Upgrading and future proofing

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  #1  
Old 08-03-13, 08:50 AM
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Question Upgrading and future proofing

Hey guys,

I am currently in a house from the 80s with a 100a load center. The best part is the A/C runoff has been dripping out on the meterbox and it has rust all over it. So it is time for some cleanup and upgrades.

First question: I am obviously hiring an electrician, but is it acceptable to order the load box i want and breakers online and have him do the install? I am not sure if people usually mark that up, and it will be a slap in the face, but I would like to get something with a manual transfer switch built in for a generator.

Second question: The power company says all our lines are 200a, but where does that start? Since there is 100a in the house, I am assuming if I went the full 200a I would have to replace the entire line from the distribution point? I can safely still go to 125a on the same 100a line though right?

Thanks again guys, starting to prepare for all this and your input really helps.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 09:11 AM
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You are in Texas so I am assuming your house is either on a slab or crawl space; the moisture dripping must be from a condensate line. That must be taken care of first before proceeding.

First question: I am obviously hiring an electrician, but is it acceptable to order the load box i want and breakers online and have him do the install? I am not sure if people usually mark that up, and it will be a slap in the face, but I would like to get something with a manual transfer switch built in for a generator.
Most contractors would prefer to furnish the equipment and would therefore also warrant it and have responsibility for it being the proper approved equipment for the purpose. Yes, they will mark it up some, but they are not in the wholesale business. If it were me and you had purchased your own equipment, I'd probably tell you to call someone else. My opinion is that you should tell the contractor exactly what you want and let him price the job accordingly. Some licensed electricians might be willing to let you furnish your equipment, but most probably won't.

Second question: The power company says all our lines are 200a, but where does that start? Since there is 100a in the house, I am assuming if I went the full 200a I would have to replace the entire line from the distribution point? I can safely still go to 125a on the same 100a line though right?
From what your POCO is telling you, they are furnishing you up to 200 amps to the weatherhead connection if the service is overhead or to the meter socket if service is underground. Typically, if overhead, you are responsible for service entrance wiring and socket to the weatherhead and wiring on into your panel. If underground, you are responsible for the meter socket and service entrance wiring on into your panel.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 10:17 AM
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If you increase the main breaker in your service, the wires before the main breaker also must be increased in size. A 125A service is likely a waste of time. You would be better either staying with the 100 amp 30 circuit panel, or upgrading to a 200 amp 42 circuit.

The largest problem I have with installing customer supplied materials is they typically get the wrong stuff and that wastes my time, and their money. Just the other day I went to a service call to change out a in wall electric heater. Old heater was 240 volt, new heater was 120 volt. So I had to take more time changing out the breaker and installing a filler plate. Luckily I had the stuff in the truck or I would have had to run to the store.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 07:32 PM
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I can safely still go to 125a on the same 100a line though right?
TI is right, this may be a waste because all the service entrance wiring would have to be increased to 125 amps. The meter socket, if it's as bad as you say, needs to be replaced regardless. Are you increasing your load or do you have plans in the future to increase your load? An increase in load requiring possibly a 200 amp service would be something like switching to electric heat or switching from gas appliances to all electric. If no increase is in the cards, why not stay with a 100 amp service? If you need more circuits in your panel, that is something we could help you with as well.

You mentioned a manual transfer switch for a generator. What did you have in mind? There are some folks who follow this forum who are very well versed in transfer switches and generators.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 09:56 PM
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The power company says all our lines are 200a, but where does that start? Since there is 100a in the house, I am assuming if I went the full 200a I would have to replace the entire line from the distribution point? I can safely still go to 125a on the same 100a line though right?
When we upgraded from a 60A service to a 200A service, the triplex from the pole to the house was not changed.

If it had needed to be, that is the POCO's responsibility. Your responsibility begins at the splice, on your house, to the wires feeding it.
 
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