testing capacity ?

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  #1  
Old 01-01-12, 08:18 AM
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testing capacity ?

hello

i am looking at a house. it says that it has newer 200+ amp service.
i am looking for a way to confirm this, without calling in an
electrician.

thanx
 
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  #2  
Old 01-01-12, 08:37 AM
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Look at the number on the handle of the main breaker in the panel.
 
  #3  
Old 01-01-12, 09:28 AM
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I suppose their could a be a question as to whether or not the service cabl was upgraded vs. someone just putting a larger capacity panel in.

If you can read any of the labeling on the cable, that will help. You can also go to the town and find out if there were permits pulled. Any particular reason why you think it isn't a 200 amp service?
 
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Old 01-01-12, 09:35 AM
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I think I've seen people post here that the power company can tell you the rated service for their side of the lines, if it's at least what your main breaker and panel are labeled, or higher...then you should be fine.
 
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Old 01-01-12, 09:59 AM
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If it has been upgraded it should be easy to see a rating on the breaker handle like Ray said.
 
  #6  
Old 01-01-12, 11:56 AM
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thanx guys

i didn't look at the box well. so i didn't notice what was what. other than the box was large, new, a lot of breakers and half capacity.

i have no reason to doubt it is 200amp. i just want to confirm it.

if i go forward with this place, i will call the power co.
 
  #7  
Old 01-01-12, 12:02 PM
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Sounds like it was done correctly. I've heard of people that upgraded but used a smaller panel (24 vs 36 for instance)...but then filled up the box and only left a few slots open...just to save a very few bucks on the cost of the panel.
 
  #8  
Old 01-01-12, 01:24 PM
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No reason to doubt it, but do have an inspection done on the house. The inspector will likely open up the breaker box. Look at it with him. It should be reasonably neat, no visibly older components, etc.

I'd also ask for copies of the permits. Practically all cities and towns require the homeowner or the contractor to pull a permit for any service upgrade or change. Presuming a permit was pulled and inspected, it's likely to be done correctly.

Also, for what it's worth, the POCO probably doesn't know what the service is to the house. They may have on record what the wire gauge is, but they have different rules... so it's not all that helpful.
 
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Old 01-02-12, 11:00 AM
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gotcha. thanx ...............
 
  #10  
Old 01-02-12, 11:42 AM
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Also, for what it's worth, the POCO probably doesn't know what the service is to the house. They may have on record what the wire gauge is, but they have different rules... so it's not all that helpful.
I upgraded my service from 100 to 200 and the POCO didn't make any changes to the drop I have. I did get a new transformer though, but that is because the old one went. I think I have less dimming now when I turn a machine on.
 
  #11  
Old 01-02-12, 05:09 PM
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ok. well, then what is the limiting factor in power into the house ?
 
  #12  
Old 01-02-12, 05:18 PM
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Assuming your service was installed to NEC requirements, the limiting factor would be the main breaker. drooplug mentioned his power company didn't change his service drop nor did they change the transformer because of his service upgrade. It is pretty common that most power companies size the service drop and transformer to the load in the house and not to the size service installed in the house. It is also pretty common among power companies that it is the customer's responsibility to inform the power company of any planned increases in load so that they may evaluate things such as service drop and transformer sizing.
 
  #13  
Old 01-02-12, 05:23 PM
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To the best of my knowledge, the power company knew. I got a permit and the town had to contact them. From the weather head to the panel, the cable was upgraded. They did come by and put a new anti-tamper clip on the meter pan.
 
  #14  
Old 01-02-12, 05:26 PM
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Unless you are adding substantial load, that is the way it is normally handled with most power companies.
 
  #15  
Old 01-03-12, 06:39 PM
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that is odd. i would think that they would size the wire to the service, say, 100amp.
then, if you wanted 200amp = you pay them to change it out.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 07:48 PM
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that is odd. i would think that they would size the wire to the service, say, 100amp.
then, if you wanted 200amp = you pay them to change it out.
Many homes have a 100 amp or 200 amp service installed as a standard and not because they need or will ever use that amperage. If the power company supplied capacity to each of their customers based upon the size of the installed service, they would spend tens of thousands of dollars (or maybe millions) more than what was really necessary. The power companies work under different codes than inside wiremen who wire homes and commercial establishments.
 
  #17  
Old 01-04-12, 06:36 PM
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yeah. around here, 60 amp service was standard. now, 100amp service is standard.

we are going back there saturday. and i will check it better and get pics.
 
  #18  
Old 01-04-12, 07:16 PM
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Remember that the PoCo is not required to follow the NEC. You will find their "200 amp wire" is only about #2 aluminum while our 200 amp wire is 2/0 copper or 4/0 aluminum. They also pretty much will run the same size wire for all residential services unless it is over 200 amp.
 
  #19  
Old 01-05-12, 05:36 PM
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In my area, the power company as a standard runs a #2 aluminum triplex overhead to a 200 amp service unless the home has electric heat and water heating. When they find a home with electric heat and water heating, they increase the aluminum triplex drop to 1/0. Typically, they do run a 4/0 aluminum underground service lateral to most new subdivision homes with 200 amp service, but when the service goes beyond that, to 400 or 600 amps, the lateral may only go up to a 350 to 500 MCM aluminum. This is usually because of calculated load.
 
  #20  
Old 01-08-12, 07:29 AM
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ok, fella's. here is 2 pics. it looks like the whole house was rewired.
though i have yet to pull any switches/outlets. or the box cover.

here is the box and the feed.



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  #21  
Old 01-08-12, 07:37 AM
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The main breaker is 100 amp. Therefore it is a 100 amp service, not 200.

Also, the 3 GE breakers (bottom left) do not belong in that Cuttler Hammer BR panel.
 
  #22  
Old 01-08-12, 07:53 AM
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That disconnect isn't 100 for each leg?
 
  #23  
Old 01-08-12, 07:58 AM
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Circuit breakers are not rated that way. You do not add up the total of each leg. If you draw 100 amps on either leg, the breaker will trip. A 200 amp service will have a breaker or fuse marked 200.
 
  #24  
Old 01-08-12, 08:24 AM
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ok, this is why i ask you guys. saying that, it is looking like i am buying this house.
so i want to be prepared when dealing with it.

so. are there any issues here ? sides the 3 GE breakers = why should those not be there ?
 
  #25  
Old 01-08-12, 08:45 AM
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Breakers have to be listed and approved to be used in certain panels. If you look at the label of the panel you will not find any GE breaker approved for that panel, nor will you find a listing that approves the use of the GE breaker in a Cuttler Hammer panel. Of course, a manufactures will only want you to use their breakers is their panels and vice versa. Cuttler hammer does make "universal" circuit breakers that are listed and approved for a variety of panels. As you can guess, they are a little more expensive.

Bottom line: Use only the approved breakers listed for the panel. Even if some other brands fit.

That is all I see from the two pictures. Might see more if the panel cover was removed.
This 100 amp panel is likely plenty large for you unless there is a lot of electric heat or appliances but it appears the only thing is the A/C.
 
  #26  
Old 01-08-12, 09:01 AM
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ok, thanx. yeah, the a/c is the biggest thing. perhaps in the future i may want to add a 240v to the garage. but idk if i ever will need that. i will probably just add a 25amp 120v for the welders and compressor.
 
  #27  
Old 01-08-12, 12:12 PM
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it is looking like i am buying this house.
so i want to be prepared when dealing with it.
If you are just in the negotiation stage of buying the house, it's not likely you wouod get a big reduction in price, but maybe you could negotiate to have the seller hire a licensed electrician to replace the GE breakers with the proper Cutler-Hammer breakers. I would estimate that to be about a $125 to $150 value to you.
 
  #28  
Old 01-08-12, 05:08 PM
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i did get a big price reduction. and the owner accepted, but the bank has yet. it is a short sale. and "through the grapevine" we are told that they most likely will, and VERY SOON. due to owner issues = cancer .
the house is "as is" .

why would i pay someone to just pop in a few breakers ?
 
  #29  
Old 01-08-12, 05:25 PM
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Some areas have strict rules about who is qualified to perform electrical work.
 
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