Meter base size

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Old 12-18-08, 07:32 AM
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Meter base size

Hi I am not familiar with electrical subjects but a neighbor of mine who recently had the home inspected (in preparation for putting it up for sale) the inspection report says:

"Problem(s) discovered with Branch Circuits such as Meterbase is undersized..."

What exactly does this mean? Does it mean the meter does not match the demand of the panel?

My neighbor then had an electrician looked at it and the electrician says no problem and not to worry about it.

Is there a way to tell definitively? or can the power company determine that?
 
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Old 12-18-08, 08:23 AM
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The size of the meter base would be for how much electricity it is designed to carry. This is called "amps".

Then the main electrical panel would also be designed to carry a certain amount of electricity or "amps".

These should match or the meter base should be larger (carry more amps).

So if the meter base was designed for 100 amps and the electric panel was designed for 200 amps, then the meter base would be undersized.

You can tell how many amps the main panel is by looking at the main circuit breaker. It would say 100 or 200 or whatever on the lever.

Then look for a label on the meter base. There may not be one on the outside. It may say how many amps on the meter itself. If the label is on the inside, this would probably be "sealed" by the electric company if it is a separate box from the main panel. If it is sealed and no indication on the outside of amperage, call the electric company and ask if they can come look at it.
 
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Old 12-18-08, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
"Problem(s) discovered with Branch Circuits such as Meterbase is undersized..."
"branch circuits" and "meter base" are two terms that don't really go together. I'm not sure the inspector really knew exactly what he was looking at.

My neighbor then had an electrician looked at it and the electrician says no problem and not to worry about it.
I would trust the electrician's analysis. He would know exactly what to look for.
 
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Old 12-18-08, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by MiamiCuse View Post
"Problem(s) discovered with Branch Circuits such as Meterbase is undersized..."
That's a very curious statement. Branch circuits refer to the lighting, receptacle, appliance, etc. circuits in your house. The meterbase is part of the service entry. In my opinion, there may be problems with the service entry and/or there may be problems with branch circuits, but to see them both referred to together is just odd.

Since your neighbor likely paid for the inspection, I would suggest that he go back to the inspector and request more details, specifically a list of items found that were incorrect so the electrician can assess and repair.

Also, with more information, the experts here can probably help determine if there really is an issue.
 
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Old 12-18-08, 01:21 PM
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I suspect that the "inspector" has a program on his computer that has some standard verbiage and that the inspector then adds to that for his printed report. It probably has "Problem(s) discovered with Branch Circuits such as already embedded and the inspector simply added the part about the meter base being undersized.

What this could be is that a previous homeowner installed a circuit breaker panel where there previously was a fuse box, or installed a larger CB panel for more breaker spaces. It may be non-compliant under code yet still (relatively) safe IF the connected load and demand factor is equal to or less than the actual Service (meter) rating.

The purchaser could also use this non-compliance (if it really is non-compliant) as a bargaining chip to either get a lower price or to have the proper service installed.
 
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Old 12-18-08, 02:36 PM
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Bless the electrician that didn't change out the 100 amp meter base and had to bend 4-0 in it. Makes my wrists sore thinking of it.
 
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Old 12-19-08, 12:01 AM
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Chandler, I'm guessing that "someone" just installed the breaker panel without replacing anything else, including the wiring from the meter base to the CB panel. I've seen that done at least once with the excuse being, "I didn't increase the connected load and it was fine before."
 
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