Electrical/Breaker Panel

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Old 03-07-17, 09:13 AM
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Electrical/Breaker Panel

I need to replace my breaker panel because the center strip that the breakers snap into is burned.

How can I tell what amp panel this is?
I have 8 slots on each side for a total of 16 slots.
I have two double breakers in there that is a double 20 amp breaker which I am assuming is a 40 amp breaker.
I have 14 single 20 amp breakers.
There are no available slots for more breakers.

I just assumed this is a 100 panel, now I am not so sure. is there a way for me to look at it & tell?


Second question:

The current brand of panel is one that Seiman has bought out & is no longer in business. So, with the recent problems, I have replaced a couple of breakers & eventually decided to replace them all. So, now I have 14 new Seiman breakers. Therefore, I want to stay with a Seiman brand panel so I dont have to re-buy all new breakers.
So, my question is:
Is Seiman a brand that you would trust & buy for replacement under this situation?
 
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Old 03-07-17, 10:37 AM
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There should be a label on the door or inside the panel with the capacity of the panel on it,have never had a problem with Siemens equipment, post a pic of the panel.
Geo
 
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Old 03-07-17, 12:36 PM
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A double 20 is a two pole breaker. It's usually used for a 240v circuit and it is still 20A.

A 16 slot panel will usually be a 100A panel.
 
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Old 03-07-17, 06:05 PM
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Is Seiman a brand that you would trust & buy for replacement under this situation?
Siemens is my go to brand. They carry ones with aluminum and copper buses. Of course copper is better. I have seen some lower priced Siemens panels with a neutral bar only on one side of the panel. Dumbest thing ever!
 
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Old 03-07-17, 06:54 PM
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All this is good info. Thanks I appreciate it. I am in Dallas, TX tonight so I wont be able to post a pic, sorry, but I will check to see if there is a label in or on the panel somewhere tomorrow.

I have a longtime electrical company coming Wednesday or Thursday, to give me a quote on replacing it.
 
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Old 03-08-17, 11:11 AM
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It doesn't much matter what the rating of the existing panel is as whatever you install needs to be sized to your needs and usage. You should look at the breaker for the feed to this panel. Assuming that it is not oversized it will tell you what the minimum is that the new panel needs to handle. Also check that the wire size can support the breaker size.
 
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Old 03-09-17, 01:22 PM
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Well the guy came out today, seemed well informed & confident without being cocky. Answered my questions like I was a layman & didn't try to make me feel stupid.... like I should already know. He gave me some good advise & educated me where I needed to be educated on my specific situation.

He volunteered that this is a 100 amp panel during our conversations, & that he wanted to upgrade this to a 200 amp panel & increase the panel from a 16 slot panel to around 20 slots. I agreed & was something I was going to bring up that I wanted. I let him know that because I had already bought all new breakers that I wanted to have him install a Siemans panel & he was perfectly ok with that.

He will turn in the quote & notes to his boss & discuss it with him & his boss will call me tomorrow with a quote on the work. I asked him for a basic idea of the cost & he said if they furnish the panel, its going to be around $600 to complete the work. He said he figured about 3 - 4 hours to removed & replace a new breaker panel with 2 doubles & 14 singles, etc.
Sound right to you guys?

He also looked at the meter & a extra box that comes out of the meter base that was added in 2001 for my shop. At the time, this was within code & is now grandfathered in as long as the electric company doesn't have to come out & change the old meter etc. But if they have to come out & do any work, its all going to have to be changed per code & will be pretty expensive. However, because of my issue, he is classifying it as an immediate need, so, as a licenced electrician, he can cut the seal, pull the meter, install a new panel, replace the meter & put the cut seal back on all without a permit. He is going to confirm this (specific situation) with his boss during the meeting, but it is something they do on a regular basis in situations like mine.
He will provide me with a work order that confirms it was an immediate need & the work completed by a licenced electrical company that I can show the electric company should they come by & have questions etc.
This is Louisiana. You guys agree this is correct info?
 
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Old 03-09-17, 02:22 PM
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I don't agree with the 20 space panel if going to a 200A panel, should get a 40 space. Doesn't the service need to be increased to 200A?
 
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Old 03-09-17, 03:22 PM
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Just to clarify......

I'm only interested in increasing the number of spaces in case I decide to add another circuit/breaker later on.
Also, in the case I am in now, where I have a burned spot on the buss, if I had an extra space available, I could just move that breaker down to an empty space & not have the existing breaker on a burned place on the bus.

I dont NEED more space but I am just opting for extra spaces for the future in case I need an extra space or two for any reason.
 
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Old 03-09-17, 05:00 PM
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Something doesn't add up,an up grade to 200 amps with existing cable,is he planning on feeding that panel with a 100 amp breaker? If so that breaker would have to be secured and not just stabbed onto the buss,if you have 2 2pole breakers (4 spaces) and 14 single pole that's a total of 18 spaces.

Geo
 
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Old 03-09-17, 09:21 PM
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New indoor panel will be close to full if it is only 20 spaces. I would ask for at least 24 spaces. Note that a 200 amp "sub" panel can use a 200 amp main breaker as a disconnect. Then the meter main panel outside has the 100 amp breaker providing over-current protection. Did anyone do a load calculation to see what size panel you need?

The replace outside sounds more like a scare tactic.

Pictures would help show us what is going on.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 04:42 AM
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Get a second quote,maybe replace the whole service with a 200 amp and refeed your shop from the new 30 circuit panel,post some pics of the outside.
Geo
 
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Old 03-10-17, 04:51 AM
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The replace outside sounds more like a scare tactic.
I understand your point but he is actually trying to make sure it doesnt happen, rather than trying to get me to allow more work on his part. He wants to try to get this done without a permit so the equipment outside wont have to be updated per current code. If he can do this without a permit, legally, the equipment outside will continue to allow the equipment to be grandfathered in & will save me money.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 05:44 AM
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Adding a sub-panel and abandoning the burned bus would be much less expensive, especially if you just need breaker spaces and not additional capacity.
 

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Old 03-10-17, 06:21 AM
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I gotta replace the panel. The bus is bad & needs replacing. We are just having too many issues with this one. Its got to be replaced.
So while doing so, I think its best to just replace with a larger panel with more spaces & that will put us ahead of the game should we need the extra spaces in the future. I mean, with the current 16 spaces, its maxed out. It just makes sense to get a little larger panel while we got to replace it anyway.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 06:34 AM
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Since you said your breaker box was already full, I'm assuming you made the split at the meter in 2001 because you were trying to avoid replacing the breaker box.

If I'm understanding this right you have a service going to the meter which then splits after the meter; one end goes to the house and the other end to the shop.

If everything is up to code your service line has to be rated for house + shop. Probably 200amps~ (since your house is already rated to 100amps).

If I were you I would replace the breaker panel with the biggest 200amp~ (or whatever the service line will accept) panel. It's easier to put a big breaker box now than it is to try and put another one in the future. Then run your shop in to the breaker box.

This way you don't have the mess associated with the meter. The cost difference should be nominal.. maybe an extension of the shop line (depending on the location of the breaker panel to the meter) and some conduit.

If you really want to save some $$; have him disconnect the shop from the meter and set your breaker panel up. Then you can come in afterwards and tie the shop in to your new breaker panel.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 09:35 AM
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We are all still guessing as to how your electric service is configured. What you describe doesn't sound like it was ever within code.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 03:17 PM
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Ok, finally got a picture that was small enough to attach.

As you can see in the fore ground the meter base on the outside wall of the house. Obviously the panel for the house is directly behind the meter base inside the utility room.
Coming out of the meter to the left side is a PVC pipe with wiring into a sub panel with a double breaker in it. Then a PVC pipe with wiring comes out of the bottom, goes into the ground & goes to the shop you see in the background. If you notice on the left side wall of the shop, just behind the orange Husqvarna lawn mower, there is a PVC pipe that comes out of the ground, up the wall & goes through the wall to a breaker panel inside the shop with (off hand) about 10 single breakers & 2 double breakers for two (one each) 220 service outlets.

The house was built in the early 70's & I am assuming the meter base is the original.

The wiring, PVC & the sub panel for the shop was (absolutely certain & without a doubt whatsoever) installed to code in 2001.
Why am I so certain? Because I wired the shop, run, laid & buried the PVC pipe with the wiring in it from the breaker panel in the shop, to the sub panel, up to (but not into) the meter. I called the power company (Entergy) & they sent a guy out to pull the meter so I could get service from the meter to the shop. When the Entergy guy showed up, before we ever started, I asked that he look at everything from the shop wiring, breaker panel in the shop, back to the sub panel. After his inspection he said everything was correct. He pulled the meter & I told him I wasn't sure how to wire it into the meter since I had not been instructed on that from the prior instruction when wiring the shop. His exact words were; "I can tell you how, but I cant physically do it." He explained & watched me connect everything from the sub panel to the meter & made certain it was correct. Once done, he reconnected the meter, closed the lid, we threw the main breaker in the sub panel, checked the shop breaker panel, checked lights & a couple of outlets. He put a new seal on the meter base & he left. Its been like that for 16 years & Entergy hasn't shut the power off, sent me a letter or given any notifications of any sorts that the project is in violation of any code. I'm not certain how often Entergy &/or its contractors come around to read the meter but I am certain they have been here within the last year & several times prior since 2001.
So, due to the above, I am certain, without a doubt, the project was installed to code as of 2001 & has been grandfathered in according to code since 2001. Again, this is in Louisiana if any codes are different from region to region. Although I could be wrong & welcome any input or advice that you know is incorrect & would make the project in violation of any code that I need to be aware of.

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Old 03-10-17, 04:01 PM
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The POCO's guy looking things over anything beyond the meter was for advice only. Did he put an inspection sticker on the new panel?

A meter reader also isn't a code inspector.

Can't be sure but that looks more like a 150 or 200 amp meter base.

Do you remember when you connected to the meter base if you double tapped the lugs or was there two sets - one for inside and one for the shop?

No obvious violations - the wires to the outside panel might be undersized.

If your inside panel does not have a main disconnect then that is a violation.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 04:23 PM
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Do you remember when you connected to the meter base if you double tapped the lugs or was there two sets - one for inside and one for the shop?
I don't remember. However, I am sure if it wasn't right, the power company wouldn't have connected the power. I am assuming.


If your inside panel does not have a main disconnect then that is a violation.
The breaker panel in the house & in the shop both have main breakers at the top of the panel above the individual breakers.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 04:29 PM
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The electrical company called today with a quote.

If I buy the panel & provide it for them, the labor only is $600
If they buy & provide the 200 amp, 20 space panel with copper bus, the total will be $800.
They charge $127.50 per hour labor.

The last company I had doing electrical work for me charged me $90 per hour. But, after they did the separate jobs for me, I wasn't totally pleased. So, I move to the next one.

Is this new price too much, at the top, reasonable, or.... ???
 
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Old 03-10-17, 06:02 PM
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From what you have related it seems there are no state or parish code requirements you need to comply with, just the utility company requirements.

Unless the meter had dual output lugs (or the single lugs were listed for use with two conductors) the existing installation would not meet the national code. Then again, the national code is only advisory and only becomes a requirement when enacted into law by a legislative action. If your state or parish legislative body has NOT passed such legislation you can ignore the national code although I do NOT advocate this position.

The price quoted by your electric utility sounds VERY reasonable to me. I would prefer a panel with more spaces but that is a personal call.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 06:50 PM
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The breaker panel in the house & in the shop both have main breakers at the top of the panel above the individual breakers.
What is the size of the main breaker of the house panel? That would be the rating of the panel which was your initial question.

I assume that the wires from the meter to your new panel will be upsized to support 200 amp. Issue would only be if that is a 200 amp meter base and do the service wires feeding it support 200 amps.

When the guy comes back you should get the details of what code/violation that was grandfathered.

The pricing does seem reasonable.


Unless there is a physical space issue why not spend the extra $50 and get a panel bigger than 20 spaces?

And thanks for the picture as it helped the discussion.
 
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Old 03-23-17, 09:23 AM
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Well, I finally got the electricians around to the house after 2 weeks of excuses & issues. They call me this morning & say they are on the way. I go over everything we discussed to make sure we are still on the same page after two weeks. I asked (& they agreed) to get a Siemans panel with a copper buss. He tells me this morning that his supplier (apparently) didn't have a Siemans panel so they gave him a GE with a copper buss & said that would work with the new Siemans breakers I had already bought & put in the old panel. If it doesnt, they can return it for another brand.

So, my question is, is this going to work (short term or long term)? GE panel & Siemans breakers?
 
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Old 03-23-17, 11:28 AM
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my question is, is this going to work (short term or long term)? GE panel & Siemans breakers?
I don't think the GE panel is UL Listed to have Siemens breakers in it, but you can check the label inside the panel door to be sure.
 
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