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Old 05-27-2012, 01:32 AM   #31
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


If the power system is gonna be stretched to the limit,
And it might not be at the moment,but soon will be,
Especially if more A.C's come on line,
200a service, 12 units, so thats 16.6 amp a unit.
Put a 15 amp main breaker on each unit.
If the tenants are wise in there use of electricity,
then it will work, even a small A/C unit will work.
This is the safest way to ensure your protection
from possable legal liability down the track.
And this will protect the main supply system also.

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Old 05-27-2012, 07:12 AM   #32
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


The only way you can put off upgrading the service is to limit the use of air conditioners in your leases.

You may even want to contact an attorney to verify that giving more tenants permisison to have air conditioners does not un-grandfather your current electric service that would not meet current code especially with more air conditioners added to the load calculation.
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:45 AM   #33
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


Thanks, I'll likely grab one of these the next time I'm at HD.

Right now only one of the five a/c units from last year is in use, so demand is not that great yet.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:05 PM   #34
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
If the power system is gonna be stretched to the limit,
And it might not be at the moment,but soon will be,
Especially if more A.C's come on line,
200a service, 12 units, so thats 16.6 amp a unit.
Put a 15 amp main breaker on each unit.
If the tenants are wise in there use of electricity,
then it will work, even a small A/C unit will work.
This is the safest way to ensure your protection
from possable legal liability down the track.
And this will protect the main supply system also.
Well, Im still a bit confused, inasmuch as other posters have advised that my 200 amp service equals 400 amps @ 120V, or 33.3 amps per unit.

Tenants could likely get by with a single 15 amp breaker... until they wanted to use more than one of the following at the same time... hair dryer, iron, coffee-maker, toaster, toaster oven or microwave oven, all of which draw about 10 amps.

As noted in another post, these high-wattage appliances are typically used in the mornings (when air conditioners are least likely to be turned on) and historically morning usage has never exceeded 4.1 KWH (which I assume to be an average load of 4,100 watts over a one-hour period). If we assume that short-term spikes might result in a peak load of double that amount, were still only at 68 amps @120V.

A couple of posters have made the point that although I have gotten away with the existing infrastructure for the past fifteen years that loads are likely to increase in the future. A decade ago I would have accepted such a notion without question. Today, however, manufacturers face increasing pressure to produce goods which are energy-efficient. I note that most of the 32 TVs now on the market draw less than 1 amp and many smaller units draw only 25% of that. OLED TVs now coming on to the market are even more efficient than today's LED or LCD TVs. In the kitchen induction cooking is likely to become popular. In the case of some products we may see regulatory requirements mandating efficiency, and the Ontario government, for example, announced a few years ago that they would be prohibiting the sale of conventional incandescent light bulbs (although they have since backed away from that). In any case, with the exception of greater demand for air conditioners I expect that demands upon our electrical systems are as likely to decline as they are to increase.

In another post I stated that I had reduced consumption by 40% in the past few years. In fact, this reduction has occurred only in the past seven years (which is as far back as I can calculate given that prior to 2007 and did not record monthly consumption and cannot find the invoices from earlier years). But by 2007 I had already eliminated three stoves and replaced the old fridges and retrofitted some of the lighting. But while I do not have consumption data for the earlier years (I bought the building in 97) I do know how much I spent on electricity ($475 per month). I think that electricity rates have increased by at least 30% since then, while my monthly costs have decreased by 40%, so I am guessing that my average consumption has decreased by something closer to 55%... or about 52 KWH per day.

That's 2,166 watts per hour averaged over a 24-hour day. That's almost 19 amps of usage removed. (Of course, usage would have been much higher during peak times).
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:18 PM   #35
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
The only way you can put off upgrading the service is to limit the use of air conditioners in your leases.

You may even want to contact an attorney to verify that giving more tenants permisison to have air conditioners does not un-grandfather your current electric service that would not meet current code especially with more air conditioners added to the load calculation.
Except that I can reduce demand by eliminating three of the five remaining electric stoves. Last year I doubled the size of the gas line so I should have lots of capacity there. Given that the stoves are rated at 9KW and the a/c units at less than 0.6KW

Ive already eliminated about 4KW of lighting and could easily eliminate another 1KW. (Leases do not permit tenants to replace the bulbs in my fixtures).

As far as the potential for litigation, I assume so long as each individual circuit has the requisite overload protection in a worst-case scenario the breaker in the entrance panel will trip. (All of the panels and breakers are less than 15 years old, so I assume that the breakers would function as designed and that a fire would not result). For what its worth, when I was contemplating upgrading to 400 amps the electric utility sent an engineer to visit me at the property to discuss the viability of the upgrade. He expressed no great concern about the existing system (although he did not do a load calculation). It occurs to me that if he had perceived a significant risk he would have demanded a proper calculation. Given that he did not demand a load calculation his tacit approval of the status quo would surely bring the utility into the line of fire in the case of litigation. And I expect that the utility would not permit its employees exposing it to litigation.
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Old 05-27-2012, 02:58 PM   #36
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


At this point, it seems you are set. I would be interested to know your amp usage, though.
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:36 PM   #37
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


The purpose of the attorney is not to look for possible litigation but instead to verify that you would not be creating an illegal situation (from changing the load calculation parameters) that might need immediate correction.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:07 PM   #38
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


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At this point, it seems you are set. I would be interested to know your amp usage, though.
Me too, and I will be getting one of those meters.

Right now, however, we are at what is arguably our "low season", inasmuch as the longer days means that there is less use of lighting, but it is not yet warm enough for tenants to be using their air conditioners.

July will tell the tale....
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:09 PM   #39
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


What voltage is your current main supply,
Is it 200 amps at 120v or 220v ???
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:05 AM   #40
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


Quote:
Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
What voltage is your current main supply,
Is it 200 amps at 120v or 220v ???
Oh my... just when I thought I had it figured out

It was my understanding... based upon the opinions of those who have contributed to this thread... that it is 200 amps @ 240V.
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Old 05-28-2012, 05:13 PM   #41
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
What voltage is your current main supply,
Is it 200 amps at 120v or 220v ???
Further to my post above, the meter says 200 Amp - 240V.

I also learned that it is a single-phase meter.

I don't know much about this stuff, but someone told me that if I wanted to upgrade to 400 amp there needed to be 3-phase available, and the the infrastructure on the (residential) street might or might not be 3-phase.

Given that I have a single-phase meter shall I assume that the street has not been upgraded to 3-phase?
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:55 PM   #42
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


It is possible to have 3 phase service on the street while all except the largest users of electricity have single phase service.

Look up at the tops of the utility poles. If there are three seemingly equal wires, either on a crossbar or in a group with Christian cross like spaces holding them together, then there is 3 phase power. Three pole transformers, typically all on the same pole or on 3 consecutive poles, are needed to deliver 3 phase power to a user.

Occasionally two of the 3 lines providing 3 phase power go down a particular street. In that instance all of the users on that street are single phase whether the pole transformers are connected from phase to ground or connected between the two phases.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-28-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:55 PM   #43
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
It is possible to have 3 phase service on the street while all except the largest users of electricity have single phase service.
Thanks

Alas, unfortunately I AM the largest user on the street.

This is an old street (my building dates from 1910) and aside from my property the others were all built as single-family.

The next time I visit I will check out the poles.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:35 PM   #44
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


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Originally Posted by apartment_guy View Post
Thanks

Alas, unfortunately I AM the largest user on the street.

This is an old street (my building dates from 1910) and aside from my property the others were all built as single-family.

The next time I visit I will check out the poles.
Also if possible if you can take a photo of that post which you have service drop attached to that post we can able indentify if single phase or triphase secondary conductors there.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:59 PM   #45
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Concerns re overloading 200 amp service in a 12-unit multi-family


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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
Also if possible if you can take a photo of that post which you have service drop attached to that post we can able indentify if single phase or triphase secondary conductors there.

Merci,
Marc
Will do.

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