Does she need a bigger breaker box?

In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 21 Jan 2018 12:47:26 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It's a townhouse, but I didn't say it was multifamily. It's not like NYC where many brownstones were built with a servants' apartment in the ground floor (and now still have a separate apartment there, though not for servants), and some have been converted to 2 or 3 apartments above that. These are all one family, with a meter for each house

The meter is less than 10 feet from the breaker box. Of course the box is inside in the baseement, and the meter is outside in front of the first floor, but laterally there is almost no distance.

I don't remember seeing that question. It's oil heat.
This url is another one from Canada, but it claims that if the meter sits on a rectangular metal box, the service is probably 100amps. And with no box it's 60. The problem with that is that I don't remember ever seeing one that looks like the 60/no box. http://zoomjer.com/bacon/bacon-blog/do-i-have-60-amp-or-100-amp-electrical-service/
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wrote:

If it is a "straight through " meter it is 60 or less, but a 60 can also be on a box base - but usually smaller than the one shown.
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wrote:

If you share a wall, it is one building so you start counting units from the first air gap to the last. If it is 2 units sharing a wall it is a duplex covered by the 1 & 2 family rules. More than 2 "stuck together" is a multifamily dwelling ... at least in the code. If each unit has a meter and a separate drop/service lateral, the code required 100a service since Richie and Fonzy days. If this is a single service with a humongous service disconnect and separate feeders to each unit's meter, they may have hit a loophole but the service still had to be sized to the fixed in place equipment plus the general lighting load (based on square footage). The only way you should need a service upgrade is if you added more fixed in place equipment or increased the square footage.
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Why would insurance care about how much power you have available?
And once you have a mortgage you can drop the insurance :-)
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On 1/21/2018 6:14 PM, James Wilkinson Sword wrote:

If not properly wired there is a danger of fire.
If you drop the insurance, the mortgage company will get it and you'll pay for it, one way or another. They can always foreclose on you.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 21 Jan 2018 19:57:16 -0500, Ed Pawlowski

Or the mortgage company pays the fire insurance directly, after you pay the mortgage. That's how it is here. So you can't drop the insurance unless you stop paying the mortgage.
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wrote:

Not very common for the mortgage co to pay homeowners insurance in Canada - don't know about the USA - and insurance is REQUIRED by the mortgage lender. If YOU can't get insurance because of a bad roof, poor wiring, bad plumbing,etc, the mortgage company definitely won't get insurance for it either.
The mortgage co will not take the risk of loosing the value of the house due to a failure any more than the insurance co will take the risk of paying out for damage due to these known risks.
Neither one is in the "risk business"
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Nothing to do with if you have a 60 or 100 amp feed.

They've never said anything to me for no insurance.
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On 01/21/2018 05:14 PM, James Wilkinson Sword wrote:
[snip]

Maybe they assume you'll overload 60A service.

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Depends on the house, I've only seen ones you have to climb up to see in small flats where there was nowhere else to install it.

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On 01/20/2018 01:59 PM, philo wrote:
[snip]

I'd call it "current". "amperage" comes from a measurement unit, and is not really appropriate here. Some people use those words, like wattage, voltage, and poundage (but not secondage, hertzage, or faradage). I seldom hear what "voltage" really is.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 21 Jan 2018 13:04:16 -0600, Mark Lloyd

Even though we're talking about 60, 100, or 200 amps? Even though "current" works here, how can amperage also not be appropriate?

I just use t he words other people use.

A measure of the amount of volts.

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On 01/21/2018 05:04 PM, micky wrote:
[snip]

A "volt" is a unit of measurement (like an "amp" is). An amp is used to measure current. Do you know what a "volt" is used to measure?
Electromotive force.

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On 1/20/2018 2:45 PM, micky wrote:

What do you mean by "bigger box?
The main breaker will tell you how many amps you can handle. The number of slots will tell you how "big" the box is.
You can have 100A service, common about 1980, but not have enough slots to handle the individual circuits you want to have. Given the amount of electric appliances she has, it may well be 150 or 200A service.
Since she has empty slots, I'm going to assume you mean she wants to increase the amperage. Why? Does she trip the main breaker cooking in the oven with the AC on and the water heater working? If so, yes, she needs an increase. If no, never tripped it, no good reason I can think of except for that electric chair. Since most electrocutions are held at midnight, just don't use the oven or dryer during the ceremony.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sat, 20 Jan 2018 15:35:33 -0500, Ed Pawlowski

Except for that the house is generally well designed, it was silly of me to figure one could tell much from the number of slots.
I will get the mirror and climb on the dryer and see what I've got.
Oops, only 60Amps

I'll ask her why she said that. My first reaction was that someone who stood to make money tried to sell her something, or someone she knows thinks everyone has to upgrade everything told her that.
I've never tripped the main breaker, but maybe I've never had the oven, the AC, the dryer, and the WH on at the same time. I think she lives alone too, but she probably cooks more than I do.

Good point.
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On Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 3:35:37 PM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I asked that at the beginning, why the interest in the upgrade. And I agree, it doesn't sound like a panel upgrade alone is needed, because he says there are empty slots. So it's probably a service upgrade that he's talking about, unless the service is already 100A or larger and they put a 60A panel in. And if doing a service upgrade, if the service has to be upgraded then it might as well be to 200A. One thing everyone agrees on 60A service circa 1980 for a 3 floor, 3 bedroom house sure doesn't sound right, if it was permitted, done by a pro, etc. I asked if this could be a subpanel, particularly because he says the main breaker is on the side, in the middle of the panel. IDK, maybe they make main panels like that, but I never saw one.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 21 Jan 2018 06:22:32 -0800 (PST), trader_4

Sure you've seen one. It's just a panel with no vertically-oriented. double wide slot at the top. It just has two rows of horizontal slots and they used slots 5 and 6 down from the top, on the right, for the main breaker. Above that on the left and right are the 4 pairs of breakers for 220v appliances and below that are the 12 single breakers for 110 stuff.
It's one of 100 townhouses built on one piece of land over a year or two starting in 1979.
For a while, I was even in the same social organization as the son of the banker who financed the project, whose father got him a summer job working as a laborer on some of the houses. And the electrician lived in one of the houses for maybe 10 years. You could tell his house because it has real lights along the sidewalk, and it has a vent to the outside above the front sliding glass door to vent the range. Everyone else just has a range hood that merely recirculates the air. After he moved out of here, I'd see his electrical truck parked outside a "detached" house about a mile away. And the guy who did the landscaping and plowed the snow used to live here too.
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On Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 10:31:14 AM UTC-5, micky wrote:

What I said was I never saw a main panel where they used a breaker in the middle as the main breaker. You do see that for sub-panels. Main panels I've seen come with the breaker installed and I've never seen one in the middle.
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In alt.home.repair, on Sun, 21 Jan 2018 07:45:08 -0800 (PST), trader_4

Okay, I see.
If it was really named a subpanel, maybe the contractor got a bargain on subpanels and used them for main panels. I have a friend in another n'hood with a detached house who had an apartment put into her basement and they used a smoke detector that can be linked and synced with other detectors, even though she has only one of them. Probably because that's the only detector the contractor buys and he buys a case at a time.
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On Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 6:01:16 PM UTC-5, micky wrote:
BTW, in all this discussion, I haven't seen one of the very first questions answered. Why does she think she needs an upgrade to begin with? Is the main breaker tripping? For all we know she wants it because the light in the bathroom flickers.
And assuming she really does need/want one, then seems the logical thing to do is get at least one electrician in as the next step. Then you'll know what's going on.
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