Main conductor rated for <<150A, but breaker for 150A?

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  #1  
Old 09-25-05, 03:40 PM
GhostD
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Main conductor rated for <<150A, but breaker for 150A?

The main conductor from the main breaker outside my home to the main panel in my basement is AL, or Aluminum. The guage of the wire is '1' according to the PVC jacket on the cable. I was told this is rated for about ~110 Amps, but the main breaker is for 150-Amps. Is this a problem? I have no less than four 40-Amp circuits in my home and there are occasions that all four are in use (two AC units, and over, clothes dryer, etc.).
 
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  #2  
Old 09-25-05, 05:22 PM
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Are you sure it is a "1" and not a "1/0"?
 
  #3  
Old 09-25-05, 08:47 PM
GhostD
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I can take a picture and post it if you would like. I didn't see a '0' anywhere near the '1'.
 
  #4  
Old 09-26-05, 06:27 AM
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If this wiring is aluminum, it does not matter if it is #1 AWG, or 1/0 AWG. Both are not protected by a 150 Amp circuit breaker. Given the information, you have a hazard which needs to be corrected. You would have to replace the 150 Amp breaker with a 125 Amp maximum breaker if you have 1/0 AL, or 110 Amp maximum (more likely 100 Amp) breaker if #1 AL. Your other option (more expensive) is to have your service entrance conductors replaced.
 
  #5  
Old 09-26-05, 07:05 AM
GhostD
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Dave, thanks for the reply, and I agree. There is no way I could live with myself by down-sizing the service. I would only considering the option that you have described as being 'more expensive'.

What I would like to do, though, is hold those responsible (county and subcontractor) for this problem. But, I already have learned from last year's fiasco that the county's chief building inspector never owns up to mistakes their department should have caught.

But now I have to wonder how many initial homes were built in the same mistake-manner as mine. I am in one of the first half-dozen homes in this subdivision. I think I'll hire an electrician to formally state, in writing, that there is a problem (or not, which would be great!), determine the extent of the problem (does the mistake carry over to other early-construction homes in my development), and then proceed from there.

I took some pictures this morning, resized them and the 3-4 images are about 125-150KB in size total if anyone wants them emailed. I also posted them on the Fine Homebuilding's Breaktime forum (along with my whiskey-induced emotional and embarrassing mid-thread remarks ).
 
  #6  
Old 09-26-05, 07:42 AM
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Sounds like you are in a new home. How old is the home? Is it still under warranty? It is a good idea to bring in an electrician to get a professional opinion to take into battle. You may not be able to hold the inspector liable for missing this obvious violation, but if the home is still under warranty, you would have a good claim against the contractor. Good luck.
 
  #7  
Old 09-26-05, 07:47 AM
GhostD
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Dave, this December 12th will make five years that I've been in this home. From what the builder's agent told me it sat for almost a year before we bought it (first owners). I did some Google research and found a couple of interesting links based on what was on the PVC jacket:

Spec on the individual conductor. See page #2

Spec on the wrapped service-entrance package. See page #1

Doesn't appear to make a distinction between one conductor and another (e.g. hot, neitral, ground).

Any endeavor I make would simply be to get the county to back me up in making the original subcontractor come in or pay for the correction. I most certainly will be hiring a licensed electrician to have them state in writing the problem.
 
  #8  
Old 09-26-05, 10:12 AM
GhostD
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I found it. I had to go about a dozen joist cavities away before I found a section of the wire's jacket that revealed the 2/0. My joists are 24" OC, and I guess this portion of the printed information also repeats itself every two or so feet.

Now I have a lot of insulation to put back into place.
 
  #9  
Old 09-26-05, 12:00 PM
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So was this all a wild goose chase? Everything's okay? What was that "1" number you cited in the first post?
 
  #10  
Old 09-27-05, 05:36 AM
GhostD
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Yeah, it was a wild goose chase. I actually went to work to 'relax'.

I have to wonder why the 2/0 was so not obvious on the PVC jacket compared to everything else. You would think that it would be as-well printed and as-often repeated as the other information, but some silly wire-product monkey obviously thought they could be silly.

Now I can get back to planning the subpanel circuits, feeder (100A?), etc.
 
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