Service Upgrade Code Conformance


Old 11-23-05, 01:43 PM
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Service Upgrade Code Conformance

Hello All.

I am in the process of remodeling my house and intend to upgrade to a 200-amp service. I know basic electrical and do minor commercial 3 phase electrical work for my job, so I feel comfortable with power. The remodelís estimated electrical load and circuit requirement is much higher than before. We have planned a 200 amp 40-circuit panel with meter outside and a 200-amp 40-circuit sub panel inside. All of the big breakers are outside. The inside panel serves lighting and outlet requirements Ė primarily 20amp single pole GFICís, AFICís, and standard breakers. I can make a safe circuit but donít specifically know how to do it in accordance with local code or the NEC. I donít want to ask my inspector and thusly reveal my true level of experience with home electrical.

My questions: Can I use these two panels or do I have to go to a bigger service? Can I use duplex (twin) breakers? At what size wire do I need to run conduit? Is there any on-line reference that can help me complete this project in accordance with local code and the NEC?

I truly appreciate any input.


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Old 11-23-05, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,219
This is _not_ a situation where you want to try to hide your ignorance. Unless, of course, you want to spend thousands of dollars installing something that won't pass inspection, and then pay an electrician much more that that to rip it out and do a proper install.

What you _must_ do is buy or borrow and then read _several_ books: Wiring Simplified (green book at home centers), Wiring A House (by Rex Caufield) and an actual copy of the National Electrical Code. You don't need to read the entire code; instead the sections on general wiring, conductor sizing, and the particular sorts of conductors you will be using.

There are _many_, _many_ details to properly planning an entire service. You need to select properly sized conductors. You need to do a load calculation. You need to select components. You need to figure out grounding and bonding. Etc. Etc.

There is no way that the answers to your questions will be complete enough, and your current state of knowledge is such that you probably don't even know what to ask.

_After_ you have done the reading, then write out a complete plan. Go over this plan with the inspector, and then get a thorough inspection before any walls go up.

Don't try to do this half way. Either educate yourself as to the proper way to do this installation (and no, an online forum is _not_ sufficient), or pay a professional to do the job.

Once you start your reading, you will have loads of questions. Ask them here; we will be happy to help.

Old 11-23-05, 06:06 PM
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The first thing you should do is find out what code is being used in your area. Not all places are using the NEC 2005 code. Also many jurisdictions have changes or additions to the code. Try to get a copy of these changes.
One book I can recommend is "Electric Wiring Residential" 15th Edition (2005 Code) by Roy C. Mullin. It's a bit costly but he gives the NEC Article when describing a wiring process. I found that by refering the the code articles that he stated I was able to become familiar with how the code was laid out and the reason behind them. Just reading the NEC will give you little or no information on "how" to wire a house.

Good luck
Old 11-23-05, 07:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 176

Also check--some jurisdictions will limit the inspectable work that a homeowner can perform--beyond which they require a licensed electrician.

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