Panel Replacement Questions

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  #1  
Old 02-23-14, 06:10 AM
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Panel Replacement Questions

Im in the process of finding someone to replace my panel and meter enclosure.

I was hoping to use this thread to ask a few specific questions as they arise.


I need to have them run the ground back to my water main. But for the secondary grounding, there is already a 3/4" steel ground rod driven out by the meter that we are currently hooked too.... can they reuse the old pipe or should I ask them to drive a new rod?

And if this is done in the winter, driving a new one isn't possible due to frozen ground... what is done in that case?
 
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Old 02-23-14, 06:52 AM
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I would check with your poco. Pipes aren't used as grounding electrodes any more. Usually a 5/8" brass rod with an acorn fitting is used for such. With a fence post driver, it may be possible to penetrate enough of the frozen ground to allow proper depth (8'). Now if the old rod is not actually a "pipe", and is actually a ground rod, then you should have no problem hooking to it.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 07:59 AM
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It appears to be a pipe, its hollow. Looks like 3/4" galvanized with the usual grounding straps/fittings on it. Its the only GEC we have now.

-With the new panel they will have to run the GEC back about 75' to where the water main is on the other side of the basement. What is the proper guage wire they should use and would that be run in conduit (we have conduit system) or would they just run it along the water pipe bare?

-I know labor and material is a regional thing. How more to a panel replacement do you think having my meter socket replaced should add?

My reasoning for wanting socket replaced is age, (I think 50 years but not sure what was upgrading when) if its rusty or not etc. I assumed its a good idea to do this too since the meter would be pulled and the feeders between the meter and panel will be replaced anyhow. The feeder wire between the poco connection and the meter was recently replaced. Same weatherhead and conduit was used. I am not sure if I should have them writing up the new socket in the estimate or tell them to inspect the insides at time of installation of panel and replace only if needed.


-What brand of panel should I be asking for... whatever that contractor uses or should I specifically say I want square-d? The one estimate I already got didn't include what brand of material would be used.

- Permit- should I ask the contractor to add that to the estimate and assure they pull the permits? Or is that something a homeowner does? Ballpark, how much does a permit cost?
 

Last edited by mummy; 02-23-14 at 08:18 AM.
  #4  
Old 02-23-14, 08:16 AM
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The proper gauge depends on the service size.

It should not be hard to drive a ground rod. The ground is not that frozen around your area.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 08:20 AM
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The proper gauge depends on the service size.

It should not be hard to drive a ground rod. The ground is not that frozen around your area.
100A. Is it run in conduit or bare along the pipes? Im in Michigan actually, not sure how DE got up there so yes the ground is frozen.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 08:42 AM
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Normally it is just run as a bare conductor, insulated if fine too.
 
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Old 02-23-14, 11:28 AM
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My reasoning for wanting socket replaced is age, (I think 50 years but not sure what was upgrading when)
The meter socket is usually the last item to be replaced, if it is ever replaced. Considering the age, I'd recommend a complete new service with all new service entrance wiring, panel & breakers and all grounding.
 
  #8  
Old 02-23-14, 11:44 AM
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The meter socket is usually the last item to be replaced, if it is ever replaced. Considering the age, I'd recommend a complete new service with all new service entrance wiring, panel & breakers and all grounding.
If ever? What would be the determining factor there?

How much extra do you think a meter socket replacement would add to replacing a panel?

I saw square D brand sockets at HD today selling for 130 bucks. Figure double that from a contractor plus labor... is that correct thinking?

The permit question is important? Im not sure how to have this taken care... the one estimate we had did NOT include it... ballpark on how much that usually is?
 
  #9  
Old 02-23-14, 01:52 PM
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I don't want to ruin your day, but a complete panel replacement may be quite a bit more than you think. I found some data on the internet that said the average cost of a heavy up to a 200 amp panel is about $2000-2500. When I priced it locally (Northern VA) the price ranged from $1895 to about $2800. The guy who offered to do it for $1895 was a retired electrician (licensed) who was still taking jobs on the side.

I used a 200 amp Square D HO panel (not the cheaper Homeline) and he also replaced the meter base. The power company took care of connecting the new meter base to the pole. He had to install new ground rods outside and run new ground wire back to the water main. Everything was done with a permit, and the total was $1895. My old panel was a mix of newer Romex and 1940 vintage metal clad 2 conductor cable, but that did not seem to cause any problem with the upgrade.

Bruce
 
  #10  
Old 02-23-14, 05:21 PM
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Yes I know they are not giving them away.

What should I be discussing about the permit and permit fee?

Search starts again in the morning for the lucky guy who will cash my check.
 
  #11  
Old 02-23-14, 06:23 PM
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If ever? What would be the determining factor there?
Many times the panel will get changed, but the existing socket and service cable remains in service for 30 to 50 years.

The permit question is important? Im not sure how to have this taken care... the one estimate we had did NOT include it... ballpark on how much that usually is?
When you ask a contractor for a quote, tell them to include the permit cost in the quote. I'd also suggest you ask for the price to include a copper bus panel. Aluminum bus is standard from some manufacturers and is less expensive. The only other suggestion I'd make is to go with a 30 circuit panel.

saw square D brand sockets at HD today selling for 130 bucks. Figure double that from a contractor plus labor... is that correct thinking?
A typical 100 amp overhead socket with horn bypass probably shouldn't run over about $30, but the cost all depends on what your power company requires. If they require a lever bypass, the cost could be $140 - $150. The contractor has the responsibility of coordinating the inspection, the connection by the power company and meeting all requirements of both the power company and the inspector.

I found some data on the internet that said the average cost of a heavy up to a 200 amp panel is about $2000-2500.
I personally think that's on the high side even for a typical 200 amp service, but in this case, the OP wants a 100 amp service anyway. The big varying factor across the country is labor. In an area with labor at approximately $90 to $95/Hour, I think a typical 200 amp service could run around ***** to ***** and a typical 100 amp service could run around ***** to *****. By typical, I mean with aluminum service cable and no service disconnect at the meter. If you need a mast through the roof, add about $100 to $200. A conduit riser, copper wire, service disconnect at the meter or a mast through the roof would all be extra.

I don't quote prices, but if I were to fill in the blanks, they would be lower than the information posted by the previous poster.
 
  #12  
Old 02-24-14, 02:33 PM
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One guy wants to use the schedule 80 PVC for service drop out by meter canbecause we have 1.5 or 1.25 metal right now and he says it must go up to 2".

Do extra provisions need to be made for grounding in that case? GEC or EGC?

We have conduit mechanical ground for EGC, does that play a role in this?
 
  #13  
Old 02-24-14, 03:19 PM
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Since the PVC riser is non-conductive there is no need for it to be grounded.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 03:37 PM
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Since the PVC riser is non-conductive there is no need for it to be grounded.
Just so I know my thinking is correct.

That doesn't have anything to do with the EGC then... since my conduit system is mechanically bonded to the panel which is grounded thru the neutral service wire?

also

Is PVC any less reliable/strong then the metal I have now... say in relation to standing up to high winds and the elements?
 
  #15  
Old 02-24-14, 03:49 PM
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PVC can be used for a riser, AFAIK it cannot be used for a mast. It does not have the rigidity to support the triplex.
 
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Old 02-24-14, 06:06 PM
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Is PVC any less reliable/strong then the metal I have now... say in relation to standing up to high winds and the elements?
The PVC conduit riser is OK, just not my preference. If he installs a PVC riser he'll also have to install a PVC weatherhead.
 
  #17  
Old 02-25-14, 05:14 AM
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What size should the riser be for 100A service?

I cant find this in my elec. book, so I think its a regional thing?
 
  #18  
Old 02-25-14, 07:13 AM
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The riser size is based on the number and size of conductors and the insulation and conductor material. It is the same tables that are used to size other conduits.
 
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Old 02-25-14, 07:27 AM
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SEU is 3 wire #4 copper (I assume).
 
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Old 02-25-14, 08:00 AM
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SE cable does not need to be run in conduit unless subject to physical damage.
 
  #21  
Old 02-25-14, 08:12 AM
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Its individual conductors then I think.

So you don't know what size pipe?.... Im thinking that's a local governance not nec since we cannot come up with answer.
 
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Old 02-25-14, 08:23 AM
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The number and sizes are covered in the Chapter 9 tables of the NEC.

Who is the "we" ?
 
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Old 02-25-14, 11:35 AM
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Its individual conductors then I think.

So you don't know what size pipe?.... Im thinking that's a local governance not nec since we cannot come up with answer.
The most common size conduit riser for a 100 amp service is 1 1/4". Most 100 amp meter sockets used to come with a factory installed 1 1/4" hub, but I believe they mostly come with just the hub opening today to reduce the socket cost. A 100 amp socket will accept serveral different size hubs, I know a 2" will work in case you need a 2" rigid mast through the roof.
 
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Old 02-25-14, 11:59 AM
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A riser does not extend past the roof of a house and is sized by the NEC. A mast extends past the roof and will be sized by the power company. Which are you trying to install?
 
  #25  
Old 02-26-14, 11:06 AM
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OK- another topic. Water ground. Proposing they run #6 back to the water meter not in conduit.

Does that wire then run back the length of the water pipes to the electrical panel (jumpering water heater etc) or is it alright to connect at meter and then run a straight/shortest path back to the panel not along the pipes if that makes any sense?

also

They refer to the riser as galvanized. I know it as rigid. Rigid conduit is galvanized correct?
 
  #26  
Old 02-26-14, 11:25 AM
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Water ground. Proposing they run #6 back to the water meter not in conduit.
Assuming the water meter is in the basement, #6 copper or #4 aluminum is what the NEC requires for a 100 amp service. It should be one continuous length and jumper around the meter with a water pipe clamp on each side of the meter and/or pressure reducing valve. It does not have to follow the path of the pipes.

They refer to the riser as galvanized. I know it as rigid. Rigid conduit is galvanized correct?
Galvanized many times is used to mean rigid, but it also could be IMC. Just so you know, EMT is also galvanized, but it is a electroplated galvanizing where rigid is a cold dip galvanizing and will remain rust free for many years. I have a 25 year old EMT riser on my house and it has not rusted a bit.
 
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