I want to install a new PVC mast and hood; a new 200A meter; 2 100A
One breaker will feed my existing 100A panel.
The other 100A will feed a new air handler and a couple of receptacles
in the basement.
What is the maximum distance allowed from the mast head to the eyelet
holding the utility feed?
I want to mount the mast and new meter pan and all the other new stuff
before I call the inspector and he calls electric company to switch it
What do I use to connect the two 100A outside CB's to the new meter
base? And to connect the new 100A CB to the existing 100A panel?
What is the code with respect to proper fastening of the mast to the
house? how about fastening the branch circuit wire to beam members in
I do not know the proper names for all the components or proper wire
The existing ground electrode looks like crap. the clamp is loose on
the electrode, and the solid wire to it is a single solid conductor of
unknown metal. I doubt if the electrode is 8 feet into the ground.
What gauge should this wire be, and where do I attach it? By what
means do I bond it?
The old panel has a 220/50A branch circuit going to an outside
disconnect which is adequate for the new heat pump.
There will be a few vacant spaces in the old 100A panel but I'd prefer
to put in a sub-panel off the new 100A branch in the basement. (as
opposed to just a disconnect and only power the air handler)
What is the code with respect to mounting the sub-panel?
How far from the air handler can the sub panel be?
Can it be mounted on the foundation wall on a piece of plywood, or a
piece of plywood where a beam and post intersect?
The air handler specs are: Circuit Amps:51.9/60.0; Minimum Circuit
Ampacity:68/79; Maximum Circuit Protection: 70/80.
What kind of subpanel, and what CB for the air handler.
What wire gauges/types? Can I use copper, or is it too expensive?
my branch from the outside CB to the air handler location will be
about 50' depending on the location of the sub-panel.
When I electric company is on there way over to bring a new feed to
the eyelet off the pole and tie in my mast, I'll pull the meter and
switchover the existing 100A panel to the new 100A outside CB.
I forget, but I think it is something like 8"-12". The weatherhead should
be a little higher than the eyelet so water does not run down into the
weatherhead. Leave at least 3' of wire hanging out for the power company to
Install a trough (6" x 6" x 24" possibly or something larger) under the
meter socket with a 2" nipple. Use bonding bushings and a Meyers Hub.
Come out of the trough with 2-11/4" nipples to feed into the top of the 100
amp cb's. Use bonding bushings. You also need hubs for the circuit breaker
enclosures. When you buy the enclosures be sure to get them. Make your
taps in the trough to split off to each main breaker.
And to connect the new 100A CB to the existing 100A panel?
SE cable or conduit.
One strap within 8" of the weatherhead. One strap within 24" of the meter
socket. Every 36" thereafter.
how about fastening the branch circuit wire to beam members in
Anything smaller than #6 needs to go through bored holes in the joists.
Conduit can be run on the underside.
You will need to install two 5/8" x 8' ground rods. They need to be at
least 6' apart although 16' apart would be optimal. Use ground rod clamps
to connect a #4 copper to the ground rods. The grounding electrode
conductor cannot have any splices in it. You must run this to the meter or
to the trough.
There should be a disconnect for the air handler within site of the unit for
servicing purposes. You must have at least 3' of clearance in front of the
125 amp subpanel, no main. Hmmm. With those specs I'm thinking that you
should run a 125 amp feed to this sub panel and have a 125 amp main breaker.
80 amps will pretty much be the limit for a 100 amp breaker.
Copper is a good way to go. I don't know what your budget is, but aluminum
is adequate. 1/0 copper or 3/0 aluminum for 125 amps. #2 copper or 1/0
aluminum for 100 amps. You will need four conductors from the main breakers
to each subpanel. The grounding conductor can be #8 for 100 amps and #6 for
So many questions! Are you sure you are up for a job such as this? Since
many of your questions are code related, you should get a copy of the
National Electrical Code and read the chapters on grounding and services. I
suggest that you take a walk around your neighborhood and look at other
services. Since you want to install two breakers as mains you should look
at multi-family units with more than one meter outside to see how they
thanks for taking the time to review my questions and provide
thoughtful answers. There are certain aspects to the job that are
physically challenging, like driving in the electrodes. Pulling wire
and assembling mechanical elements are no biggie. But knowing the
specific items is so code related and subject to interpretation. I
live in a small town in rural Virginia. The houses in the neighborhood
run the gamut in age and degree of professionalism used in their
construction. The house inspector we hired prior to purchasing this
place was obviously an crook in partnership with the broker. They all
are. It's just the motions they go through. No one wants to kill the
deal, least of all the lender. Lt's face it, it's rare to actually
lose money on a real estate investment, and that goes for this house
And getting an electrician or any trade to work on the place is like
they're doing you a big favor. I'll try to interpret your answers and
formulate my plan. thanks again.
A simpler solution might be to purchase a combination meter socket and
circuit breaker panel. It would save you a few steps and maybe some space.
It could be more expensive for the parts though as opposed to the trough
method. I don't know about your area, but some power companies furnish the
meter socket. I suggest that you get to know your electrical inspector. He
may be able to point you in the right direction and maybe recommend an
electrician, but it is not his job to tell you how to do the work properly.
Power companies usually have field inspectors or engineers that will come
out and survey a job. You might try getting someone from your power company
to come out and have a look although this is not always an easy task. If
you do get someone to come out, explain what you want to do and pick his
You should also make contact at some local electrical supply companies and
see which ones are agreeable to working with homeowners. They will be
useful as some of the materials that you will need are not available at
hardware or home center stores. The best times I have found to go to
electric supply companies are later in the week in the middle of the
afternoon. That is when they are less busy. Mondays are the busiest days
and even contractors have a difficult time getting information.
You can rent a 40lb jack hammer to drive the ground rods. Having a helper
with the wire pulling is a good idea.
The utility company supplied me with a new one at no charge, but
doesn't have breakers in it.
I need to see if I can lay the new meter and mast over far enough to
the left of the old one so I could employ your idea and exit the
branch circuits out the back which would be desirable.
I don't know about your area, but some power companies furnish the
That's a good idea. When I got the permit, they said it was acceptable
for a homeowner to perform the work, but it would be of course subject
to the inspector's approval.
That's pretty it ironic; the inspector can tell you if it's wrong, but
cannot advise you of what he wants in advance. When we call in the
Fire Marshal prior to doing a system, they review what we want to do
and offer feedback. But really in this case there are a number of
possible ways to go. I've asked about four licensed electricians I
know for their ideas, and got four different answers, At first, I
thought I would need to replace the main panel, which would have been
a monster job. Then one of my friends said to branch off the meter.
Then another friend said that if I did that, I'd need to put in
disconnects or protection before the split, and protect each branch.
That's where it's at right now. I just need to determine the hardware
I need to do this neatly.
Nah, they were really happy to take the work order and provide the new
base which I picked up at there field office about a mile form my
house. I do not think house calls are part of their services!
You might try getting someone from your power company
we use a parts house and I have a contact there already, but am
waiting until I know a little more clearly what I'm doing and what I
need before opening that dialog.
They will be
Home centers: I can roam those places for hours! But until you are
working on a specific project, you never notice certain isles. I know
the electircal isle at a few home centers, but never addressed service
entry or outdoor CB's; so this will be new in that regard. I'd just as
soon give the business to the supply house anyway, but will use the
home center to touch and feel some of the comnponents to familiarise
myself with them.
The best times I have found to go to
Ours has coffee and soft drinks, as well as a popcorn maker; so you
can snack while you look at the bins full of must-have power tools
waiting your turn! I'd email him my list and job overview, and tell
him to look it over when he has spare time.
That's a great idea, but how do you drive a 8' ground rod? off a
ladder? I got to ask my buddies. but renting one of those things is no
My main branch is a straight shot across the crawl space, then it
needs to go up about four feet to the existing panel location, then
through the exterior wall where the new CB's will sit. In the past
I've begun my pulls from the panel down, but with this heavy wire,
I'll go up with the majority of the wire already laying pretty much
where it will stay. Sounds like it will be like wrestling an anaconda.
I'll get my son-in-law Charlie to help (by watching the babies),
while Lila actually helps with the pull. ha-ha
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