Federal Pacific Panel Replacement

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  #1  
Old 03-03-14, 07:10 PM
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Federal Pacific Panel Replacement

I have a house built in 1978 with a Federal Pacific stab-lock panel. The panel is 150 amp and is located in a small closet (original location) - 30" wide and 24" deep. I believe the space requirement changed in 78, but could be wrong. I want to replace the panel, but wonder if I should upgrade to a 200 panel. This would require a new service line (about 35 feet). Also wonder if the inspector will require a panel relocation from the closet.

Specs: House is 2,800 sq ft with 5 ton AC, electric dryer, gas stove and gas water heater.

Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 03-03-14, 07:13 PM
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Since it is an existing location an inspector may allow the panel to stay. That will need to be worked out with them.

The 200 amp panel may be cheaper than the 150.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 07:20 PM
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The size is too small but that is a moot point. Residential panels can no longer be in closets.
This would require a new service line (about 35 feet)
Are you saying the panel is 35 feet from the meter? Is there a main disconnect at the meter?
wonder if I should upgrade to a 200 panel.
You need to do a load calc:
Single Family Dwelling Load Calculator
Residential Load Calculations - Mike Holt Enterprises
 
  #4  
Old 03-03-14, 07:30 PM
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The panel is 35 feet from the meter and there is no disconnect at the meter. The POCO says I can upgrade to 200 amp without any requirements from them, but several changes would be required if a larger upgrade was required.
 
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Old 03-03-14, 09:54 PM
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I would doubt the inspector would require the panel to be relocated with just a panel replacement. Since there is more than 5'-6' of unfused service wiring in your house..... he can require you to install a main disconnect at the meter location.

Definitely discuss your concerns with him ahead of time.
 
  #6  
Old 03-04-14, 07:03 AM
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The panel is 35 feet from the meter and there is no disconnect at the meter. The POCO says I can upgrade to 200 amp without any requirements from them, but several changes would be required if a larger upgrade was required.
I suspect you live in a more rural area that had little or no inspection back in 1978 other than the power company. 35 feet of unfused service entrance wiring hasn't been allowed by the NEC for as long as I can remember. There are still a lot of rural areas that still have no local inspection. I would proceed by following the NEC regardless of any local inspection.

The possible exception could be if the unfused service entrance wiring were in conduit under a concrete slab, but that would be a rare residential installation.
 
  #7  
Old 03-04-14, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for the responses!

I live in Atlanta, not at all rural. The SER cable is sized for 150 amp and runs from one side of the house (meter) across the garage ceiling up into the house and the breaker box. Don't think I mentioned the meter situation to the inspection office, but the POCO said it would not need to be updated unless the service was increased to 300/400 amp service, then a disconnect would be required.

The inspection office thought an upgrade from 150 amp to 200 amp would be 'silly' in most cases as 150amp 'is usually more than enough for the average house'.

The upgrade would require 35 ft of SER, but the 200 Homeline box at HD is actually $ 30 cheaper than the 150 amp box, so I think I'm at less than $ 200 for the upgrade.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 07:37 AM
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Can you post a pic of outside near the meter?
 
  #9  
Old 03-04-14, 07:42 AM
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My suggestion would be to call the inspection office back about the panel location and length of the SER cable. While the metering may not need to be changed, a disconnect at the meter is something entirely different and not regulated by the power company, but by the inspection office. It's possible that inspections were lax in 1978, but I doubt you'll find that in Atlanta today.
 
  #10  
Old 03-04-14, 11:23 AM
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The inspection office thought an upgrade from 150 amp to 200 amp would be 'silly' in most cases as 150amp 'is usually more than enough for the average house'.
That's correct. Have you done the load calculation Ray suggested yet?

If a 200A panel is cheaper than a 150A panel you can install a 150A main breaker to keep from doing the upgrade.
 
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