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Old 08-24-2009, 08:02 PM   #1
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


I know for a service upgrade it MUST be done by a qualified electrician. Even some electricians I talked to said they were not qualified themselves to do it but could help me find someone. So this looks like it's serious business.

But say I don't want to upgrade the service and just want to add a bigger panel (that can support a higher service, for future) is this something I could do on my own? I have a 100 amp fuse cut off switch, so I could probably even put a 200 amp panel but it would still be capped at 100 amps due to the fuse. Though of course if I could get a 100 amp breaker for the main I'd probably do that to be safe.

Is this something I could do myself? I'm low on money right now so I was thinking this may be the best way for me to get more breaker space in next few months or so. My current panel is full and I've been doing things that are probably frowned upon (adding two circuits to one using a jbox, stuff like that).

On the other hand the thought of having to rewire all that sounds like a huge task, so maybe it is worth to just wait it out then pay the 3-4k it would cost, and I'd get a service upgrade out of it.

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Old 08-24-2009, 08:19 PM   #2
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


Is the 100a fuse ahead of the panel?
IE shutting it off means everything is dead in the panel?

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Old 08-24-2009, 08:26 PM   #3
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Is the 100a fuse ahead of the panel?
IE shutting it off means everything is dead in the panel?
Yep.

Goes meter/entrance => bus fuse with cut off => breaker box.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


As for whether or not you can do it yourself....sure you can if you understand wiring a little better than a novice. Whether or not you can do it without being a licensed electrician is up to the local electrical code authority.

You can in many jurisdictions by taking out a homeowners permit and having it inspected when your done.

If you don't plan on doing that... then a main disconnect like you have will allow you to work on the panel replacement safely without pulling the meter.

If you are in the least bit uncomfortable with your abiliteis then you should get your work inspected by someone who is qualified to determine if what you have done is up to snuff.

Turning on a main breaker with a possible fault from incorrect wiring will not be your best day...
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #5
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
As for whether or not you can do it yourself....sure you can if you understand wiring a little better than a novice. Whether or not you can do it without being a licensed electrician is up to the local electrical code authority.

You can in many jurisdictions by taking out a homeowners permit and having it inspected when your done.

If you don't plan on doing that... then a main disconnect like you have will allow you to work on the panel replacement safely without pulling the meter.

If you are in the least bit uncomfortable with your abiliteis then you should get your work inspected by someone who is qualified to determine if what you have done is up to snuff.

Turning on a main breaker with a possible fault from incorrect wiring will not be your best day...
Sounds good. I would most likely get an electrician to check out my work, and also read up more on panels. I've already opened mine up and did a few minor changes and feel comfortable in there now.

And yeah, turning on that main for the first time would be a tad nerve racking experience. I'd tipple check everything that's for sure.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:54 PM   #6
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


When mine was replaced the new one was installed next to the old one
All runs would be able to be installed in the new panel without any junctions boxes
Power was cut to the new panel via a breaker on the old panel
Circuits were then moved over & checked one by one (or 3 by 3 etc)

A Genny kept some circuits going while Electrician & POCO did their thing
Once ready the new panel was activated w/new feed
Then the 240v runs were moved over

I'm guessing at some of this as I was not home when it was cut over
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:07 PM   #7
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Can I legaly change out my breaker panel?


Totally possible with the proper research and some professional guidance. Be smart and get the required electrical permit, which is usually a pretty inexpensive way to make sure that the work was done correctly.

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