Upgrading electrical service

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Hello All,
I realize this is a very "open ended" question - but I'm going to ask anyway. I'm looking to upgrade my 100amp fuse box to 200 amp breakers (and the corresponding service). This is in Rhode Island in the North East. If anyone has had this done recently what did you pay for the upgrade? Just trying to get an idea of the range of prices that I should be looking at. In upgrading am I forced to correct any "out of code" stuff?
The reason I ask is I had one guy come in and basically wanted to rewire my house. Sorry - that isn't in the cards - for the price I was quoted I might as well sell the house and start over.
Also, if anyone has a recomendation for a good electrition in the area that chargers a "fair" price I'm all ears.
TIA
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

I have no idea of price, but I don't see why you couldn't maintain the circuits you currently have and only get a new service and breaker panel. what rationale did he give for "rewiring the whole house?"
nate
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replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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It may come under the "out of code" clause. or possibly the "out of work" clause

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Well - that's what my current thinking is as of now. But I am having a hard time trying to find a 60 or 70 amp sub panel with more than 4 spaces (what I find only has 2 spaces - I want to run 2 20 amp circuits for the outlets, one 15 am for lighting (I'm running 5 cans, one overhead and an outside garage light on it) and a seperate 15 am circuit for the refridgerator and microwave. Currently I have 2 20 amp circuits supplying the existing stuff, so I know I'll never, with the extra cans, run into even 50% of a 60 amp sub - and I'd be taking the 2 20's out of the 100 amp fuse box). I'm redoing the kitchen so want to add 5 additional circuts to the fuse box which is "full". Though I have plenty of "overhead" left and the sub-panel solution would work. But I'm thinking I'm going to have to bite the bullet some time so this might be the time.
I had one guy in and he looked at the fuse box and wanted to replace all the circuitry to bring it "up to code". Well, I can't afford that I do all my own electrical but won't touch this type of upgrade (I won't touch a panel upgrade itself, I know my limits). He wanted close to $3000 to run the upgrade, which, to me, is real high. And this was just to bring my kitchen up to code (with the existing 2 circuits). I even got the old "you don't want to keep this because it might start a fire" speach. Well, it's been in 30 years and I haven't even blown a fuse so the scare tactics are bullsh**. I do all my own circuits to the panel so I know basic wiring and I know when I'm being feed the story.
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

Have you run out of capacity, or just run out of spaces? (have to do a load analysis to really answer that) If just the former, and after rereading your post I'm pretty sure it is, install a 100A main-lug load panel next to the breaker box. Either tap it into the main bus after the main fuses, or run it off the dryer or range fuse with 75A fuses and move the dryer or range circuit to the new subpanel. (the dryer circuit will probably be easier) If the dryer or range circuit is 3 wires instead of 4, it cannot be fed from a subpanel; you'd have to convert it to 4 wires (or ignore this rule, which I'm not recommending)
Bob
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It's a spaces issue. I don't believe I'm anywhere near capacity as this is the first time any electrical "capacity" has been added since the original wiring was done on the house and there has never been a capacity issue yet so it is servicing what it was originally rated for minus an electric range because I switched to gas when I bought the house (from my parents). So in effect it is servicing "less" than it was originally rated for (though I have kept the range wiring in place in case when I sell the house the buyer would want that instead of gas so I consider it still "in service" even though it is not used).
The only extra "capacity" I want to add is a 15 amp circuit becase I am adding recessed lighting in the kitchen and figured I probably should run that on a seperate line as the existing light was run on the same circuit as the refridgerator. My thinking was that I would just break those two lines up and dedicate a line to the refridge and add the extra 15 dedicated just to lighting (7 total lights).
At this point I'm strongly thinking of doing what you are suggesting or just having my 100 amp fuse box upgraded to a breaker box with more spaces. The existing fuse panel only allows for about 12 fuses (spaces) and that is my problem.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

You can get "half-width" breakers. With those, you can essentially double the number of circuits in the box.
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wrote:

Well - that I know - but then again those rectangular breakers are hard to fit into the existing round fuse sockets ;-)
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wrote:

Just gotta have a big enough hammer....
;-]
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:-)
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HeyBub wrote:

Such breakers cannot be used were the panel is not listed to use them. Installing replacement use only breakers in a CTL panel board is a code violation that can cause real trouble if it leads to any problem later on because it will stick out like a soar thumb to a trained fire cause investigator. Don't risk becoming one of the unlucky few whose insurance coverage is voided by doing bad work. -- Tom Horne
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
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What constitutes a 200 amp service and who is responsible to pay for the various parts of it, varies wildly from one area to another. In some locations the utility company furnishes some of the materials and labor, and in other areas the property owner is responsible for everything. The term "out of code" by NEC definition means anything not in accordance with 2008 codes, which could mean damn near anything, so I'd want to find out, by who's interpretation. Your best bet is to contact a few local electricians, get all the pertinent information and estimates

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Well, 200 amps is 200 amps. That much I know ;-) The NEC is fairly specific when it comes to wire sizes and specs for supplying various services.
Your right about the "out of code" stuff, I'm pretty sure that's electritian speek for "I need to make my mortgage payment this week and I got the truck payment too" LOL!
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

Except for before the meter which falls under the NESC which basically say's whatever the utility cares to use.

And alimony, child support, girlfriend, etc.
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Right, but I believe (at least here) the ELCO deals with that. could be wrong at that though. Like I said, running circuits to the panel is no problem my comfort zone ends at the box, but electric theory is the same.
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I have wondered, if you have 100 amp service with too few circuits, install a spiffey new 200 amp service but replace the main 200 amp breaker with a 100 amp one, but upgrade all the grounding to current code.
would this pass a inspection?
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" snipped-for-privacy@aol.com" wrote:

Yes, you can upgrade a 100A fuse load center to a 100A breaker load center. You can also put a main breaker in a load center with a lower rating than the maximum the load center buss is rated for.
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Good question. I also thought of buying a 100 amp main load center and replacing the 100 amp main breaker with a 60 amp breaker and just not bonding the ground and installing a ground bar to the panel and running it as a sub panel back to the main fuse box. Not sure how this would fly though or if it is even "acceptable". Which eventually leads to why not just "sub panaling" a full 100 amp load box off the main fuse box in this mannor and moving over all the circuits to the breakers (if nothing is left in the fuse box then both the fuse and breaker should blow on overload - in theory). I'm sure this is not acceptable for some reason though ...
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

zxcvbob covers a subpanel. You can use a main-lug subpanel or can leave a 100A main breaker. Overcurrent protection is in the fusebox. The connection can be to the bus of the fuse box downstream from the main fuses, but you probably don't have a connection to the bus available. Next best is a range/stove connection which is likely a 'pullout' which can take 2 60A fuses. The wiring to the subpanel would then be 60A.

Sounds code to me. May not be worth the effort to move all the circuits over. And there may not be any way to get to the bus of the fusebox to connect for 100A.
If the fusebox is replaced with a 100A circuit breaker panel the existing wires from the meter may be too short to reach the circuit breaker and have to be replaced.
If the fusebox is replaced with 200A everything on the service side is likely to have to be replaced including the meter box if it is not rated 200A and the riser conduit and wires if overhead service. The service drop or underground lateral may have to be replaced - probably the call of the utility. Overhead wire change may be free.
Considerations I don't remember mentioned - permits and inspection required? Can homeowner (you) do the work? Is the inspector a jerk? Asking the inspector questions can avoid problems later. But inspectors may be overworked and not appreciate questions. Or may not appreciate non-electricians.
You sound like you know what you are doing. Knowing your limits is part of that. A homeowner may certainly be competent to changeout a service to 200A, but there are a lot of unique gotchas for a service.
--
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Ok - I sort of see what your saying. Leave the 100 amp fuses in place as the "main break" point and wire into the pullouts for the range. I haven't looked at what those fuses are, I do know there are two piggied on the pullout. But shouldn't I still have a 60 amp break as the main sub break? Or your saying I keep the 60 amp fuse in place and wire the load off of that so that that stays in place and becomes the defacto 60 amp break for the subpanel? That way theh 100 amp break at the sub is not used.

Right, how would I connect the wire to the bus. 100amp will need a big wire - haven't looked at the code for anything that big.

good point. Didn't think of that.

I personally don't want to deal with the permit process. If I do it myself I don't need to pull the permit. But I won't touch the box - so that will require both a permit and qualified electritian. It's a quandry. I need to call some electritians I think and go with full replacement of the 100amp fuse with a new 100 amp box. That's what I'm leaning to right now.

And that's the quandry. Grrr. As long as I can get what I need done for under 1500 then I'm all set - it's in the budget. But I think I'm going to have a time with that. I won't touch the box - I'll deal with anything else electrical but that I'm frankly afraid of. I'll deal with anything I can fully disconect - not something that can kill that easily. If worse comes to worse I suppose I can pull the 240 to the range and use that "capacity" for my lights and worry about upgrading later.
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