Upgrading electrical service

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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

A main-lug panel does not have a main disconnect. It just has terminals to connect your great big supply wires. If there are lugs in your fusebox (has to be after the main fuses) you can connect there. Otherwise, use one of the (hopefully unused) big cartridge fuse pullouts to power the new subpanel. The main fuses will protect the new box. Also the RANGE cartridge fuses will protect the new box if you have to go that route -- and you probably will. Put the biggest fuses in that pullout that it will accept (probably 45, 60, or 75A, I can't remember how cartridge fuses are sized.)
Don't forget to separate the ground and the neutral in your new subpanel. (means it will need a ground kit, but those are cheap)
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

Fuse holders are 5 - 30, 35 - 60, 70 - 100.
Some pull out main panels have the two installed sixty ampere pull outs supplied in parallel from the main lugs. They can be fused as one hundred twenty ampere panels. If yours is one of those then have a load calculation done to insure that you will not overload your service entry conductors. If the panel was originally rated for one hundred fifty amperes; and many of the old two pull out with eight to twelve Edison base fuses were; the main pull out is one hundred amperes maximum and the range pull out is sixty amperes maximum supplied in parallel from the main lugs. Once again that would seem like good news but you have to be careful not to overload your service entry conductors.
The electrical code has always allowed the sum of the main disconnects on a multi disconnect service to exceed the ampacity of the service entry conductors. The electricians skill and adherence to the service ampacity requirements of the code is what safeguards such installations from service entry conductor failure. Remember that service entry conductors have no real over current protection. The first fuse upstream from the buildings main disconnecting means is the one protecting the utility company's transformer from an internal fault. The entire ampacity of the transformer's secondary winding is available to any fault on the conductors it supplies limited only by the ampacity of the conductors between the fault and the transformer itself. If having your service entry conductors arcing and burning on the side of your home while the fire department is waiting for the utility to de-energize the supply doesn't sound like fun to you you're a wise person. -- 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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I've called another electrician :) That is the type of scenario that I have envisioned. LOL!
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

if you use the range pullout. You need to connect downstream from the 100A fuses in any case. A disconnect is not needed in the subpanel, but if there is a 100A breaker in the subpanel you can leave it even if the feed is only 60A. Or use a main lug panel as Bob said - should be cheaper. Range pullouts are usually 60A max and drier pullouts 30A max.

Your fusebox probably doesn't have any way to connect to the bus, leaving the range pullout as the max tap. 30A may be big enough for what you are doing (can't remember how much you want to add).

If true it just means the wires from the meter to the panel have to be replaced (or the pipe cut shorter).

I have no idea what the permit requirements are where you live. Typically if there are permits you 'have' to pull one. Homeowners may (or may not) be able to pull a permit for their house. Or rules may be looser.

panel ask why (as I think someone else suggested).

One of the hazards in a service panel is even with the main breaker off, the service wire connections are still hot. If you short them there is typically 3,000 - 10,000A available for the short. And the service wires are substantially unfused. Just means you have to be real careful. Paranoia about electrical (within reason) is your friend. I could use more of it sometimes.
--
bud--

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bud-- wrote:

Not when you pull the meter and do the proper lockout - tagout on the meter base.
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Pete C. wrote:

So tell me Pete, how do you lock out a rimless meter enclosure? Do you own one or more of the over sized meter blanks that fits inside the cover of those animals. -- 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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Tom Horne wrote:

Cut the seal, flip up the cover, remove the meter, tape a piece of cardboard inside the cover to keep out fingers (plexiglass if it's handy or you'll be working in bad weather), close the cover and lock it shut with a padlock and your "do not operate" tag. If the cover is locked and tagged shut, nobody is going to be reinstalling the meter until you unlock it are they? Also the expected duration is a few hours for a normal panel replacement.
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Thanks for your responses Bud. I think I know have a fairly clear understanding of what needs to be done. Again, I have a inate fear of the amperage that is involved at the main, which is why I am asking the questions. I've called another electrician - I think I'm really going to try to go that route rather than touch it myself.
Again - thanks.
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Tell the guy you only want a new service panel and nothing more, PERIOD. Tell the guy this is all you can afford and you have an out of town friend or brother who is an electrician and will take care of adding more circuits later. If he states there are code violations, have him put them all in writing. Then get more estimates, and if the guys says code violations, get them in writing, etc....
I did lots if replacement panel upgrades. If I could, I installed a new panel right next to the old one so the smaller cables could be easily wired back into the new panel. On a few occasions I'd have to lift the old panel, hang it from the ceiling joists, run temporaty power to it, and put the new panel in the exact same place. Better yet, find when the homeowners will be away for the day, be sure their freezer and fridge get some ice blocks and rip out the old panel completely. Install new panel in same place, get power from the source connected, and then one by one reconnect the individual house cables. This especially was helpful when there was conduit feeds to the house, and the area I worked in, that was common in all older homes prior to the 70's. Whenever I saw a fuse with two wires on it, that became 2 circuits immediately, which helped split the circuits a little at only a few extra bucks for the breakers. I always explained things like this to the owner.
Granpa
On Mon, 7 Jan 2008 21:20:34 -0500, "Eric_Scantlebury"

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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

With moderate DIY skills and an average tool kit, you should be able to complete the job for $300 worth of materials and an afternoon's work. That's what it took me.
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Well, I know a 200 amp load center is fairly cheap ($150 or so) but I would need to replace both the wiring into the 100 amp service (the existing aluminum is not "big" enought) and I believe the meter would need to be changed. I'm good with simple wiring and circuits (i.e. anything past the panel in the house) but I am not confident enough to do this type of upgrade, even if the electric company would let me.
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

If the meter socket through the load center needs to be replaced and there are not complicating factors (difficult location, existing circuits in really bad shape, etc.) it should run between $1,000 - $1,500 and take most of a day to complete.
'Bub's comments on the DIY side are pretty much correct unless you opt for higher end components. A friend had to upgrade his house from 60A fuse to 100A breaker (small house no justification for 200A), and with an evening of instruction he did the DIY in roughly the same time and cost.
I did an upgrade myself a couple years ago from 200A service to 200A service :) Actually it was replacing a 200A POS Stab-Loc incendiary device with a 200A Square D QO load center in the house and upgrading the sub in my shop 80' away to a 125A QO load center along with installing all new conduit and wire underground to the shop. It took me about two days to complete (not counting trenching the concrete like clay) and ran around $1,500 which also included a complete internal rewire in the shop.
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wrote:

This is what we paid to upgrade our 60A to 200A in 2003: $1,000 and just about a full day of work for a licensed electrician. We're very happy to have all these extra slots for the upcoming kitchen remodel, and we've used several to run new circuits to spread the load better in the house.
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Ok - thanks for the reply. Again - this is around what I think should be right. Just looking for varification of what others have spent.
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That's about what I thought a "fair" price would be. I have full existing 14/2 romex (NM-B) in the house so I don't get why he would want to "upgrade" any of that on the 15 amp circuits. I do have some 14/2 on a couple of 20's but they go to the kitchen (which I am rewiring with 12/2 and 20 amp sockets for those circuits).
I don't have enough "knowledge" to know about the meter and all, which is why I need an electrician. Like I said, I know my limits - I'm willing to pay a "fair" price, but $3000 is a bit high IMHO.
I would also not have a problem taking that type of job on (the run to a subpanel to another building). As long as I can cut power on what I'm working on I have no problems. I get that the panel in a different building needs to be bonded to it's own ground, run with wiring in a "wet" condition etc ......
Thanks for the response. Looks like maybe I just got to line up about 5 electricians and get quotes.
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

Partial photo gallery of my power project for your amusement:
http://wpnet.us/Power/index.htm
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LOL! My kitchen right now looks like your "bare" room in the first photos. Man, this started out as a floor repacement and has turned into a full gut (and, now, apparently, a full house electrical upgrade) and the only thing "finished" is the floor. :)
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Pete, just curious, why did you run your wire outside the wall in that "shop" area? Looks like you had to sheerock anyway so why not run behind the wall with NM-B rather than conduit with I assume THHN?
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Eric_Scantlebury wrote:

Ease of changes, additions, serviceability and it also minimizes breaks in the 5/8" fire code sheetrock. Industrial style basically.
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Ah, makes sense in a shop senario.
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