Upgrading service panel ?

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Old 05-17-15, 02:08 PM
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Upgrading service panel ?

I am planning to move the outside electric Meter since it is under the deck and not in a good place.. I will be using a state licensed electric contractor to do this work. This is requires County permit.
  • So during this work, is it worth to upgrade the service panel, install GFCI outlets as well?
  • Is there any another upgrade that adds value while doing this work? Is 225 AMPS panel good?
  • [*]

I read that the weakest link in an old electrical system is the wire and not necessarily an outdated fused service panel. The wire's age, condition and lack of grounding are the main concern . How do I address this? My home 40 years old and hate to tear the walls to change the wires
 
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Old 05-17-15, 02:14 PM
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Hold on until you remove the deck. The meter may not need moving. Do you know what size the service to your house is presently?
 
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Old 05-17-15, 02:34 PM
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Can you please elaborate what do you mean " what size the service to your house is presently?"
 
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Old 05-17-15, 02:43 PM
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Does your house currently have an electric service..... if yes.... what size is it ?
What amperage is marked on the main breaker.

An upgrade would usually mean up to 200A.
An old fuse panel is the weakest link in that system.
 
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Old 05-17-15, 02:58 PM
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Looks like my current panel is 150 Amps. I have enclosed picture below
ThanksAttachment 50655
 
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Old 05-17-15, 03:49 PM
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The power company determines where they meter can be located. Have you checked with them about the proposed location?



Unless you are planning an additional large load or building addition there really is no reason to spend the money to upgrade.
 
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Old 05-17-15, 04:51 PM
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Ok. I checked with the power company. They are ok with not moving it if I don't change access to it ((ie don't block access).
 
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Old 05-17-15, 07:22 PM
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The wire's age, condition and lack of grounding are the main concern . How do I address this? My home 40 years old and hate to tear the walls to change the wires
It would be pretty unusual to find a home built to code in 1975 that didn't have grounded circuits. Are you sure about the age? Could it be 50 years old......or older? 2-wire NM cable (without ground) was certainly available in 1975, but the code required a ground unless your locality was on a very old code or perhaps had never adopted a code.

Looks like my current panel is 150 Amps. I have enclosed picture below
What color is the panel box and cover/door? If it is tan colored, like I think it is, and if the breakers all have tan colored handles, the breakers and panel have a lifetime warranty. I'd keep it.
 
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Old 05-17-15, 07:34 PM
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Yes. here is the picture of the panel

Name:  electric panel1.jpg
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Size:  32.6 KB
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-17-15 at 07:38 PM. Reason: Rotate image.
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Old 05-18-15, 12:00 AM
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Hi sethramesh,

Before upgrading from 150Amps to a 200Amps Service, you may ask your electrician to verify if your Electrical Panel Loads are Balanced or Unbalanced (120v Loads that are highly likely to be unbalanced). If they are not balanced, it can be very useful to proceed to balance them; in some cases or/and instances balancing the loads will result in no need to upgrade the service, as the a proper Balancing of the Loads will dramatically improve the efficiency of your current electrical service.

However, some may argue that Balancing the Loads in a Residential Service is a waste of time because the Loads will vary during the day, night, etc. and that's true... but still you can balance them having those variations in consideration; a good way is to determine all the Loads that will be Active Most of the Time and primarily balance according to those loads (the most active); then try to also distribute the less active loads between the legs (considering their amperage usage when they become active), that way the amount of time and magnitude that the loads will vary and become unbalanced will be dramatically reduced.



Jos
 

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Old 05-18-15, 06:19 AM
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I would leave the current service. 150 amps is plenty of power unless you are planning on adding some pretty heavy loads.
 
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Old 05-18-15, 06:50 AM
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Thank you all for excellent suggestions. I know understand it better.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 07:00 AM
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Exclamation

...verify if your Electrical Panel Loads are Balanced or Unbalanced


THANX!

I am on a very step learning curve and information like this helps.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 08:50 AM
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Residential panels usually can't be balanced and it is not an issue.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:00 AM
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Hi ray2047,

You stated:
Residential panels usually can't be balanced and it is not an issue.
With all respect, I have to strongly disagree with you on that one. First I will say that residential panels usually ARE NOT balanced because people don't care or take the time to do so. But they in FACT CAN be balanced; yes it will consume more installation and planning time but it can be done. It's true that it may still not be an issue if a residential panel is unbalanced but why not to take the time to properly balance them???

I successfully had balanced the electrical Loads at my New Home Subpanel and it was not difficult at all. Later, I will create a New Thread with pictures of my Subpanel and with the explanation of How I successfully balanced all the Loads. It was indeed a task extremely easy to achieve calculating the Most Active Loads and primarily balance according to those Loads, for example...

In my New Home Subpanel the Most of the Time Active Loads will be an Air Conditioner (120Volts) and a Refrigerator (120Volts). My new Air Conditioner uses 8.8Amps and my new Refrigerator uses 6.8Amps, the Air Conditioner will be tuned on when I go to sleep and therefore will be turned on when everything else is turned off in the House except the Refrigerator that is ALWAYS ON, therefore I installed the Breaker that supplies power to the dedicated 20Amp Circuit for the Air Conditioner at ONE LEG of the panel, and the Breaker that supplies power to the dedicated 15Amp Circuit for the Refrigerator at the opposite LEG of the panel. When both appliances will be turned on during 8 or more hours there will be a Load of 8.8Amps on one Leg and a Load of 6.8Amps on the other Leg of the panel. While there is still a difference of 2Amps on the Neutral... if instead I put both the Air Conditioner and the Refrigerator on same Leg that will result on a Load of 15.6Amps on just one Leg, while the other Leg will have 0 Load for 8 or more hours, therefore resulting on a difference charge of 15.6Amps on the Neutral for 8 or more hours.

What is in FACT more efficient and balanced, to have a difference of just 2Amps on the Neutral? Or a difference of 15.6Amps on the Neutral for 8 or more hours, just because don't care about a few more minutes to determine that the Air Conditioner and the Refrigerator should be on opposite Legs of the Panel???


Thank you.


Jos
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:07 AM
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The refrigerator rarely runs. In your example you would have 8 amps on one leg and only a periodic load on the other.

The loads in a house are too transient to balance between the two hots. The conductors are sized to the maximum load so there is no issue with excess current on a leg.

Residential meters are watt/hour meters.

A residential service is single phase. They do not need to be balanced like a poly phase system.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:17 AM
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More to the point, there is no benefit to balancing a residential service. If a house has one leg with 60 amps, and the other 100 amps, but the main breaker is 150 amps there is no issue. You still pay the same amount per KWH and has nothing to do with efficiency.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:30 AM
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Hi pcboss,

I totally understand your arguments and they have a strong fundament. But I have a question:

In my New Home Subpanel I balanced the Loads in a way that when having ACTIVE the Air Conditioner, the Water Heater, the Refrigerator, the HDTV and Gaming Systems, some Light Fixtures, a Bathroom Fan and a Kitchen Exhaust Fan, etc. (this will not be active at the same time for very long periods, but let's say for a few hours) at the same time it will equal around 25Amps of Active Usage at one Leg and around 30Amps of Active Usage at the other Leg. Therefore meaning a difference of just around 5Amps on the Neutral. For the Neutral I'm using a #6 wire that is rated for up to 55Amps. Don't you think that having just a difference charge of 5Amps on the Neutral is better than just install everything without any balancing of the Loads, and ending having 50Amps of Active Usage on one Leg and 5Amps of Active Usage on the other Leg, therefore having a difference charge of 45Amps on the Neutral???

Isn't a difference of just 5Amps on the Neutral by balancing the Loads better and more efficient than a difference of 45Amps on the Neutral by not balancing them??? YES OR NO??? That's all is need to be answered.


Thanks.


Jos
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:34 AM
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Tolyn Ironhand,


What about having such an unbalancing Loads that 10Amps are on one Leg and 140Amps on the other Leg, is that just as good as if the Loads were more balanced??? Like saying 80Amps on one Leg and 70Amps on the other Leg???
 
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Old 05-25-15, 10:39 AM
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Since you are billed by watts consumed and the wires are sized for the maximum load, there is no benefit. Watts are watts.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 11:08 AM
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Jos, PC and Tolyn are correct, it is utterly impossible to fully balance a residential panel. Further, there really is no reason to even attempt to do so unless the lion's share of the 120 volt load is on one leg.

As for using a significantly smaller neutral conductor, it is far, far easier to simply calculate the maximum unbalanced load possible and size the neutral for that, or higher load. Almost universally a "sub-panel" will use the same size conductors for both hot and neutral and the only time a smaller neutral is used is on a "service panel" where a substantial amount of the load at 240 volts and therefore inherently balanced.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 11:22 AM
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Hi Furd,

You have said it, they are correct that is impossible to ''fully'' balance a residential panel. But please don't assume that is impossible to BALANCE them.

Okay, balancing the Loads may still have no benefits; and don't understand me wrong, I agree with you that by simply calculating the maximum unbalanced load possible and size the neutral accordingly to that is just a better and more practical way to proceed.

However, even with no benefits involved, a fact is that the Loads can be balanced in a residential house, not fully balanced, but balanced.

Said that, I did not fully balance the Loads at my New House, but I decided to balance them the most possible... and I am more than pleased with that decision.


Thanks a lot.


Jos
 
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Old 05-25-15, 12:04 PM
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I know that Americanized English is not your native language but try this: Kind of, sort of, maybe, somewhat approximately balanced at some particular moment of the day. That "balance" (partial or approximate) may change at any time from one side to the other. Why waste one minute of your precious life in even attempting the impossible?

What I MIGHT do (but I doubt it) would be to attempt to "balance" the number of 15 and 20 ampere single pole circuit breakers across the two "hot" buses. Anything beyond that is simply silly in my opinion.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 12:11 PM
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Furd,

That "balance" (partial or approximate) may change at any time from one side to the other.
When I balanced the Loads at my New House I precisely did it considering all those variations to balance the Loads. I know how, when, for what, etc. I will use every single circuit that I installed in my new house, therefore I can consider those variations and keep everything under the calculations I made for balancing the loads.

Why waste one minute of your precious life in even attempting the impossible?
I have an I.Q. of 140, wasting time of my precious life attempting to do things that are extremely difficult to achieve or impossible is actually the way intellectuals like me enjoy living. Doing things that will never require a lot of time nor intellectual effort to calculate complex variations and to perform complex tasks is the real waste of time in our lives.

Thanks.


Jos
 
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Old 05-25-15, 12:43 PM
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People that have to mention their IQ, which has been proven to have very little to do with much of anything beyond the ability to take a test, irritate me. I have no idea what my "IQ" may be and I don't care in the least. Suffice to say that my cognitive thinking skills are significantly above those of a majority of the populace.

We are simply going to have to disagree with both any benefit from "balancing" electrical loads in a residential panel AND any reasoning for attempting the procedure.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 01:49 PM
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I don't want to have my life that regimented that I have every use planned out so my panel remains balanced or close to it. At the end of the month it is all the same when the bill comes.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 02:31 PM
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Lightbulb

Furd,

People that have to mention their IQ, which has been proven to have very little to do with much of anything beyond the ability to take a test, irritate me.
Nice!

By the way, I personally has done and accomplished a lot more than just taking a test and obtaining a High I.Q with my intellectuality, several things I have achieved are not related to the topics of these Forums so I will not even mention them, and several others are related to this Forums like for example being able to succesfully built 100% of my entire New House just by Myself, and with the Help of the Almighty God of Israel, I succesfully built my New House and everything on it by myself at a young age of just 27 years old; that's way more than just taking a test.

Have a good evening.

Thanks.


Jos
 
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Old 05-25-15, 02:42 PM
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Blah, blah, blah.

The more you try to "prove" your importance/intellect/knowledge the less you mean to me. Your mention of "god" means absolutely nothing to me as I am a non-believer. You might want to brush up on your English skills as your constant, yet random, capitalization of words within your sentences shows a distinct lack of understanding of the rules of English grammar.

Now, if you want to move back to REAL topics I'm game. Otherwise, I'm through.
 
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Old 05-25-15, 03:29 PM
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This is no longer going anywhere. I'm shutting it down.
 
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