking to see if they still allow 2 cables in one clamp/knockout going into the panel. If WNH requires the meter base to be replaced, it can be raised 4 inches, making the new panel fit (still sideways) (assuming WNH allows the changed meter location) - so the service plan is step #1 tomorrow. If the meter base is changed it WILL get a 200 amp panel. If WNH wants the whole service moved they can stuff it - the old panel will stay. Too bad it's an Amalgamated 4320 instead of a 4220 panel - the 4220 would be a candidate for a "guts transplant", while the 4320 is not.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Too bad you live in such a benighted jurisdiction. In mine, one calls the power company to unseal the meter. Once they do that, the homeowner or electrician pulls the meter, makes whatever changes he feels are appropriate, then calls the power company to re-seal the meter. End of story.
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dunno about you but a Stab-Lok panel would be a real turn off to me, so the name is important.
I personally wouldn't use one.
nate
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wrote:

by Schnieder - being replaced with Square D Homeline - which is an even "cheaper" product - even if not less expensive.
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On Oct 30, 10:46 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

How is the meter located WRT the panel? If it's significantly higher I would be tempted to punch through the exterior wall in a location that will allow you to use a modern panel, then yes, you will have to patch the hole in the siding where the old conduit came through. But that seems like the best solution to me.
good luck
nate
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wrote:

wall from the panel. Ends up I may not have much choice - WNH requires a "service layout" that I MUST comply with - which MAY require moving the meter base, or MAY allow moving the meter base, but WILL require replacing it. Find out next week what is involved - which will make my descision whether it gets done at all or not.
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On Oct 30, 10:46 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

It is sounding more and more like you are bitching because a drop-in replacement doesn't exist...
If you think that you are going to be able to do this without opening the wall... LOL... Good luck...
It seems you are only receptive to specific advice here which fits into your already pre-determined vision of how this work should be able to be done...
Again... Either do it right or leave it the fuck alone, if your insurance is connected to it and all, then oh well, I guess you will have to keep things they way they are now and your descendants can worry about it after your passing...
~~ Evan
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On Oct 29, 9:32 pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

how many amps is the main? 200 is todays standard
the main cable and meter can are 40+ years old, even if they appear fine 40 years is a long time
how many circuits does the current main panel support? the higher the main amp rating the more the number of circuits.
your far better off replacing the entire service drop, upgrading if needed the grounding, and installing a new 200 amp main panel/
FBE richly deserves the reputation it earned. that panel should go for metal recycling.
do get the install inspected home inspectors now checvk on that and proper permitting.
or have endless hassles at home sale time:(
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wrote:

panel is in a dry semi-finished area - like new inside and out.

as well as 20 standard "plug" fuses. currently there are 2 spare circuits in the panel. This is equivalent to a 24 circuoit breaker panel.
the StabLok 100 amp load centers are available with 16 to 40 circuits

It's an underground service

The good ones do. Most of them up here are half blind and stupid. And if properly installed, they would not be able t tell it had been replaced in the last 10 years. However, inspection is not an issue. Will be required by the insurance company anyways when I switch insurers - which is another reason I'm considering doing it NOW. I moved my car insurance from the insurer I've been with for 53 years, who currently also insure the house. The new insurer wants an inspection.

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On Oct 30, 9:36 am, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

obviously you have ruled out a upgrade to 200 amps.:(
What your missing is a perspective buyer may anticipate a lifestyle requiring more than 100 amps.
So the buyer and home inspector have this conversation.
The main panel is new and looks perfect, but the main entrance cable is a underground line probably dating back to the time the home was built. that cable may be in poor condition, its underground. and in any case its limited to 100 amps, just half of the typical new service today...
the buyer may prefer all sorts of new electrical things and you have just discouraged a sale.......
if thats what you want thats fine....
ultimately its your wallet.......
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wrote:

Actually, Waterloo North Hydro apparently provisioned all of the houses in this neighbourhood the same - 200 amp feeders.
The house is small enough(1300 square feet) that 200 amps would be overkill without electric heat. or a heavy duty shop or pottery kiln.

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buyers want 200 amps because it gives them room to grow....
add AC, a electric stove, and electric dryer. and there you go 200 amps......
while 100 amps is plenty for YOU theres no way for you to know what the buyer may want.....
by not upgrading you will be locking out a bunch of buyers
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wrote:

Nope. The house has electric range, AC, and electric drier, but a gas water heater and furnace. With the AC, range (all 4 stovetops plus the broiler on at the same time) and the drier running you are still well under 100 amps. 200 amps is a REQUIREMENT with electric heat

If THEY want 200 amps they can change the breaker and pay for the service upgrade if required. They won't have to change the panel.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

If THEY raise the issue, you can offer the simple solution.
Some of "THEM" may, however, just think "Uh-oh!" and walk away.
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However, inspection is not an issue.

thanks you point out something I have been posting here for years.
homeowners insurance companies frequentky REQUIRE a inspection before writing a new policy.....
some posters here claimed this wasnt occuring.
check your home for obvious defencies, things like age and condition of roof, presence of K&T wiring, your current issue a fuse box, bad sidewalks, things like trip hazards, overall condition of home, do all stairs have handrails? any debris under a porch or piled up in yard, you go away on extended vacations? or snowbird to a winter home?
all of these and more can either raise or homeowners cost or make getting insurance impossible
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