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Old 06-01-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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50+ year old Apt building


I live in an apartment building that was built around 1960 it has a single electrical panel for my apt which has two circuits breakers and currently I am doing the power on/off discovery method to see what i can have on at the same time and not blow the circuit breaker for example if I try to run the air conditioner(window unit that plugs into the wall), the tv, and I turn the microwave on the circuit blows. Some different combinations work some don't I just have to try and find out.

My question is this. Is it possible to replace the circuit panel with one with more breakers say 4 or 6 and not have to worry about blowing circuits when I turn something on.

I do not know the correct terms but Ill give it a shot.

Say my apt has power that is 100 thingies
two circuits 50 thingies each
if some combo of items consume more than 50 thingies the circuit blows
but if I have 4 circuits at 25 thingies each
i could then
have combo that goes to 25 on all things which would mean more items plugged in and consuming more power than before but no circuits would blow because of the distribution.

right now when I turn on an extra device I blow the 50 thingy limit but not the 100 total for the apt but if distributed more efficiently I could get closer to the 100 limit of the apt and still not exceed the 25 limit of each circuit.

In theory currently I may be using 70 to 80 of the 100 thingies for the apt when circuits start to blow but with better distribution I could get to 90 to 95 use of the 100 thingies without blowing circuits.

Is this correct? If so what does it cost to get this type of work done?

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Old 06-01-2012, 12:46 PM   #2
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50+ year old Apt building


The first question to answer is if this is a rental or an apartment that you own?

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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:53 PM   #3
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50+ year old Apt building


I am renting but if it is not to cost prohibitive I do have the landlords permission to do some work at mt expense. Just need to determine if it cost prohibitive and also learn if my thinking is correct on how it actually works.
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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50+ year old Apt building


also are my quote "thingies" amps?
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:04 PM   #5
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50+ year old Apt building


I have never seen the back side of this panel but I can't imagine there is a sigle power line that some how gets split of to the different locations else where. I would think that maybe each room has separate wiring that come into the panel or it may even be dow to a lower level than that but I do not know what the logic maybe it is all north and east wall sockets on one circuit and south and west on another that way each room can be split up I just do not know.

Assuming lights are equally balanced on the circuits for each room ( not sure guessing here)

but if my N E and S W breakdown is correct I could theoretically split it by EACH of the facing walls all E on one, N on another, W on another, S on another amongst four circuits on a new panel.

HEY THAT WOULD WORK ....lol so now am I an electrician.....
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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50+ year old Apt building


Quote:
Originally Posted by jjanes View Post
....lol so now am I an electrician.....
Um, no, not really.

I'm no expert, but I would be seriously surprised if you were legally able to do any work here.
The experts will correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding is a homeowner is usually allowed to work on their own home, but you can't work on someone else's home (or rental!) unless you are a licensed electrician. Do you really want the responsibility of possibly burning the place down?
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blondesense View Post
Um, no, not really.

I'm no expert, but I would be seriously surprised if you were legally able to do any work here.
The experts will correct me if I'm wrong but my understanding is a homeowner is usually allowed to work on their own home, but you can't work on someone else's home (or rental!) unless you are a licensed electrician. Do you really want the responsibility of possibly burning the place down?

believe me I would not do the work just wondering about the possibility of getting it fixed by an electrician first, then the cost, then my logic
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:03 PM   #8
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50+ year old Apt building


You need to take pictures of your panel, especially if the handles are marked 50.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:12 PM   #9
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50+ year old Apt building


Quote:
Originally Posted by Techy View Post
You need to take pictures of your panel, especially if the handles are marked 50.
The 50 i refer to was only stated as an example to test if my thought process on how it works is correct not actual numbers I just want to see if how I thought it worked.

I do not know what logic is used to connect the lines to the power panel is it by room ( I do not think so), by wall socket, by amperage, etc I was using fifty because it was easy to simulate my numbers
ie 2 50's equals 100 two circuits
4 25's equals 100 four possible circuits
could have used 5 20s as well for five possible circuits

they do not represent actuals by any means
just used for my example
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Old 06-01-2012, 07:38 PM   #10
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50+ year old Apt building


First thing an electrition is going to ask you if for the owner of the buildings name and phone number.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:47 PM   #11
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50+ year old Apt building


electrical is just my hobby, so i cant tell you how to do this project any better than the electricans who have already written here

but i am a finance guy/CPA/MBA by profession and I do know alot about return on investment. this leasehold improvement (the financial technical term) is the landlords property when you move out. it will almost certainly cost a four figure amount to do this work.

so, the only way this investment is worth it is:
1. this is an amazing below market rental that otherwise meets your needs [ie rent controlled apt in NYC]
2. the place is awesome and is otherwise perfect and you plan to stay there a bazillion years.

if however the project costs $1,800 [just a hypothetical not an estimate] and you stay there 18 months you are paying $100 per month for the convenience of not turning off your A/C when you cook with your microwave or use a hair dryer.

what im saying in a nice way is that unless 1 or 2 above is true or another compelling reason is suggested i dont think you should do this

Last edited by kevinp22; 06-01-2012 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:10 AM   #12
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50+ year old Apt building


I thank everyone for their responses and the likelihood of doing this probably nil but more importantly i was wondering how it actually is done. I have presented a VERY vague scenario in previous posts and thoughts on how I think it is done and what i was really looking for how it is actually done...

how is it determined what circuit handles which lights and outlets etc.
what does the wiring most likely look like does each fixture and outlet come to the panel or are they grouped.
How many circuits.

I know I did ask these questions specifically but that was because i did want anyone to think i was going to try this myself...guess that backfired.

I just wanted to get some information for my own sake

Thanks again everyone but if I could get some background info that is what I am really looking for.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:25 AM   #13
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50+ year old Apt building


Breaking up the circuitry in hopes of reducing the load on the breakers requires additional wiring to be run from the point of the break back to the panel. That's a lot of work.

That your landlord said it's okay for you to do the work as long as you pay for it tells me your landlord is a cheapskate. And if you actually did take on this task and screwed it up, I'm sure your landlord would have no problem suing you for any damage caused by your handiwork, especially if you did it without permit or inspection.

Find another apartment.

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