How many amps is this panel? 150? 300?


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Old 03-05-18, 01:48 PM
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How many amps is this panel? 150? 300?

We purchased a 1940's house on the outskirts of Seattle WA about a decade ago. It has the usual number of outlets for a 40's house with some mild remodeling (barely enough). I've never noticed us tripping breakers so I don't think we are overloaded as far as use. Our gas and electric bill is rarely more than $110/month. Electric stove, gas cook top, gas hot water and forced air heat. I am wanting to add a central vacuum unit but will need a circuit for the vacuum and some new outlets near the two or three vacuum outlets to run the powerhead. I went to look at the panel to see if there was any space in it and not only is it full, it looks like we are maxed out at 150 amps at 240 volts? The drop from the street is way too low due to landscaping and deck changes over the years, so we really need a new masthead. I am thinking a new mast and a 200 amp panel. But not sure what we even have right now. Does this panel make sense or does it look like someone stuck way too many 20 amp breakers into a 100 amp panel?
 
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Old 03-05-18, 02:04 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

What is the size of the main breaker at the top. That will tell you your panel amperage. That looks to be a 100A panel.

I see a 2P40 for the range and a 2P30 for the dryer. That combined with the other loads doesn't look excessive for a 100A service.

That is like a maxed out 16 circuit panel. A new 30-40 circuit panel would be nice. A 200A service would be nice too but not absolutely mandatory.

If you were all electric.... 200A would be a mandatory upgrade.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 02:46 PM
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Adding up the breaker ratings does not return a valid look at the true load on your system. At best is is a math exercise. The correct way is a demand load calculation.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 04:37 PM
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@pcboss I realize that total breaker ratings does not determine the rating of the panel. I was inquiring more about the size (number of slots) and the main breaker. I just took a much closer picture and the main breaker has "100" written on the tips of the switches. So it looks like it is a "100 amp" panel as far as the rating of the main breaker goes. "demand a load calculation" from who? The power company?

@ PJmax Thank you. It appears it is a 100 amp main breaker. I also realize the top left breaker says "open" so it may not even be in use. I'll have to remove the front panel to see if that is true. If so I think that would be fine for my vacuum circuit. My next concern is the 20 amp breakers. This is a 1940's house where the basement is completely finished in 2006 so it has all new wiring, but I am concerned that those 20 amp breakers should really have only 16 gauge or larger wiring attached. I may bump all of those down to 15 amps and see if we have any tripping. All of our lighting is LED, our computers are laptops, our TVs are all LCD, and we don't use space heaters, so I think we'd be OK. The guy that owned the house for 40 years before us rented it out for 30 of that (it was his first house). He did the renovation himself before selling it. He was some sort of engineer for Boeing, so he understood safety, but still managed to do a lot of WTF? type things like where he put light switches and outlets in the basement. I can see him using those 20 amp breakers just because he had a bunch of them (he owned at least three other rentals in the neighborhood).

I will probably have it all updated to a new 200 amp panel soon since it really needs a new mast. In the attached exterior picture the yard and deck were all done at a later time without regard to the height it added. It used to be a much lower yard with just steps going up to the back door so you couldn't easily touch the service drop. The breaker panel is directly below that meter in the basement so they could add a much taller mast, run it down to the current meter (which is a modern 200 amp model) and right down to the new panel below it.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 05:46 PM
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Old 03-05-18, 05:51 PM
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It's very hard to tell for sure what was done there. That service should never have even been connected with it below the soffit regardless of ground height. It looks like the service drop goes into the wall and into the meter. That will no longer be allowed.

Your new service will be completely on the outside of the house. You will definitely need to have a mast installed thru the roof to elevate the drop. I have no idea how you will get the new service back into the basement.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 06:10 PM
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You will need a new 200 amp meter socket (likely with a bypass handle, Be sure to check power companies requirements) A new mast, weather head, etc, outside.

Out of the bottom of the new meter you/they will run PVC down and then enter the basement using an LB. That will likely be into the joist space and then 90 down into the top of the panel. I would recommend installing a larger 100 amp panel with more spaces. If you want to go 200 amps all the wire will need to be replaced with larger wires for 200 amps.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 06:27 PM
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The floor can be seen in the picture. It looks like the LB would need to be partially below ground.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 06:38 PM
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You need a local qualified electrician to take a look. I see a 100 amp Bryant panel with what appears to be Siemens breakers in it, a code violation. I suspect some of those tandem breakers are also non-CTL breakers.
 
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Old 03-05-18, 06:45 PM
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I see a 100 amp Bryant panel with what appears to be Siemens breakers in it, a code violation
.
Don't forget a few Cutler hammer BR's for good measure.

The floor can be seen in the picture. It looks like the LB would need to be partially below ground.
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I think the deck is level with the floor. So the LB would be below the deck. I agree that this should be looked at by a pro. Redoing a service is an advanced DIY project.
 
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Old 03-06-18, 07:13 AM
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You also might want to look at moving the meter down toward the corner of the house. I expect the meter spotter might have a problem with placing the meter in the "door stop zone" of that outward swinging door. It might depend on whether that angled roof support stops the door swing, but with a new can with the glass meter will be 8-10 inches out from the wall.

Also in my area you would have to increase the height of the service drop so the drip loop is 10 feet over the deck. That puts the mast at ~5-6 feet above the roof line which is a pretty tall mast. There would need to be structural reinforcement or guy wires. Moving the drop closer to the corner or around the corner might reduce that height requirement somewhat.
 
 

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