replacing electrical panel in home


  #1  
Old 01-10-17, 12:14 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 127
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
replacing electrical panel in home

I am preparing to update the electrical panel in my home. The current panel has fuses, and is marked as a 125A 24 circuit panel.
Since it is fuses, I am a little concerned, as well as curious as to what the incoming service rating is for the home.
The house was built 1972 or 1978. I guess I donít totally trust the sticker on the panel for some reason.

How could I determine the incoming service current to the house?
I don't see any rating on the meter, wondering where else this may be documented...
 
  #2  
Old 01-10-17, 12:57 PM
C
Member
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 3,138
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
Your electric utility can tell you; that's probably the easiest way to find out for sure.
 
  #3  
Old 01-10-17, 01:03 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 127
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
I thought so too, but when I called today the lady was fairly unhelpful.
She told me I need to call an electrician that has a current thingy that can measure the incoming service. Maybe she was new, or just a nasty B, but after arguing with her for about 10 minutes on this topic I gave up...
 
  #4  
Old 01-10-17, 01:11 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,581
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
The drop to the house is the electric companies concern. You tell them you are increasing your service but usually they won't change anything. They use their own rules for the size of the drop.

Was visiting a friend's son's friend Christmas. The triplex drop appeared to be #6 yet they have a modern panel and run three window heat pumps to heat and cool the six room house. Go figure.
 
  #5  
Old 01-10-17, 01:37 PM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,942
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
The size of the service is defined by the service component with the lowest ampacity. You need to look at the service drop, riser, meter, meter base, panel and any feeders.

Or, the more realistic approach is to assume that based on the age of the service, all of the components have reached end-of-life and should be replaced as part of a complete service upgrade. You should do a demand load calculation to determine what the size of the new service should be (the old one may be overloaded so its size is irrelevant), and get an quote from an electrician to install that size service.

Depending on which jurisdiction you're in and which power company you have, it may be more or less required anyway at the time the main panel is upgraded.
 
  #6  
Old 01-10-17, 02:50 PM
E
Member
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 156
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
In my area (western PA.) the Power Companies requires you to replace the entire service and have it inspected.
 
  #7  
Old 01-10-17, 06:13 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 127
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Seems like DIY's aren't allowed to DIY anymore...
 
  #8  
Old 01-11-17, 05:13 AM
E
Member
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 156
Received 3 Votes on 3 Posts
In my area, western PA. you can change the panel yourself. There is no requirement for a license except in the city limits of Pittsburgh.
You would have to replace the entire service and get it inspected.
The reasons for replacing the entire service are:
* when you break the seal of the meter an inspection is required
* breaking the seal yourself could involve fines in most areas
* only the power company can break the seal n most areas
* existing metering socket does not meet new requirements
* two ground rods are required
* old entrance cable is deteriorated
* plumbing ground requirements have changed

But YES, here, a homeowner with no experience can attempt this.
 
  #9  
Old 01-11-17, 07:29 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,581
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
A DIY way would be to install a new service and panel a foot or so from the current meter if outside. You can then have the electric company move your drop to the new service and install a meter.

The fuse box is gutted after the service is moved and used as a junction box to extend cables in it to the new box. To speed things up you can run but not connect the cables from the new box. You can even install a new receptacle or two to the new box prior to transfer. That way you have immediate power for necessities when the drop is transferred.
 
  #10  
Old 01-11-17, 07:44 AM
I
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,942
Received 44 Votes on 42 Posts
You can DIY a service entrance in most areas of Michigan as long as you own the home and are the primary resident. Most people choose not to due to the complexity of the job and the hassle of dealing with the permit, inspection and power company. Going that way as a DIY it may be tough to get it done in one day leading to a night or two without power.

If you feel like it's a project you want to tackle we can point you in the right direction. What city / region are you in and what is your power company?
 
  #11  
Old 01-11-17, 08:49 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,581
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
My way you will probably not be without power for more than a few minutes. Of course here it wouldn't work because they won't pass the inspection till after the old drop is disconnected but then here only a Master can even pull the permit so you couldn't anyway. Won't post how it is actually usually done by electricians here but you usually won't be without power for more than a few hours which is a good reason for using an electrician here.
 
  #12  
Old 01-11-17, 06:36 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,853
Received 114 Votes on 101 Posts
I thought so too, but when I called today the lady was fairly unhelpful.
She told me I need to call an electrician that has a current thingy that can measure the incoming service. Maybe she was new, or just a nasty B, but after arguing with her for about 10 minutes on this topic I gave up...
I've worked with a number of different power companies and coops and have found that none of them really care what your service size is and only care about your load. It is always the customer's responsibility to inform the utility when the load is going to be increased otherwise the customer could be responsible for replacement or repair of the utility's equipment. Typically the utility will size their transformer and service drop to your load.
 
  #13  
Old 01-12-17, 04:39 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 127
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
Interesting info, thank you all for your knowledge and experience.
My original plan was to replace the 125A fuse panel with a 125A breaker panel.
I will put a sub panel in the garage, and install some outlets there as well.
Currently the garage has one outlet, and a light bulb.
Since I work in the garage more than anywhere else, I need a few outlets and more light.
I should be nowhere near taxing the system, the 125A should be sufficient, I just wanted to make sure that is what was actually available by calling, but...
 
  #14  
Old 01-12-17, 06:58 AM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
Your fuse panel should have a pair of main fuses, probably in a carrier that has a handle and pulls out of the panel assembly. The ratings on these (cartridge) fuses is the rating of your service as long as they are not rated at more than the panel's rating of 125 amperes.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: