Service Entrance

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Old 01-08-07, 06:21 AM
J
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Service Entrance

I am trying to upgrade the electrical system a bit in the 80 year old house I bought, and am unsure about something. Currently the distribution panel has a 60 amp main circuit breaker, though the box can accomodate up to 125 A. I would like to increase the system to the full 125 A the box can handle, but I am unsure if the service entrance can handle it. Three service wires come into the house, and after measuing the two hot wires they appear to be both 6 gauge, both with a 60 A capacity. Is that additive, meaning the main breaker can be 120 A, or is it not addative with a 60 A max?
 
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Old 01-08-07, 06:31 AM
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Current for 240 volts does not work in the manner you are thinking. When you talk about 125 amps at 240 volts, each cable must be capable of handling 125 amps.

However, the service entrance wires are not governed by the NEC. The wires from the pole are the responsibility of the power company. Further, the meter is their responsibility. Contact them to see what the service entrance and the meter can handle.
 
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Old 01-08-07, 07:33 AM
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"Three service wires come into the house, and after measuing the two hot wires they appear to be both 6 gauge, both with a 60 A capacity. "

If these conductors are the utility service conductors, they have an ampacity
much higher than 60 amps. The ampacity is not the same as listed in the NEC.
If you are concerned with the conductors on the side of you house going to
the meter, then these may have only a 60 amp ampacity. As racraft said
each conductor is rated at 60 amps and the total is not additive. The max
load is 60 amps connected across the two conductors.
 
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Old 01-08-07, 11:34 AM
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Thanks for your help, I have a better understanding of what I am looking at now. I just had an electrician come by for an estimate, and after looking at it he said he would have to run the service in conduit/pipe along the side of my house, through the basement wall, and over a few feet to the distribution panel. Currently the service wires run inside the house from the weather head down to the basement, but I gather that is now against the rules and it needs to go outside. His work would allow me to upgrade to a 100 A box, which he said is plenty for our house. It had been suggested to me (by a friend) if we were getting the upgrade done we should make sure we can go to 150 A for when we sell the house at a later date.

His estimate was $1,000 to run 100 A service to the box, $1200 would include a hooked-up 100 A box, and $1500-1600 if I wanted to go for the whole thing with 150 A service. His suggestion is 100 A, and if I didn't want him to put in the box he would leave me enough extra wire that I could put a new box in later. Does the estimate and advice sound reasonable?
 
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Old 01-08-07, 12:54 PM
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> I gather that is now against the rules and it needs to go outside.

Correct.

> 100 A box...make sure we can go to 150 A

A 100A service is plenty for a small house with all gas appliances. If you plan on major electrical upgrades like a spa, instant water heater, woodworking shop or house addition then the 150A may be worth it. If you don't plan on doing any of those things, then don't worry about it. Unless it is in dire need of repair, the electrical service rarely has any effect on the sale price of a home.

> Does the estimate and advice sound reasonable?

Yes, those prices are very reasonable for the work quoted.
 
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Old 01-08-07, 01:44 PM
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Thanks for the reply. He was a really nice guy who offered me some suggestions on another electrical project I am about to undertake, so I really hoped his offer was fair. This will be the first electrician/plumber/contractor I've ever hired, so I am crossing my fingers that it will go off without a hitch.
 
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