Circuit Breaker Box Help

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  #1  
Old 08-19-04, 07:20 AM
bklynjames
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Circuit Breaker Box Help

I have a question, or help. I have just purchased a 50 yr old ranch. The circuit breaker box is 120 amps and has 10 circuit breakers in it. The box has a mixture of bromex and bx lines in it, and there are more than ten of them. I would like to replace the box because im converting a storage room into an office that is going to have about 8 computers and accessories in it. I would like to know if it would be difficult to change the box, and what size box I would need. I would like to have about 6 new circuits for the new office to supply all the computers. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I am of moderate electrical skill. Thankx.
 
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Old 08-19-04, 07:27 AM
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120 amps is a strange size for a circuit breaker box. usually they are 100, 150 or 200 amps.

Start by continuing your analysis. 10 circuits is not much. There may be other rewiring you want to do now or in the future. What large loads do you have? Central A/C? Electric water heater? Electric range?

You probably want to go up to 150 or 200 amps, depending on the other loads you have.

The cost will depend on many factors, including the wire size that is in place now. If it has to be replaced the cost will be higher.

This is not something you will do yourself. Seek the advice of several electricians. Get several quotes so you have something to go on. Make sure that a permit is obtained and that the work is inspected upon completion.
 
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Old 08-19-04, 09:08 AM
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Start by figuring out how many amps you have now. It's not 120, but probably 60 or 100. If you go to the trouble and expense of upgrading, you might as well go all the way to 200. You don't want to have to do this twice. Consider 150 only if all your major appliances (heat, water, cooking, drying) are gas, and you have no need, and never will, for air conditioning.

At some point, you may also want to replace all the existing wiring with modern stuff. But for now, you can start with upgrading your service, getting a 40-space box, and running new grounded circuits for your computers.
 
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Old 08-20-04, 11:46 AM
bklynjames
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Followup study

Ok, its 100 amps w/ 12 circuits. I also have gas a/c, water heater, and stove. The box has 2 - 20 amp circuit breakers and the rest are 15 amp. I also noticed 1 20 apm circuit supplies 3 bedrooms, a hallway and a bathroom(Can this be good?!?). So I think rewiring the house would be a smart idea. Should I goto 150 or 200 amp service..??? I did some research on circuit breaker boards and came up with, what I think might be feasable, Square d, Homeline load center. 70 to 225 amp, 2 to 42 circuits and a whole bunch of other goodies. URL is http://www.squared.com/us/products/load_centers.nsf/unid/FA4F8CCF49CAA87B85256AF5005C4262/$file/homelineloadcentersFrameset.htm

What do you think...?? Thankx for the help
 
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Old 08-20-04, 01:47 PM
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I also noticed 1 20 apm circuit supplies 3 bedrooms, a hallway and a bathroom(Can this be good?!?)
If you haven't been tripping this breaker, then it's okay. Depends on your lifestyle and possessions.

Whether you should go to 150 or 200 depends on more factors than we've discussed so far, such as the size of your house, the type of dryer, tons of A/C if any, pool, jacuzzi, special equipment, and future plans. Maybe you don't need either. Most people would say that if you're moving up from 100, you might as well move to 200. The cost difference between 150 and 200 is small compared to the total cost.

Changing the main panel is best left to a pro or a very experienced DIYer. One main issue is how long your house will be without power. If a pro does it, probably one day. If you do it, almost certainly more.
 
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