I want to upgrade my combined service entrence and breaker panel (CSED) from
100A to 200A so that I can run a new 50A 240 circuit to a new appliance.
Is this a job an advanced DIY'er can do?
It looks straightforward enough for an electrical engineer to figure out
given enough research and advice or am I deluding myself? After all they do
sell these things at home depot.
Anyone know of a website/ PDF application note/ installation manual or other
web reference that outlines the process.
Yes. You probably also need to upgrade the service entrance conductors
and maybe the meter box.
Don't try to engineer it. Use the charts and tables in the national
electric code book (also called NFPA 70). But first, find out whether
your locality is using the 1999 or the 2002 code (or whatever), and what
local variances they have. If you are an engineer, you should be able
to understand the language in the code book if you read it a few times
to get the terminology.
I'd love to DIY this to my house, but in order to get the Power Co to
turn the power back on, I'd need and inspector to OK it. Of course the
city won't issue a permit to a homeonwer who DIY's it because they
support cartels (contractors). So therefore my vintage 1962 panel
stays. I simply put newer breakers in it and it's fine.
"I'm surprised. I thought almost every jurisdiction in the country
issue permits to DIYers for this job."
I'm sure tha most places would, but Baltimore City is run 100% by
Democrats (and has been for decades) whom, in my opinion are much more
likely to support cartels and unions, etc. To them if I do it myself I
am depriving some union sob of money, etc. That and Democrats are much
more likely to think that people are helpless and you have to protect
them from their own stupidity.
On 03/09/05 03:43 pm Travis Jordan tossed the following ingredients into
the ever-growing pot of cybersoup:
My township requires permits only for projects costing more than $200. I
couldn't find anything else referring specifically to electrical work. A
new 200A panel is less than $150, and I plan to reuse the "old" (some of
them are actually new within the last year) breakers, so I'll be under
I did that once. The fun part was when they told me that I had to hook
it up to the existing mast, while it was hot. Lots of fun working 15 foot
off the ground with heavy duty wire trying to put on those clamps with 240
volts live in the wires. Will I survived, but for the life of me I don't
know why they wanted me to do it. They came out the next day, before the
inspector arrived, and cut my clamps off (the exact clamps they said I had
to use) and put their own ones on. The inspector got there early and even
thought he warned me he would leave if I was not on time, he managed to
inspect and approve it all with out me there.
What is CSED? Your Utility?
Sort of depends on the type of service you have. If your service conductors
are over head then maybe. If they are under ground then the complexity is
Over head is easy as far as I am concerned. Underground, can be tricky the
utility might want new conductors to the panel. They could be direct bury
and they might be in conduit. I would vote for direct bury.
Best to start by call some folks at the utility and ask what they will be
looking for in your application.
Are you sure that you need a service change? Just what is this new
appliance? Do you know anyone who would be willing to do a load calculation
based on the NEC version used by your code authority? Your code authority
may have the calculations on a form already.
Residential load calculations are easy enough for anyone who reads appendix
D page 70-609 of my 1999 NEC. Your library should have a copy. Unless your
interested in spending a ~$100 your not going to easily find what your
looking for on line. The NFPA is pretty anal about getting paid for their
CSED Combined service entrance device is a term used by the manufacturer
like square D
It is overhead. I have done the load calc and since my range and drier are
electric and I want to put in an 8kW steam generator, I would need a 15A
service. I will go for 200A for a future possility of a spa.
The alternative is to leave the electric alone and upgrade the gas and
replace the range and or drier to free up load for the steamer.
Should I call the utility or the city inspector for advice first?
You need to weigh in the cost of threat of death vs money.
Let me explain, I do all my own electrical work in the house. New
runs, lights, whatever. But there is a clear difference in that I can
shut the power off when I do work in my home vs the power from the pole
to my house is always on. I upgraded my service to my home to 200amp
(cost was 1200.00 including electrical cert.)
The guy changed everything right up to where the power comes to my
But again, that's that problem though that I have. I can't shut the
power off from the pole to my house to do the work, If I could maybe I
would have tried.
P.S. in my area you need a licensed electrician for that job. I also
needed an electrical certification for my insurance company too.
Good point. My insurance company reduced my premiums after my electrical
service was upgraded. Apparently, some of the older breaker boxes (in
houses over 30 years old) were fire hazards, and replacing them reduces the
insurance risk. The reduction in premiums isn't enough to pay for the
upgrade, but it is a nice bonus.
I replaced our 60amp Federal Pacific 12 breaker panel with a 40 panel 200A
SquareD "Q0" panel about two years ago. In our area (Westerville, OH), the
homeowner can do the work themselves, but you still need a permit.
Basically you get the permit, then call them the night before you want to do
the work and a crew comes out and cuts the lines where they get to your
house (overhead feed) and pull the meter. You do the work, then they
inspector comes out. If he OK's everything, he calls the crew and they
re-connect the power and meter. A neighbor had it done about 6 months
before, cost about $1,200. I purchased most of the parts from Home Depot
and Lowes, total was about $450. It ended up taking about 6 hours from the
cutoff to when I was ready for the inspection. I replaced the cable down
the outside of the house, the meter base (they provided that when I got the
permit), and the panel. Fortunately, the old panel was about three feet
down from the top of the basement, it gave me plenty of room for the new
Some of the things I did that helped:
1) Asked questions to the inspector during the planning, he was very
helpful. Found out some of the things they require above the national code.
2) I did as much of the work ahead of time as possible. Installed the
ground rod, prepared the mounting plywood, etc.
3) Arranged with a neighbor to run a long extension cord from their house.
Kept the sump pump and a work light running.
- Mike O.
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