Main Panel: To replace+relocate or NOT

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Old 04-28-03, 11:18 AM
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Exclamation Main Panel: To replace+relocate or NOT

Hi again,

I have been planning a new circuit for a few weeks now and learning as much as I can about the entire process. This new circuit will be 240v @ 15amp and I plan on running 3/4" EMT from the panel to the recepticle for it. While I am at this planning, I am looking at the existing main breaker panel and thinking about how bad it sucks and how much I would really like to replace it.

Basically, the existing breaker panel is "side by side" with the "meter part" of the service equipment. It is a 100AMP panel with 12 slots (I believe.) These slots appear to be the same style that the GE circuit breakers I have seen use. There isn't much room in the panel, there are a lot of wires (all running up the left hand side because there is only 1 column of slots, all oriented the same way) bunched together and it is difficult to work with. There are also a few rust spots on the bottom of the panel due to water leakage. Yeah, that's the other thing, this panel is located outdoors right next to the meter. I would really prefer to move it directly to the inside of the same wall so that it is sheltered by the house.

I think it would be nice to at least have the capability to upgrade to a 200A service some day, and that would certainly mean a beefier panel. My question is whether it is worth replacing the existing panel with a new one and at the same time relocating it inside the basement on the inside of the same wall that it is attached? I'm guessing a decent 200A panel would run close to $100, but what else would need to be done to the existing panel since it appears to be part of the entire service meter panel setup? Can I simply attach and run large gauge wire from the hots and neutral through conduit, right angel through the wall behind, and into the back of a new panel? Or would I need to get entirely new service gear? What part of the meter panel do I own? Everything but the meter unit itself? If that's the case then I guess I could replace the whole damn thing and buy to suit the particular installation. Any comments?
 
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Old 04-28-03, 12:25 PM
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It sounds like you have a lot of work to do. You will probably have to replace the "whole dam thing" if you want to upgrade to 200 amp. Your entire service is probably rated for 100 amps including your meter base, and your service entrance conductors. You would need a larger mast / weatherhead / service entrance feeders, a 200A meter base, new 200A feeders from the meter to panel and new 200A main breaker panel.

You would have to relocate all the circuits into your new panel and repair the outside wall (patching / painting) where your larger service had been located.

Are you still interested?
 
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Old 04-28-03, 04:38 PM
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Hrmm, wasn't aware of the upgrade for service wires/weatherhead... This definitely puts it on the backburner then. I'll just have to squeeze another circuit in on the existing box (there is room, just..)

Also, another question. On the back of the existing panel, is the inside wall of the basement (backer plywood behind the wood panelling.) The cables for all circuits in the house just "come out" of this hole into the back of the existing panel and are stapled to the _bottom_ of big garage-floor joists (I think they are 6x12's or something like that.) I was under the impression that code forbids this kind of attachment (on the edge of lumbar, rather than through it..) Or, is this only true for attachments on floor tops/side walls and excempt for ceilings? I guess I need an NEC...

Additionally, back to the "hole in the back of the existing panel"... There is no conduit or anything, the separate romex runs just spread out from this hole. If I were to put another circuit in (for "special" use in the basement (same room)) then wouldn't I need my conduit to connect DIRECTLY to the back of the panel with no room between the conduit and the panel itself? If so I will definitely need to punch out another hole specifically for this new circuit. Are the existing circuit cables out of code/spec?

Thanks for your time.

-mike
 
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