Meter to Breaker Panel Distance

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Old 11-05-07, 10:12 AM
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Meter to Breaker Panel Distance

Is there some code requirement for the maximum allowable distance from the meter to the breaker panel? I'm tentatively laying out the electric for our new house and would prefer the panel not be on an outside wall.
 
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Old 11-05-07, 10:37 AM
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There is no explicit limit on the distance between the panel and the meter, as long as the conductors are _outside_ of the structure.

However there is a requirement for a disconnect in the conductors 'nearest the point of entry', which is variously interpreted by different jurisdictions. Some provide a length limit on the conductors prior to the disconnect; others require that the main disconnect be right on the opposite side of the wall from the meter.

Remember that your service entrance conductors are not protected by a fuse. They are intended to 'burn clear' in the event of a short circuit. You really don't want this happening inside your house, say if someone drives a screw in the wrong place.

You have several options.

1) You could install a 'meter/main', where your main breaker is in the same box as the meter. Essentially your 'main' panel is outside with the meter, but it only has a single switch for the entire house. The conductors going from this 'meter/main' to the panel inside your house are _feeders_, not service entrance conductors. They are protected by the breaker at the meter, and have no limits on their length inside the house. What you would treat as your main panel would in fact be a sub-panel, and wired as such.

2) You could arrange for the service conductors to be _legally_ outside of your house, even if the main panel is not located on the outside wall. One technique is to run the service entrance conductors in conduit encased in a minimum of 2" of concrete. There are other methods for putting conductors on the 'outside', eg burial at a sufficient depth, or running the conductors on an outside wall, and having your main panel on an outside wall, just not next to the meter.

Good luck!

-Jon
 
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Old 11-05-07, 10:48 AM
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Thanks. Sounds like a meter/main is the way to go. Not planning to DIY this work (though where my house will be built it would be legal). Just want to appear semi-knowledgeable when talking with the electrician.
 
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Old 11-05-07, 05:17 PM
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Routing of your feeders is a pretty basic concept that your electrician will take care of.
Another advantage of the meter main is that you could easily set it up with an interlock kit and circuit breaker for the connection of a portable generator for those times that the utility or mother nature let you down.
Easton, MA?
 
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Old 11-06-07, 10:21 AM
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No. Easton, Maryland. And thanks for the input. I do intend to have a backup generator.
 
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Old 11-06-07, 11:49 AM
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If you put an outside disconnect you could put it anywhere you want.
 
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