Oversized main breaker???

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  #1  
Old 08-07-05, 01:24 PM
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Oversized main breaker???

I have recently purchased a home which has a 100 amp main breaker in the panel. When I look at the service cable, it says "Capwire Alum 2/2 - 4/1 Type SE cable Style U Type RHW CDRS 300 v. to ground". Is the main breaker sized correctly, or should it actually be a 60 amp breaker?

I am asking because my neighbor has the same SE cable coming into his box, but his main is a 60 amp breaker. When I was showing him how to change a bad breaker, I noticed the difference between his panel and mine. Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-07-05, 01:45 PM
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#2 al is typical for a 100 amp residential service.
 
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Old 08-07-05, 01:49 PM
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to speedy petey

Thanks for the quick reply, but I am not sure I understand the answer. Is this wire that I have #2 or #4? The "Alum 2/2 - 4/1 is what is confusing me. Thanks.
 
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Old 08-07-05, 02:29 PM
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Sorry. Yes, what you have is #2al service entrance cable. Two #2 conductros and one #4.
The #4 is the undersized neutral and is also typical.
 
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Old 08-08-05, 05:23 AM
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Thanks. Now, I have one more question... To change this breaker (main), do I have to pull the meter? I have changed out a panel before, but that time I pulled the meter, to be safe. I think I should pull the meter, but wanted verification. Thanks.
 
  #6  
Old 08-08-05, 06:15 AM
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Changing out the main breaker without somehow disconnecting power upstream of the main panel, such as the meter will be dangerous, so I would suggest pulling the meter. Get in touch with your utility for this.
 
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Old 08-08-05, 06:24 AM
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The last time, I simply pulled it myself. If I call the utility, will they come and pull and re-install it for me? Do you know if there is usually a cost for this? Thanks.
 
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Old 08-08-05, 10:18 AM
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Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe pulling the meter on your own is illegal for reasons of people messing with the meter and trying to get cheaper or free power. On my meter, there is a little plastic tag, and if that is broken, the meter reader knows something might be up. There will probably be some kind of charge to have someone from the utility come out. Best thing to do is tell them what you want to do and ask what you are asking here.
 
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Old 08-10-05, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dzdave00
Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I believe pulling the meter on your own is illegal for reasons of people messing with the meter and trying to get cheaper or free power. On my meter, there is a little plastic tag, and if that is broken, the meter reader knows something might be up. There will probably be some kind of charge to have someone from the utility come out. Best thing to do is tell them what you want to do and ask what you are asking here.
while this might be the right thing to do, it's not necessarily the best or most efficient. if you want to make a mountain out of a tiny little molehill, get the utility company involved, and they may also invite your local inspector. enjoy the ride.
john
 
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Old 08-10-05, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by solipsist9
while this might be the right thing to do, it's not necessarily the best or most efficient. if you want to make a mountain out of a tiny little molehill, get the utility company involved, and they may also invite your local inspector. enjoy the ride.
john
You HAVE to be kidding me!!!!!
Mole hill???

YES, in most areas this IS illegal, unless the utility is contacted first. In many areas it is illegal period.

Pulling a meter is no place the inexperienced should be going. DO NOT make light of it. There is an important safety procedure to perform this (in your eyes) small task.

Have you seen the after effects of an arc flash from a meter being installed wrong or shorting out??? I guess not since you give such callous advice.
 
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Old 08-11-05, 06:27 AM
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Any particular reason you want to change the main breaker? Read your panel specs. it will say what the panel is rated for, dont change it based on the breaker in another persons panel.

What Utility serves your home?

Many times if you visit their website they give specific instructions on the procedure to follow for disconnecting power to your home.

POCO's vary from region to region. There are some cooperatives where you pay a membership fee and become a part owner of the utility. Many of these for instance in Oklahoma, you are pretty much on your own. Most however dont want you fooling with the meter.

If you really want a mountain out of a mole hill, pull the meter without the utilities knowledge.

There is no good reason to not involve the utility, all these rumors of how terrible it is to get them involved is just that...rumors. You will find them very helpful and they will keep you safe. They will make sure you know... what you dont know.
 
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Old 08-11-05, 10:11 AM
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Thanks speedy, I forgot to mention how dangerous it is for someone inexperienced to open up the meter without letting the utility know. And the arc flash that he was referring to is pretty serious stuff and a very real danger. Imagine a ball of flame nailing you square in the face that is 35,000 degrees F, which is roughly 4 times hotter than the surface of the sun. Still want to pull that meter?
 
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Old 08-11-05, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JMattero
Thanks. Now, I have one more question... To change this breaker (main), do I have to pull the meter? I have changed out a panel before, but that time I pulled the meter, to be safe. I think I should pull the meter, but wanted verification. Thanks.
If the breaker is correctly sized for the incoming wires, why do you need to change the main breaker?!?
 
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Old 08-11-05, 04:30 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies.

The only reason I would want to change the main breaker is if the 100 amp breaker in my panel is not safe. In other words, I don't know if the old owner had a 60 amp main, which he simply changed out to a 100 amp breaker. If he did, and the wire I described is not meant to carry 100 amps, I would want to change the main breaker back to a 60 amp. If 100 amp main is correct, I will leave it alone.

My utility company is PECO Electric (formerly Philadelphia Electric). I have never called them, but will take the advice given if I decide to change the breaker.

I just need to know, am I safe AS-IS, or should I call PECO to pull the meter, and then change the main to a 60 amp breaker, and then let PECO re-install the meter?
 
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Old 08-11-05, 05:19 PM
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I thought I was pretty clear in my above posts when I stated that #2al SEU is typical 100 amp service entrance cable.

What is the concern????



Originally Posted by JMattero
I just need to know, am I safe AS-IS,
Yes. You should be.


Originally Posted by JMattero
or should I call PECO to pull the meter, and then change the main to a 60 amp breaker, and then let PECO re-install the meter?
If the breaker is bad, replace it with another 100.
 
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