Replace panel

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Old 02-16-11, 07:32 AM
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Replace panel

I have a Zinsco 100 amp panel and a Square D lug panel for the AC, water heater etc. The Zinsco has a burned buss bar and need's to go.

I do not want to spend a ton of money on this and am thinking of replacing both panels with a GE/Square D 100 amp panel. Or if possible without replacing feed wires a 125 amp panel.

The meter can I have is in an awkward spot and will support up to a 150 amp meter, anything more than that would require extensive work to relocate it.

My question would be our current 100 amp service seems to suit our needs. Am I missing something on upgrading to a larger service, some non apparent benefit?

Hiring an electrician is not an option! JIm
 
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Old 02-16-11, 08:58 AM
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Are these panels sub panels, and/or is one of these in question a main panel?
 
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Old 02-16-11, 11:20 AM
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The Zinsco is a main panel, the Square D is a sub panel.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 11:33 AM
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If you are not having trouble with overload circuit and don't plan to add any power hogs then you should be fine. You will have to have the power company pull the meter before you do the work.

Get every thing ready before you call them. I would also suggest renting a generator. So if you have to you can spend more time on the job then a day or if you have trouble getting the Poco back to re install the meter. In fact I would probably call the Poco for re-installation of the meter as soon as I got the new panel hooked to the mains. You can always work on the branch circuits after the meter is reinstalled.

Please follow all local codes for permits and inspections. Some AHJs may not allow home owners to do this work.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrbus View Post
My question would be our current 100 amp service seems to suit our needs. Am I missing something on upgrading to a larger service, some non apparent benefit?
No there's no reason to upgrade if you don't need the extra power. You're probably better off in terms of the permit just doing a straight panel replacement rather than a full service change. If you did the whole service, generally everything (conduits, wires, meter can, grounding) needs to be replaced.

Hiring an electrician is not an option!
You'll have to make sure a homeowner can do this type of work in your area. Some places it's legal, some it's not. You will need to have the power company come do a disconnect, and coordinate with them the reconnect procedure. Some power companies will do a temp reconnect but some will not reconnect until you have the approval sticker from the inspector. So you'll need to get the timing down to make sure you can get reconnected in one day unless you don't mind being without power overnight or into the next day.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 11:56 AM
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You would find that a 125 amp panel would be more than a 200 amp one, as few people stock them...they are used primarily for apartments. A 100 amp in fine as long as you don't have electric heat and you can supply all of your currrent circuits with one. GE makes a 20 circuit and even a 32 circuit as well...however the 20 circuit is more common and much cheaper. We stock the 32 circuit one for cheapo commercial lighting panels but they are available. Electric stove would not hurt you, provided you don't have a ton of other electric appliances. If in doubt you could list them here as well as lights, outets, a/c units, hot water tank, etc. and one of these folks could tell you if you are close to exceeding a 100 amp service. My son has an electric stove, a large central a/c, and has no issues other than spare circuits are getting low.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 05:33 PM
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I do not want to spend a ton of money on this and am thinking of replacing both panels with a GE/Square D 100 amp panel. Or if possible without replacing feed wires a 125 amp panel.
What size is the existing service entrance wiring and is it copper or aluminum? You may have to increase the wire size if you go to a 125 amp panel.
 
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Old 02-21-11, 12:00 PM
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Thanks for the replies!!

The entrance cable from the weather head to the meter and on to the panel appears to be #2 copper. The run is about 12 feet. About 10 feet from weather head to meter and no more than 2 feet from meter to panel.

Should the #2 copper wire be large enough for 125 amps??

The 125 amp panels in this area are reasonably priced (Ft Myers FL) and are carried at the big box stores.
JIm
 
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Old 02-21-11, 12:13 PM
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That's interesting on the 125 amp main breaker panels. Here we rarely see those except on smaller apartment jobs. Since we don't stock them GE charges us a premium so 200 amp panels are always cheaper...even on jobs. But where you are at there is a lot more going on. Unless your local codes have an issue 2-3 copper seu is rated for 125 amps for residential dwellings. If by some chance it is 3-3 then you have a problem (110 amps).
 
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Old 02-21-11, 12:19 PM
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I would like to add that I do not likr the GE panels. They are poorly built. I like sqd much better.
 
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