getting behind an electrical panel

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-19-16, 09:40 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
getting behind an electrical panel

My circuit breaker box and power meter are in an unfinished utility basement on a 3'x3' square of wooden boards that (until today) were attached to a brick wall. I need to work on the wall (to repoint, to seal/drylok, to replace rotting backer boards) and need to temporarily hoist / move everything out of the way.

The problem is that there is no slack whatsoever on the circuit lines coming out of the breaker box. I was able to detach the boards from the wall, but there's not enough slack to get behind the boards -- in particular to reattach new backer boards or work on the wall.

My current plan is to cut circuit power, take off my circuit breaker box facing, detach it (careful with the hot house main), and move it up 6". If the pvc conduit coming out of the box to an LB fitting (goes to the second floor) doesn't pose a problem, this should put the breaker box right under the base of the floor joists overhead. I'm hoping that will be enough slack that I'll be able to pivot the entire panel up towards the ceiling so I can work on the wall.

Any advice to improve upon this plan?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-19-16, 10:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Here's a diagram of what the panel situation looks like:
Name:  export.jpg
Views: 571
Size:  29.9 KB
 

Last edited by brlcad; 03-19-16 at 10:27 PM.
  #3  
Old 03-19-16, 10:32 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
You'll have the power company cut power during the entire operation ?
You'll bend the incoming service ?

Hard to offer any real help without actual pictures. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #4  
Old 03-20-16, 04:44 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 3,132
Pictures would help as Pete mentioned, but how is the is the meter fed?peobably not much slack there,also what size is the PVC going to the second floor,it might be possible to disconnect the wires from the breakers and pull the PVC out of the panel for more flexibility,best bet to contact the POCO and have the power disconnected.
 
  #5  
Old 03-20-16, 07:12 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,987
You will get some wiggle room behind the panel if you disconnect it from the wall and boards, but it won't be much. I sure you can some how get enough room to work, but I doubt you will be able to swing it up if you have any conduit at all.
 
  #6  
Old 03-20-16, 12:47 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
I'll see if I can get a picture of the work in progress. I attached legs to the sides of the boards so I could detach the panel from the wall without disturbing much. That's what confirmed just how tight the circuit lines are.

I hadn't yet considered having BGE cut power, was hoping that moving the breaker box would be sufficient and could still be done with a hot main (don't remember exactly where the screws are till I take the panel off), but I can check into their process.

The meter is fed with a big service cable, maybe 1.5" wide, 1" thick -- don't know the name but it has at least a foot slack on it. I was looking to detach the pvc conduit from the breaker box, disconnecting the wires if needed.
 
  #7  
Old 03-20-16, 12:56 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
The meter pan will be fastened to the board with at least two screws and possibly four. You don't want to pry the pan off the board as the screws could fall inside and short out. That would make quite a bang with several hundred amps of un-fused power. Opening the meter pan is risky business.
 
  #8  
Old 03-20-16, 07:35 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
I don't think I need to move the meter, only the breaker box. The line into the meter has a couple feet slack.
 
  #9  
Old 03-20-16, 07:39 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
I was only going by your first post that said everything must be moved out of the way.
A lot of guessing here.
 
  #10  
Old 03-20-16, 08:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Here are pics of the electrical panel including closeups of the messy circuit lines and the problematic conduit coming out of the breaker box.

Name:  IMG_8978.jpg
Views: 335
Size:  42.3 KBName:  IMG_8979.jpg
Views: 300
Size:  45.2 KBName:  IMG_8987.jpg
Views: 347
Size:  47.0 KBName:  IMG_8981.jpg
Views: 342
Size:  40.8 KBName:  IMG_8983.jpg
Views: 335
Size:  49.9 KBName:  IMG_8985.jpg
Views: 344
Size:  40.5 KB
 
  #11  
Old 03-21-16, 07:26 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,296
I think doing this live is asking for trouble. All it takes is one little bit of metal to come loose or fall into the mains -- or if one of the mains popped out while you were moving the panel. I'm being kind when I say it would be catastrophic in terms of damage and injury.

I'm thinking the proper course here is to have your power company come out and disconnect the service in the meter box if you only need to move the panel, or outside if you also need to remount the meter box. Once that's done, you can pull the wires in the conduit back out the LB fitting and cut it off or disconnect it from the panel box. This should allow you enough slack to swing the panel up and out of the way. Once it's back in place and secure, you'll want to retorque the main lugs to spec prior to the power company coming back out and of course put the "2nd floor" conduit and wires back how they were.

Test dummy in an arc blast:
 
  #12  
Old 03-24-16, 10:39 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Don't know why I didn't think of it earlier, but since I just need to move the breaker box, what if I just pull the meter? There's huge slack on the house main going into the meter (drip loop, etc) and it doesn't need to move. With power cut to the line feeding the breaker box, it'll be trivial to move it up 6+ inches. That should give me enough slack to hoist it up for a few hours while I work on the wall. Then I can call BGE back to have them come reseal the meter when done.
 
  #13  
Old 03-24-16, 11:51 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,296
They should pull the meter, but yes that is a good plan. They will usually glass it out and seal it once it's pulled.
 
  #14  
Old 03-24-16, 12:52 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,987
It appears to me that the main thing holding you up is the PVC pipe marked "2nd floor". Everything else is cable.

If it was me I would take this opportunity to relocate the meter outside where it belongs.
 
  #15  
Old 03-24-16, 10:58 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
City life. There are essentially no meters outside. Stealing Electricity Bge | This is real power grab - tribunedigital-baltimoresun

Reason for having the power company pull the meter? Cut power, snip seal, yank, work, replace, and call them to reseal. Worse case they demand to see my permit and I go get one.

Still planning on calling, so I guess I'll see what they say.
 
  #16  
Old 03-25-16, 04:57 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,670
Confused by your link if it was in response to Tolyn's suggestion to move the meter outside. It would seem the power company would want the meter outside where it is easier to monitor power theft.

It would also seem to be a big inconvenience not to have the meter where it can be easily read. Can't imagine having to have a meter reader walking through my house. There's even stranger danger with that. Read it yourself, well right there that is a big opportunity for theft by misreporting. Of course with smart meters this all may be a thing of the past.
 
  #17  
Old 03-25-16, 07:12 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,296
The reason for them pulling the meter is that you don't have the PPE, training or experience to do it safely. It is also illegal in your state for both safety and potential tampering/theft reasons.

Worst case has nothing to do with permits -- worst case is that the meter can explodes when you pull it; killing or seriously maiming you. Unfused mains are nothing to mess around with.
 
  #18  
Old 03-29-16, 09:58 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
ray2047, yes link was in response to the suggestion for moving it outside. Moving them outside greatly increases occurrences of tampering and theft in the city.

Also, they haven't ever physically read the meter, even before it was this fancier wifi-mesh-network model that is getting deployed nationwide. The meters have been read remotely for at least a decade here.

Regardless, I called BGE and have them coming out to cut the power from the outside on Friday. It is no cost, they don't need in the house, and they will restore service whenever I'm done 24/7. They said if the meter were pulled (which is dead simple and relatively safe with these new digital models) there would be an inspection fee to make sure it wasn't tampered with before restoring the company seal, and they'd need to coordinate physical access to the meter (inside the house). Free and more convenient wins!
 
  #19  
Old 03-29-16, 10:46 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,670
Moving them outside greatly increases occurrences of tampering and theft in the city.
I'm not understanding. They can't steal the electric and the meter wouldn't be worth stealing if you could steal it. What does tampering mean. Why would someone even do that other than an angry friend or relative and if that was the case they'd just find another way to vandalize your home..

I live in one of the ten largest cities in the U.S. and have never heard of that problem. We even often have the main panel outside and you never really here of people messing with another persons breaker box. Can you give examples of what tampering and theft mean? Not arguing with just really trying to understand. Sure we have copper thieves but that isn't about meters.
 
  #20  
Old 03-29-16, 11:14 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NJ - USA
Posts: 43,494
They said if the meter were pulled (which is dead simple and relatively safe with these new digital models) there would be an inspection fee to make sure it wasn't tampered with before restoring the company seal, and they'd need to coordinate physical access to the meter
So if you tell them the meter wasn't pulled..... they don't come in and check ?
 
  #21  
Old 03-30-16, 01:15 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,670
So no locking bands on your meters? Here an electric company key is required to unlock the band. Bit surprised given your talk about theft.

Name:  CLICK_RING.jpg
Views: 224
Size:  15.0 KB
 
  #22  
Old 03-30-16, 05:41 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
So if you tell them the meter wasn't pulled..... they don't come in and check ?
The rep didn't say.. However, given they're smart meters, BGE will know the instant it's pulled and could come knocking on the door to fix things. Also would obviously still need them to reseal before next inspection or sale etc... and I'd still have a problem.

So no locking bands on your meters? Here an electric company key is required to unlock the band. Bit surprised given your talk about theft.
They don't need locking bands... they're inside the house.

The link had better details. Vandalism isn't just from disgruntled neighbors -- city randomness and angry drunken idiots too. With entire blighted blocks elsewhere in the city that have massive turnover rates, power theft happens if they can get to a connection.
 
  #23  
Old 03-30-16, 06:00 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 11,987
This is all very odd to me.

In MN I would say about 98% of meters are outside because it is harder to tamper with meters on the outside where things are exposed to the elements and can easily be seen. Typically it is homeowners that taper with meters to try to steal power before the meter, not vandals/drunks. Meters are "sealed" but this is only just a wire meter seal. Also, about 98% of electrical panels are on the inside to prevent tampering with the panel by drunks/vandals.

It sounds like the power company is happy to do what you need so it sounds like you can finish you project.
 
  #24  
Old 04-22-16, 10:16 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
Just wanted to give everyone an update that I was able to get behind the panel box and repair the wall successfully. BGE gave me a 7am-7pm window, showed up 7:05am, and disconnected from the pole. Detached the breaker box and was able to hoist it up into the overhead joists. Conduit turned out to be a complete distraction as all wires inside had already been cut. With box off the backer board, I was able to slide it left and right enough to cleanly repair and seal the brick behind it. Reattached the breaker box higher and power was restored the next morning.
 
  #25  
Old 04-22-16, 10:23 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 22
pics

Here are pics of the work in progress, breaker box hoisted up, and wall half-sealed.
Name:  IMG_9153.jpg
Views: 157
Size:  45.3 KBName:  IMG_9156.jpg
Views: 116
Size:  28.4 KBName:  IMG_9159.jpg
Views: 160
Size:  41.6 KB
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'