replace outdoor 100 amp circuit breaker?

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Hi everyone,
At the moment I'm currently having a electrical problems with the lights in my house flickering on and off, and there were a couple of rooms (living room and one of the bedrooms) in the house wherein the electricity had completely shut off. I checked the breaker box inside the house, but nothing had tripped. So I went outside and walked over to where my electric meter is located, and there is a 100 amp breaker in an outdoor box directly under the meter. I flipped it off, and then flipped it back on. When I went back inside the house, all the electricity was back on in all of the rooms. But after a couple of hours, the problems resumed with the lights flickering off and on in all rooms, and the electricity again went completely out in two rooms.
I called up the electric company yesterday because I wondered if it could be problem on their end, so they sent out a utility to crew to check on things with their gauges. They told me that the problem was that the outdoor 100 amp breaker was getting too hot and needed replacement. Hopefully I can find one that matches at home depot or one of those other places.
I was just wondering what precautions I should take before replacing this outdoor breaker that's in this box under my electric meter? Or is this too dangerous a job and I should call an electrician? I would like to try and do it myself and save some money, if it's possible.
I looked the breaker over (after removing the panel) and noticed that it's hooked up to two thick wires. When replacing this breaker, should I contact the electric company and have them cut off all the electricity going to the meter beforehand? I'm thinking that it's very possible that one could get electrocuted while disconnecting the breaker when pulling it out of the slot..if one of those thick wires make contact.
I have replaced breakers inside the breaker box in my house, but whenever I worked on those, as a precaution I always shut off this outside breaker. But now I need to replace the outside one. I'm just wondering if any of you reading have ever replaced an outside breaker like this, and what precautions you took...
thanks, tysteel
please email me at:
tysteel5000 @ aol.com
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There are other things that need to be considered like the condition of the buss that the breaker connects to, and other internal connections, any of which can cause a breaker to overheat. Without disconnecting power to the drop, something will be live and dangerous. It's entirely possible that the utility company won't kill the power for an amateur to fiddle with it. My recommendation is to hire someone that knows the equipment, and knows what to look for and can safely make the repair

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tysteel wrote:

A journeyman electricion will simply call the power company and tell them that he is dfisconnecting the power. He will then clip the seal on the meter band clamp and remove the band and unplug the meter. When the work is completed the meter is reinstalled, the power company is notified, they send out a tech and a new seal is installed on the meter band. FWIW, in many locales an outside breaker is almost unheard of. Most service entrance panels now come with a main breaker already installed. You would be wise to consider upgrading your service panel and it would be best to have a pro do it. Have the grounding system inspected and brought up to code while you're at it. Good luck.
Joe
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In many locations an outside meter box/main disconnect is what's required

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Crazy! Ain't it!
I don't actually watch the installaions but it seems that in NEW construction, the outside stuff associated with electrical service is much larger.
Was that the only thing you would see could be the meter box (12" x 12" more or less) and the conduit protecting the underground service drop.
Now the "meter box" is about 18" x 36".
For a time because of carelessness on the part of the power company, I was able to look inside a yet larger outside box associated with the electric service to a church. There, actual current didn't pass through the meter but when through some current transformers. IOW: if the meter was pulled, the power would continue to be suppied.
Anyway, if pulling the meter doesn't cut the power to the building it would seem that "they" would want some positive means of so doing.
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John Gilmer wrote:

That is typically primary metering, used in large commercial installations, not residential.

For a primary metering situation the disconnect would be fuses at the pole and "normal" switchgear after the transformer.
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Joe wrote:

Joe The Southern Standard Building Code required an outdoor disconnecting means on dwellings. I do not know if it still does. Many towns and cities that once used the SBC have retained the outdoor disconnect requirement in their present code as a legacy requirement. The fire service is real fond of that rule. -- Tom Horne
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Thomas Horne wrote:

I think the fire folks in other areas just figured out how safe and easy it is to pull the meter and get the same effect. Of course if the whole structure is going up they do like to get the utility over to cut the lines at the pole, something the outside disconnect wouldn't do anyway.
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For "larger" service the current wires pass through separate current transformers. In such a case "pulling the meter" would not cut the juice to the building.
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John Gilmer wrote:

That's primary metering and what's passing through those current transformers is running a 7.2KV or more. The disconnecting means is after the transformer that is dropping that down to normal secondary voltages. This is not something you'll ever find in a normal residential situation.
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"Up to code" may mean totally rewiring to 200 amp service. This means new meter box, new weather post, new service wires. My son wanted to upgrade and the city refused to approve the 100 amp service. He was allowed to do all the work himself except for connecting to the pole and it cost him about $400 in materials. Compare this to the cost of a repair if the service is sufficient, maybe $100 or so, including labor, depending on local electrician rates.
Mike D.

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tysteel wrote:

Try to locate a new breaker. If you can find one, tell the electric company you'll need to break the seal on the meter to repair the main disconnect.
Bob
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Bob are you nuts I work practically every day on live power but I would not take chance on what you are suggesting
Man call electrical company that is license for that type of work and let them do what's need to be done Tony www.cas-environ.com
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pulling a meter is safe provided your careful, dont touch live conductors etc, pull meter straight out, mark glass meter and meter can with aligning mark to ease reinstall.
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but illegal in most locales unless you are a licensed,bonded,insured, journeyman electrician , here where i live ,utility company will not let me pull meter , even though i am licensed , they want to pull and replace , tell me not to touch it , say they will prosecute if i remove . makes for some long days sometimes waiting for them to show up
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On Sep 9, 10:15?am, snipped-for-privacy@-insightbb.com (The Freon Cowboy) wrote:

around here power company doesnt care provided you notify them when done so meter can be resealed
no matter what the rules its not unsafe
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" snipped-for-privacy@aol.com" wrote:

It's particularly safe with the newer lever bypass type sockets that bypass electrically and remove contact pressure from the meter lugs. Of course you have to remember to flip the bypass off after you pull the meter, but the cover won't go back on if the bypass is active anyway. As always, do the lockout tagout thing while you have the meter pulled and are working.
As for the "legality" of pulling the meter yourself, that varies from area to area, and the utility "rules" are not legal requirements, only local codes are. That said, in all areas I have never hesitated to just cut the seal and pull the meter myself for work on my own house and have yet to have any issues from anyone. YMMV...
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The Freon Cowboy wrote:

"Utility company will not let me pull meter..." What will happen in you do?
Will the utility company make you sit in the corner and feel shame?
Tell 'em you tapped on it and if fell out! Screw 'em.
Around here, the utility company asks you to call them so they can rush right out and record the meter reading (within six hours). When you finish your work, call them again and they'll come an re-seal (within 24 hours).
Point is, I guess, requirements differ depending on location and the influence of certain special-interest groups.
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In my area you can be also persecuted for stealing electricity
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tony wrote:

They can threaten that, but the burden of proof is on them and they will certainly fail if you didn't steal any electricity. Removing the meter to disconnect power so you can work on the panel in no way shape or form equates to stealing electricity.

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