Install Main Panel Breaker

Reply

  #1  
Old 10-31-04, 11:30 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 91
Install Main Panel Breaker

Aloha,

I'm buying a townhouse and I noticed that there is no main breaker on the panel...Apparently it's locked away in a maintnenance enclosure downstairs. I'd like to put one in at the panel so that I can kill the power to my house without calling joe-maintenance-guy, and plus I don't feel I should get permission every time I want to shut down (for new installs or maintenance.)

I've done everything from switches to receptacles to fishing wire through three floors to install a new combo light/heater/exhaust in our old bathroom. But I've never installed a main panel breaker. Is this possible?

Thanks in advance...

Maitai
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 11-01-04, 06:39 AM
old_chipper
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Call your Local power service

When I purchase my home, It didn't have a main breaker, I called the local CPS they sent an inspector out. He gave me a current codes drawing. He was very helpful. I got the new panel installed and ready. They came out turn off the power and returned in about an hour to turn it back on and check my work. No charge! They did the same later when I upgraded my meter to 200amps.
 
  #3  
Old 11-01-04, 04:57 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 91
Thanks. What's CPS?
 
  #4  
Old 11-01-04, 10:08 PM
Savant
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
The issue is more likely not where your panel is, but that the main fused disconnect has to be mounted within a certain distance (usually no more than 5 feet) from where your main power lines enter the dwelling. You say the main disconnect is 'locked away', do you not own the area where the disconnect is located?

Whether or not the panel can have a 'main breaker' installed depends on the panel. Some can, but others are not designed for a main breaker. We'll need more info on your panel.

Regards,

Savant
 
  #5  
Old 11-01-04, 10:15 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 91
Savant,

Thanks, and it will take a few days until I can get close to it - haven't yet closed on the property. I will be more specific when I get the info!!

V/r

Maitai
 
  #6  
Old 11-10-04, 01:36 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 91
The panel is a Westinghouse L20 3040 CT. Is it possible to install a main breaker in the panel? No cutaway for a main, but I thought that if it's possible I could just change the cover with a cutaway predone.

Thanks...
 
  #7  
Old 11-10-04, 08:21 AM
Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
A far more important concern is acess to the Main-Breaker should the breaker "trip", and automatically dis-connect the power-flow. I well understand your reluctance to install an additional C-B in a "live" panel, but that's a far simplier chore than trying to tranfer the existing Feeder conductors from the existing "Main-lugs" to new 2-pole C-B which the panel may not accomodate. This presumes the rating of the Feeder is 100 amps. Connecting a 150/200 amp C-B in this situation woukd be extremly difficult.

I suggest that you determine the location of the meter and the Service Dis-Connect; you'r plan seems to be predicated on the presumption that this equiptment is under "lock & key." If this is the arrangement, then the NEC requires that the building management can provide you with immediate acess to the Service Dis-connect.
 
  #8  
Old 11-11-04, 07:37 AM
Savant
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Depending on how old that panel is, this could get tricky. Westinghouse (the electrical distribution division) was bought out by Eaton Electrical, who then merged with Cutler/Hammer. While some Westinghouse products are still made and replacement breakers available, there was some 'realignment' done to the product lines, so I really have no idea if you can get replacement parts for that panel. You could probably get simple branch breakers, but parts to convert the panel to accept a main breaker may likely be out of the question.

In other words, you'd be better off to replace the entire panel with a combo main breaker/distribiution panel, which would take care of your main breaker issues. Of course this is something that would be best done by someone experienced, since there may be code issues you are not aware of. Perhaps find out what the deal is with access to your main breaker first, and then see if this will really be an issue for you.

In most cases you shouldn't really need to kill power to the whole house unless installing new circuits, in which case you could do all your wiring except at the panel, leaving that for last. Once all your work is done, arrange to kill power and install the new circuit breakers and finish up. When you consider how many open slots are in your panel, how many times do you think you would need to kill power? So long as you do indeed have access to your main breaker (even if it's not at the panel) it's not that big a deal to head out and shut it off, then go back and turn it on when you're done.

If you do go this route, and opt to shut off power at the remote location, it would be advised to buy a padlock and bring it with you. Almost all disconnect switches made will include a spot where you can put your padlock on, which will prevent someone from turning on/off your panel. If you do put a lock on it, you need to put a tag with the lock to say who you are and why you locked it, in case anyone has to access it and wonders why it is locked. (don't leave a lock on it otherwise - only lock it off for safety when you are working on your panel)

Anyway, consider if it is really worth the trouble. Once you get more info on where your main disconnect is, then perhaps you'll be better able to make a decision.

Regards,

Savant
 
  #9  
Old 11-17-04, 11:47 PM
SkyKing
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Actually Pat, in multidwelling residences as long as there is active, on site maintainance staff, the NEC allows an acception to that rule. If you want, I can get you a specific reference. It's somewhere in the 200's (210, 230, or 240...not sure which).
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'