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Old 05-15-2008, 08:24 AM   #1
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2 family conversion panel help


Hello all...

I am currenly waist deep conveting my once single family from the two family it became back to a single family!!!

At some point in its life, the staircase to the second floor was closed up in a wall. Well not any more, the stair case is open and in use again.

My problem is that the house was chopped up into two services for the electric. I have two 100amp breaker style boxes and two meters.

I have been told by the city(RI) that I have to elimniate a meter and put everything in one box! Is this true???

If it is true, I would assume that I could have the electrican put in a 200 amp service where my two 100 amp services are with little effort??

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Old 05-15-2008, 09:38 AM   #2
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2 family conversion panel help


No im not looking for some yo-yo to jimmy rig my house. I want to set it up right.

My question is about the services.

Seeing that the house already has two 100 amp services, I figure that I should be able to have an electrician just take out my two 100 amp services and install one 200 amp service? And change out the two meters to one meter.

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Old 05-15-2008, 10:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joba Fett View Post
That is the city rule.
What are you looking for, some yo-yo to tell you the city ordinance does not apply. sssshhhhhh.
Joba, it sure is easy to be a critic, which you are good at. This is a DIY site where people come for advice and assistance, not a forum for pro's that have all the answers. A productive, friendly post would help this guy out a lot more.

Dynamic...
The city wants you to have one panel because, in the event of an emergency, you, a future owner or tenant, or the fire department may need to disconnect power to the house. The hazard in having two separate services is that when someone kills the main breaker on a single family residence, they have the right to assume that every circuit in the building is dead....Whereas in your house only half of the circuits would be dead.

Perhaps there is a way that you could put a main breaker outside at the meters, set one service, and utilize each panel as a sub-panel. Pretty easy to do in most cases, unless the meters are on separate sides of the house.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:51 AM   #4
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thekctermite, that makes perfect sense. My boxes are side by side labeled 1st floor and 2nd floor. So in the event of an emergency I would suspect they (emergency personal) would simply turn off both boxes.

I live in the city, so I am not so sure about an outside main breaker. Unless they are protected from local kids. If this set-up could be put inside next to the existing boxes I would be fine with that.

But my original question remains unanswered!!

Is my house wired from the pole as 200amp? I have two meters, and two 100amp breaker boxes. All fed from the same pole and set of wires. Seeing that I have two 100 amp boxes is it safe to assume that my service from the pole is already set up for a single 200 amp service?
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:26 AM   #5
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That comes down to service wire size (at the line and at the drop down to the meters, as well as the service cables to the panels). Your meter cans are likely 100 amp cans, so you'd have to go to a 200. I'm assuming you have 100 amp main breakers in the 100 amp panels, which leads me to believe that the service entrance cables to those panels are probably sized for 100 amps, not 200. Only a qualified electrician can tell you that for sure, and they'd need to be looking at it to do so. But, they may not need to be sized for 200...Stick with me...

What I'm suggesting would require a main disconnect at some location near the meter. I don't know of any reason why that 200 amp main disconnect couldn't be located inside the house in a code-legal (no clothes closets, baths) accessible location. Then, the 100 amp "sub-panels" branch off of it from 100 amp breakers in the main panel, so your existing service cables become feeders instead of service cables. You'd have to run new ground wires to the water line and a driven rod from the main breaker.

I strongly suggest that you involve an electrician, but this may be easier to accomplish than it sounds. Just like everything else, it takes $$$.
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:09 AM   #6
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so the assumption is that i have two seperate feeds from the pole to my two seperate 100amp meters?

Does each meter required seperate feeds from the pole?

How many feed wires should I have from the pole to the house?
Per meter?

My questions are simply for my personal knowledge for when I do call in electrician. I have no intention on tackling this on my own, I just want to have an idea on what is going on. And possibly offer input to the electrician.
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:09 AM   #7
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Each meter can has three wires landed in it. The utility company could have done anything on their portion of the gear though.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:48 AM   #8
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It's possible the "city" would "like to see" ONE METER and one service (either 100a or 200a) for the entire dwelling, but in all liklihood, they're trying to use nonexistant electrical codes to prevent you from utilizing the existing setup in order to help THEM enforce occupancy codes - IE: making it that much harder to convert the building back into 2 family.

Many years ago we regularily added a second meter and 100a panel to existing homes because the addition of a pool or hot tub or new kitchen would have required the complete replacement and upgrading of the home's original service, and that cost was much greater than a simple 100a meter and 100a panel addition. This caused some feathers to ruffle in many a town hall, but the truth of the matter is that whether you have one meter or 10 meters, it all comprises ONE SERVICE to ONE BUILDING and there was nothing any building department could do about it.

I would look into (since your panels are grouped together, and I assume each contain a main) that you look into the possibility of letting sleeping dogs lie. Your installation of 1 service drop, 2 service entrances 2 meters and 2 panels is ELECTRICAL code compliant in a dwelling. Contact your building dept. to find out if there are really any WRITTEN CODES that prohibit this. I'm betting there aren't.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
It's possible the "city" would "like to see" ONE METER and one service (either 100a or 200a) for the entire dwelling, but in all liklihood, they're trying to use nonexistant electrical codes to prevent you from utilizing the existing setup in order to help THEM enforce occupancy codes - IE: making it that much harder to convert the building back into 2 family.

I would look into (since your panels are grouped together, and I assume each contain a main) that you look into the possibility of letting sleeping dogs lie. Your installation of 1 service drop, 2 service entrances 2 meters and 2 panels is ELECTRICAL code compliant in a dwelling. Contact your building dept. to find out if there are really any WRITTEN CODES that prohibit this. I'm betting there aren't.
This is very possibly true. You're well within your rights to ask for copies of code or ordinance-based justification for their requirement. I would strongly suggest putting that request in writing to the building official.
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:33 PM   #10
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I am not an electrician.
I hope I'm not speaking out of turn here.

Since my job for 13 years has involved marking underground electric lines, "from the pole to the meter". Also because, I look at power company records showing both buried and aerial lines day in, and day out to determine how many lines are feeding whatever.

Quote:
so the assumption is that i have two seperate feeds from the pole to my two seperate 100amp meters?

Does each meter required seperate feeds from the pole?

How many feed wires should I have from the pole to the house?
Per meter?
If you lived in my part of Md; I could pull the record for your street, and tell from the record exactly how many individual services (sets of cables) feeds your single family residence as well as every other building on the block. 999 times out of 1000 the answer would be a big resounding one set.

In short I don't think I've ever seen more than one service (one set of cables) feeding one single family structure; unless the building or buildings are actually two separate independent structures; like a duplex or row houses. Trust me the POCO doesn't wast cable; I've seen 1, to a dozen meters with only one single service line (one set of cables) feeding them.

It would take some special circumstance for the POCO to run more than one service to a single family structure; and the customer would likely pay the full cost of running that second service.

If both meters belong to the poco with two separate services lines; the power company would have a record for two separate accounts.

As far as removing, or replacing said meters, and panels the guys here can tell you all about that stuff.

T.

Last edited by TW Lucas; 05-17-2008 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynamic View Post
so the assumption is that i have two seperate feeds from the pole to my two seperate 100amp meters?

Does each meter required seperate feeds from the pole?

How many feed wires should I have from the pole to the house?
Per meter?

My questions are simply for my personal knowledge for when I do call in electrician. I have no intention on tackling this on my own, I just want to have an idea on what is going on. And possibly offer input to the electrician.
Dynamic not trying to be a smart alec but it will prob take a electrician 5 minutes on his own to see what going on. Talking with the electrician will actually slow him down as he should check it out his self. So rather than trying to explain your theory I suggest stand back and watch or better yet leave him alone so that he can get his work done. In our world time is money whether we are working or being polite and listening to a clueless homeowner you are being billed by the hour. (unless it is a bid job then the electrician is on a time line) PLEASE I am not calling you clueless NOR trying to show any disrespect to you in any way. Just being truthful with my experiences in this situation in the past.

Last edited by rong1; 05-18-2008 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:00 AM   #12
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2 family conversion panel help


dependant upon Code and City regs..heres what I would do as an electrcian . . .I havent a single picture to guide me so I am typing out loud

I see deleting one overhead mast from one of the services . . .using the remaining mast ( if of sufficient size ) to bring down new 200amp service
to meter panel and manual disconnect ( inside or out ) with dual lugs
and since this would be right next to one exisitng panel . . .hard pipe new conductors to the other panel

mark both 100 panels as sub's A & B . . .the City sould not have a problem with any number of proper sub-panels . .what wtih main disconnect at the meter

experience tells me that even if this scenario is viable for the Code and City . . .other miscellany will certainly be involved

get it straight from City..with CURRENT code sections quoted
. .and get a good selection of QAULIFIED BIDS


LOVE TO SEE SOME PICTURES OF WHAT YOU'VE GOT at present
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rong1 View Post
Dynamic not trying to be a smart alec but it will prob take a electrician 5 minutes on his own to see what going on. Talking with the electrician will actually slow him down as he should check it out his self. So rather than trying to explain your theory I suggest stand back and watch or better yet leave him alone so that he can get his work done. In our world time is money whether we are working or being polite and listening to a clueless homeowner you are being billed by the hour. (unless it is a bid job then the electrician is on a time line) PLEASE I am not calling you clueless NOR trying to show any disrespect to you in any way. Just being truthful with my experiences in this situation in the past.
No offense taken!! I have no intention on telling the electrician what to do. And once I do hire someone I will be completly out of his hair(nothing I hate more than someone telling me how to do something they have no clue about). I however dont want the electrician to look at me as a score. I have spoken to a few friends that have had panel work done, and every one I have talked to has been given the same price, sight unseen. Im sure that their is some base line, but the price should be based on what you look at. Not a starting figure!! If the code says one thing, and the electrician says it cant be done, I will know he is just trying to make a killing on me!! At the very least I would like to have some information as to what I have going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsmurf View Post
LOVE TO SEE SOME PICTURES OF WHAT YOU'VE GOT at present
I will try to take some pictures of my services from the pole, the meter stations, as well as my breaker boxes in the next couple days.
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Old 05-19-2008, 09:07 AM   #14
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Why not eliminate 1 meter can and it's service, set one panel up as the service panel, and make the 2nd panel a sub panel? 100 amps may be perfectly adequate for the single family home.
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Old 05-19-2008, 10:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynamic View Post
No offense taken!! I have no intention on telling the electrician what to do. And once I do hire someone I will be completly out of his hair(nothing I hate more than someone telling me how to do something they have no clue about). I however dont want the electrician to look at me as a score. I have spoken to a few friends that have had panel work done, and every one I have talked to has been given the same price, sight unseen. Im sure that their is some base line, but the price should be based on what you look at. Not a starting figure!! If the code says one thing, and the electrician says it cant be done, I will know he is just trying to make a killing on me!! At the very least I would like to have some information as to what I have going on.



I will try to take some pictures of my services from the pole, the meter stations, as well as my breaker boxes in the next couple days.

Were those sight unseen prices/quotes a firm price or guesstamate on what the cost was given to your friends? I agree with your concerns about that I would want them to SEE it. It probably be costly to do what you want but try to get more than one bid on the job. ALWAYS ask for references and follow though and call and find out was the price given the price billed , did they clean up there mess...did/does the job look professional and done in a timely manner. Also beware of being tempted to do the while you are here can you add..look at or otherwise something that is not included in the original bid. Most of those would be billed time and material and can rack up fast and can break the budget in a hurry. And always remember the lowest bidder is not always the cheapest..meaning if they do a hack job and refuse to correct it or your AHJ or POCO refuses to either pass the job or hook up your meter then you are screwed!!! Most contractors don't want a bad rep and do a decent job but there are those that just don't care.



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