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.
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?"
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
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.
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)
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.
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.
"This alternating current stuff is just a fad. It is much too dangerous
for general use." Thomas Alva Edison
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
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
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!
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.
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
would this pass a inspection?
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 ...
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
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.
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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