Changing Service Panel

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  #1  
Old 02-24-11, 06:27 AM
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Changing Service Panel

Hi everyone. I'm new to these forums.

I bought an old 1 bedroom 960 sq ft house I'm remodeling including the electrical. It has a 100 amp panel and I think I need to upgrade to a bigger panel. My plans include 20 slots which it has but I'm concerned that my circuits might exceeed that.

I talked with the electrical company and he said he'd work with me. I just can't change the meter base and I won't have to go through the inspection process. I'm pretty sure the meter base is 200A. It has a CL200 meter on it.

I'm trying to get out cheap as possible, but still stay safe. I live by myself. I found a 125A 24 slot panel at Lowes but it only has a main lug instead of a main breaker. Would I need a disconnect in between it and the meter base?

Also I discussed with the electric company about stepping up to a 200A panel. The rigid conduit off the meter base is bent bad above the roof line where someone hit the wires before with a truck or something. I plan on replacing it. The man said he would allow me to use 2" conduit. Is this safe with 200A or should I use 2 1/2". The cost is almost double. The run to the pole is about 60'.

The panel is right behind the meter inside the house so it will be an easy change out.
Just tell me what you would do to get out as cheap as possible.

240V Circuits

Stove 50A
Dryer 40A
Well 30A
Water Heater 30A
PTAT AC/Heat 30A
1700 Watt Baseboard Heat 15A
1500 Watt Baseboard Heat 15A

110V circuits

Kitchen 20A
Dishwasher 20A
Washer 20A
Bedroom 15A
Livingroom 15A
Bath 15A

Right now the 110V circuits are simple. I might need one more circuit depending on what fixtures I decide on. The baseboard heat is supplements to the PTAT heat. There is one 6' baseboard in the bdrm on one circuit. The other circuit would be a 2' in the laundry, 3' in the bath and a 3' in the kitchen which are all connecting rooms. I seperated the circuits because I can run 14/2 since both are around 240V/12 amps.

Okay, i think I said it all

Panel size?
Rigid conduit/weather head size?
Anything else you can add?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 02-24-11, 06:57 AM
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2" galvanized pipe is approved here for 100 or 200 amp residential service so i don't see a problem there. A disconnect would cost you as much s the correct panel, so scrap that idea. 20 spaces is about as big as you can get with a 100 amp panel, although GE does offer a 32 circuit. If you are going to replace the pipe anyway as well as the panel I would get a 32 or 40 space 200 amp panel for future needs, if needed, replace the wire to the base as the pipe (mast). Replace the flashing while you are at it. The guys here can fill you in more, my knowledge is more product than codes etc. I would suggest HIGHLY that you also buy your stuff from an Independant Electrical Supplier, rathe than a big box store. In these sutuatuions a local distributor can answer your questions, be knowledgeable about local codes, and know their products....You won't get that at the box stores......
 
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Old 02-24-11, 09:06 AM
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Thanks Jim, I'll go that route. I did't want to spend the extra money. But what's a couple hundred for peace of mind.
I just put a new metal roof on. I like one panel where the mast is at. I'm going to buy the electrical stuff now and probably Monday I'll have the electric company come out and pull the meter and cut the wires. Then I'll finish the roof and install the electric. It'll be new from the top down except for the meter base. I'm going to buy a rubber boot for the conduit and transfer the rubber part over to the roof. That'll look good.

Linesider, you absolutely have to pull the meter. How you do it? You might talk with a service guy at the electric company and feel out how they require to handle the situation. Like with me, he said he would waive the inspection as long as I didn't change the meter base out. You never know until you ask.

You can pull a permit yourself and pretend to do the work yourself as a homeowner. Then let the other guy do the work. That's one way around your situation. Buy make sure everything is up to code. 200 amp requires 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum. If you upgrading from 100 amp you need to make sure the mast wire is the right size. The same way to the pole. If they are not right now, then you have no choice but to get the electric company involved.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by JimElectric View Post
Honestly....the fellow doing the work should be capable of doing this.If not I would be concerned.... And I can't guarantee what your power company will say. But here I recently had to change out my son's main breaker...so I had to do exactly that. I removed the seal, removed the front shield and pulled the meter out. The meter has four contacts that slide into four slots, two hot, two not. It bridges the power and lets it through to the panel. Takes a little effort to remove. After the work is done you plug the meter in and replace the cover, then what's left of the seal. Usually the local power guy will replace the seal, but may ask why it was removed. But not sure how every company reacts to this. Some parts of the country I am sure are much more strict on this sort of thing......
Yeah, it's been 15 years ago or so. I changed a man's panel out. I just cut the tag on the back side and hung it back up when I was done. Then play dumb, lol. Fifteen years later, nobody got in trouble. Most meters are read remotely now. If someone did see the cut tag, most likely they would just replace it. After checking your bill history and it looks good, they wouldn't investigate further. I live in the country. Populated areas might be more strict.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchell1204 View Post
I think I need to upgrade to a bigger panel.
If the old panel is in good condition, it would be much simpler for you to install a 100A 20 space subpanel adjacent to the existing main panel to get plenty of space for new circuits. A 960 sq. ft. house should be okay with a 100A service, even with all-electric appliances. If you planned to add a spa or big workshop or something like that then 200A upgrade would make sense, but for normal use no need for more than 100A.

Mount the new panel a few inches to the side of the old one and join them with a short rigid conduit nipple through the side knock outs. Feed the main lugs of the new panel using #3 THHN copper wire from a 100A breaker in the main panel. You may need to move two circuits to the sub to free up space for the 100A subpanel feeder breaker. Use #3 copper marked white for the neutral and #8 green/bare copper for the ground. Add a ground bar kit to the sub and isolate the neutral bus per panel instructions.

Dryer 40A
Wrong size breaker here, should be 30A.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 04:27 PM
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What brand 100 amp panel do you have now, how old is it and what is the condition? I like ibpooks suggestion, but if there are problems with the old panel or if it is a Zinsco or FPE, I'd replace it with a 30 or 32 circuit 100 amp main breaker panel. JimElectric mentioned GE has a 32 circuit 100 amp panel and I know Cutler-Hammer and possibly Siemens has them too, but you won't find them at the big box. Replace the 2" galvanized heavywall mast and wire too.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchell1204 View Post
Most meters are read remotely now. If someone did see the cut tag, most likely they would just replace it. After checking your bill history and it looks good, they wouldn't investigate further. I live in the country. Populated areas might be more strict.
Not to get off topic, but I'd add:
Here in Iowa (and probably most places) there are provisions for a "meter tamper rate". Basically after they find you've been "tampering" they can charge you for the full throughput of your pipe. Which ummm would be buku expensive.

However, (and this is the real reason for my reply), right in the Iowa code it states flat-out that a cut security tag shall _not_ be used as the sole evidence of tampering.

Nice of them to include that, eh? So snip away if you live by the corn.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
What brand 100 amp panel do you have now, how old is it and what is the condition? I like ibpooks suggestion, but if there are problems with the old panel or if it is a Zinsco or FPE, I'd replace it with a 30 or 32 circuit 100 amp main breaker panel. JimElectric mentioned GE has a 32 circuit 100 amp panel and I know Cutler-Hammer and possibly Siemens has them too, but you won't find them at the big box. Replace the 2" galvanized heavywall mast and wire too.
Sqd makes one in the QO series, idk about homeline.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by core View Post
Not to get off topic, but I'd add:
Here in Iowa (and probably most places) there are provisions for a "meter tamper rate". Basically after they find you've been "tampering" they can charge you for the full throughput of your pipe. Which ummm would be buku expensive.

However, (and this is the real reason for my reply), right in the Iowa code it states flat-out that a cut security tag shall _not_ be used as the sole evidence of tampering.

Nice of them to include that, eh? So snip away if you live by the corn.
Lol, I only did it one time long ago. It was the owners call, so what the heck. I was just putting bad thoughts in linesiders head.

I missed most of these posts while I went shopping. I bought a Square D 200A 30/40 that had some breakers with it. Since my old panel is full of Square D breakers it'll work out good. I also bought 4/0 Aluminum as it was $2 ft cheaper. I do plan on adding a shop later, so I think I made the right decision.

One question, do I need to change the outside ground? I think it's #8, about 3/16" wide.

Thanks for correcting me on the dryer. Makes sense when it has a 30A pigtail.
 
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Old 02-24-11, 05:16 PM
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One question, do I need to change the outside ground? I think it's #8, about 3/16" wide.
To the ground rod you need #6 copper ground wire. To where the water service enters the building, you need #4 copper or #2 aluminum ground wire.
 
  #11  
Old 02-24-11, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualJoe View Post
To the ground rod you need #6 copper ground wire. To where the water service enters the building, you need #4 copper or #2 aluminum ground wire.
You lost me there. The house has a well and all the piping is PVC/CPVC. I remember about copper piping being grounded. Is there something I need to do there before I replumb it?
 
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Old 02-24-11, 05:40 PM
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You also need noalox where the aluminum connects to anything.
 
  #13  
Old 02-24-11, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchell1204 View Post
You lost me there. The house has a well and all the piping is PVC/CPVC. I remember about copper piping being grounded. Is there something I need to do there before I replumb it?
If the plumbing is all plastic with no municipal water system, then you do not need to make a connection to the water system.
 
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