replacing electrical panel

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Old 04-27-10, 11:16 AM
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replacing electrical panel

I currently have a 200 amp Federal Pacific brand panel with old style circuit breakers. I don't know what that means..that is just what my home inspection says. That they are old and unreliable.

So my bro is going to replace the electrical panel for me. He lives out of state and hasn't seen what I have so I want to do some research before he gets here.

Namely, do I have to order the replacement panel online or can I just buy it at home depot or some other store? I saw this panel at home depot GE 200 Amp 32 Circuit Main Brkr Load Ctr Contractor Kit with AFCIs - TM3220RCUAF1K at The Home Depot but I don't know if that is any good.

So what is the best 200ish amp panel I can buy?

I also wanted to add a transfer panel to connect a backup generator when needed. Is that a consideration for which Panel I buy.
 
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Old 04-27-10, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by sddiy View Post
So my bro is going to replace the electrical panel for me. He lives out of state and hasn't seen what I have so I want to do some research before he gets here.
Is he licensed? Does he have a lot of experience with this type of job? A service change is generally not a do-it-yourself job.

can I just buy it at home depot or some other store?
You can buy it at any electrical supply store. You will have a much better selection and completeness of parts if you go to a local electrical supply house.

GE 200 Amp 32 Circuit Main Brkr...So what is the best 200ish amp panel I can buy?
I do not prefer the GE brand of panels, but they are safe and reliable in terms of industry standards. I usually use Siemens panels, but Square D and Cutler Hammer (CH) are both top quality brands. Homeline, BR and Murray are all a bit lower quality, but just fine for typical residential use.

I also wanted to add a transfer panel to connect a backup generator when needed. Is that a consideration for which Panel I buy.
Now is the time to do it. Do you want to power the entire panel from the generator or only specific loads?

When you do the service change you'll also need to upgrade the grounding, perhaps replace the meter socket, conduit and conductors too depending on their size and condition. You can get more info from the power company and local inspector about their service change policy when you call for the shutoff request and permit.
 
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Old 04-27-10, 01:15 PM
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In addition to what Ben already said, most areas this would require a permit and an inspection before the power company will resupply power. Certain areas only licensed contractors can legally pull permits. Others might allow a homeowner to pull a permit after taking a test.

Some brands of panels are already setup for generator operations without an additional transfer panel. The interlock is designed into the panel.
 
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Old 04-27-10, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by sddiy View Post
I currently have a 200 amp Federal Pacific brand panel with old style circuit breakers. I don't know what that means..that is just what my home inspection says. That they are old and unreliable.

So my bro is going to replace the electrical panel for me. He lives out of state and hasn't seen what I have so I want to do some research before he gets here.

Namely, do I have to order the replacement panel online or can I just buy it at home depot or some other store? I saw this panel at home depot GE 200 Amp 32 Circuit Main Brkr Load Ctr Contractor Kit with AFCIs - TM3220RCUAF1K at The Home Depot but I don't know if that is any good.

So what is the best 200ish amp panel I can buy?

I also wanted to add a transfer panel to connect a backup generator when needed. Is that a consideration for which Panel I buy.
First thing is make sure your brother is qualified to do the work. You will need to pull a permit with the city. You will also need to get with the electric company in your area so they can pull the meter and if your brother is qualified to do the work he should know all about this. As for a panel I only use Square D QO series. A 200 amp with 40 spaces should do you OK. Good luck and be safe.

Jim

 
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Old 04-28-10, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rukkus11 View Post
First thing is make sure your brother is qualified to do the work. You will need to pull a permit with the city. You will also need to get with the electric company in your area so they can pull the meter and if your brother is qualified to do the work he should know all about this. As for a panel I only use Square D QO series. A 200 amp with 40 spaces should do you OK. Good luck and be safe.

Jim

My brother was an electrician and he has done this before, but not in New York. One of the states of everything needs a permit!

I'll call the town and see if they require a licensed electrician to pull the permit. I am sure they require a licensed electrician to the the work....but how will they know about what goes on in the privacy of our basement? Of course the inspection will have to pass.

I'll need to look into what other upgrades we'll need to do to keep up to code. I'm pretty sure the meter is newer so it won't need replacing. Don't know about anything else. But I assume stuff like old wiring is grandfathered?

Oh and the transfer panel is only for the lights and a receptacle to the sump pump. Any of the panel's recommended so far have the transfer panel built in?
 
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Old 04-28-10, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by sddiy View Post
I'll call the town and see if they require a licensed electrician to pull the permit.
Most places allow a homeowner permit.

but how will they know about what goes on in the privacy of our basement?
They might require a contractor license # to get the permit.

But I assume stuff like old wiring is grandfathered?
Mostly it is, but some places will require an upgrade to AFCI breakers, maybe upgrade your smoke detectors and/or GFCI receptacles in the appropriate locations. The panel ground wiring is usually not grandfathered and must be upgraded with the panel.

Oh and the transfer panel is only for the lights and a receptacle to the sump pump. Any of the panel's recommended so far have the transfer panel built in?
A built-in transfer is probably a bit overkill for only a few circuits. A small four or six circuit prewired transfer panel kit would do the job well. Reliance is a good brand for this, so is Connecticut Electric probably a few other good ones too.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 09:20 AM
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This is what I found on the website without calling them:

City of White Plains

ELECTRICAL: A licensed Master Electrician is required for any work involving electrical wiring, fixtures and appliances (more than 50 volts). All electrical work, regardless of voltage, requires an electrical permit.
Weird because I hired a licensed electrician to add in a 30 amp circuit for dryer and he didn't tell me about needing a permit. I guess I should do more due diligence then looking for a license?

Anyhow...if it requires a master electrician's signature... it pretty much means I am out of luck having my brother do this? I guess a licensed electrician is going to charge me like 2k+ right? Can't afford that! My brother did mention something about looking at the clock outside my house to see if it could be manually shutoff...
 
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Old 04-28-10, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by sddiy View Post
Weird because I hired a licensed electrician to add in a 30 amp circuit for dryer and he didn't tell me about needing a permit. I guess I should do more due diligence then looking for a license?
The electrician usually handles the permit paperwork and deals with the inspector without the homeowner. It's built into the quoted price of the job. Small jobs like adding a circuit may not require an inspection, especially if the inspector knows the electrician who did the job.

Anyhow...if it requires a master electrician's signature... it pretty much means I am out of luck having my brother do this?
Legally, yes. The power company also may not cooperate with the shutoff and reconnect requests without a valid permit.

I guess a licensed electrician is going to charge me like 2k+ right?
Probably not if all you need is a simple panel change. I don't know the kind of labor rates in your area, but that price is closer to what a complete service replacement would be.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post

Probably not if all you need is a simple panel change. I don't know the kind of labor rates in your area, but that price is closer to what a complete service replacement would be.
What is a complete service replacement? And am I using the right wording "main electrical panel replacement"?
 
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Old 04-28-10, 10:12 AM
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A complete service would consist os everything new from the overhead attachment on down to the panel with new breakers, meter socket, service cable or mast etc.

A panel change would just be the panel and breakers.

Grounding and bonding upgrades would affect both situations.
 
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Old 04-28-10, 07:16 PM
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I can't add too much of what the others posted already. I agree with not being too fond of GE panels. Lastly, the power company may also require changing the meter socket to one with a bypass handle.
 
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