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1934 house crowde100A box, small service wire, old wiring. What upgrades?

1934 house crowde100A box, small service wire, old wiring. What upgrades?


Old 09-27-11, 01:18 AM
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1934 house crowde100A box, small service wire, old wiring. What upgrades?

I've purchased a 900 sq ft. 1934-built foreclosed cottage. It has an overfull older Gould 100A CTL box (100 amp Gould mains) that has 4 non-CTL tandem breakers. The previous landlord seems to have added several circuits to the house. I haven't seen any evidence of corrosion or shorting/heat stress anywhere so far and I've been through most of the outlets and been living in the place for several months but it's just me and gas for heating.

So I was looking into a sub-panel for newer branch circuits when I noticed the service conductors looked newer but small. The existing box is an older 100A Gould with original 100 mains that must have been made before the previous young owner was out of diapers. I tried to eyeball the copper service conductors. They appear to be smaller than 4 mm, but larger than 3mm which means 8 gauge right?

How can the service conductors' gauge be easily verified w/o pulling the meter? No markings are visible on the wires nor is there a disconnect at the meter. Was there ever an ed. of the code that spec'd 8 or 6 ga wire in service mains for 100, 80 or 60 amp boxes?

The small square meter base box says appears at least as old as the load center w/o any markings outside that I could see. How to easily determine the base's rating?

I'm trying to trace down the electrical history of the house to look for other issues. One that would be helpful identifying old wire and any important considerations...tips anyone?

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Old 09-27-11, 04:24 AM
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Dave, welcome to the forums! Most likely your electrical service is woefully inadequate. You could only have a 60 amp service to the house. Can you take a few pictures of the opened panel, meter base, service entrance mast and whatever you think we could use to give you better advice? http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
In addition, your local POCO could give you much better "history" of the service, and may could recommend what they would require as far as an upgrade.
Old 09-27-11, 04:39 AM
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Different insulations have different thicknesses which can change the appearance of the conductor although the actual conductor sizes are the same.
Old 09-27-11, 08:13 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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I would think that the first step would be to determine what your requirements are. From there you can make a decision whether or not to go with a complete service upgrade or just an updated service entrance panel. Under most circumstances 100 amp service is adequate for most single family residences. If you have electrical appliances or electric heat it probably is not.

You can find guidance for determining service requirements at several web sites and most DIY homeowner oriented electrical repair books.

Additional note by Mod. The smallest service allowed to be installed in a dwelling is 100 amps.

Last edited by pcboss; 09-27-11 at 06:03 PM. Reason: clarified SEP
Old 09-27-11, 09:04 AM
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Here is a demand load calculator. http://www.bestinspectors.net/members/RES%20Service.xls
Old 09-27-11, 08:08 PM
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900 square feet with gas heat and I also assume a gas water heater? If my assumption is correct, I can assure you that 100 amps is plenty for the small cottage. Chandler is right though, we need pictures of the service panel opened, meter socket and service mast and wiring to determine what you have and to make recommendations. There is a possibility that many years ago only the panel was changed and the rest of the service is only good for 60 amps, but without pictures, we'll never know. Gould owned ITE in the 70s and early 80s so I would also assume your panel is probably at least 30 years old and near it's end of useful life. We need pictures.

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