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Old 08-28-2008, 01:36 PM   #16
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


Also, can I cut the seal on the meter and take a look at the connections inside? Is this legal, what will the POCO do if I do this?

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Old 08-28-2008, 02:12 PM   #17
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


Philip, if your panel is already rated for 200 amp, as well as your service cable and meter then it may be as simple as replacing your main breaker with a 200 amp breaker but I can't imagine why anyone would have put in essentially 200 amp service and only a 100 amp breaker. You can just add a subpanel for additional circuits.

Are you sure your main breaker is 100 amp? The more you describe it the more it sounds like you already have 200 amp service. Do you really have fuses or do you have breakers? Every breaker I've seen has the amp rating clearly marked it. You should be able to determine your main breaker rating in about 2 seconds.

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Old 08-28-2008, 02:32 PM   #18
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Philip, if your panel is already rated for 200 amp, as well as your service cable and meter then it may be as simple as replacing your main breaker with a 200 amp breaker but I can't imagine why anyone would have put in essentially 200 amp service and only a 100 amp breaker. You can just add a subpanel for additional circuits.

Are you sure your main breaker is 100 amp? The more you describe it the more it sounds like you already have 200 amp service. Do you really have fuses or do you have breakers? Every breaker I've seen has the amp rating clearly marked it. You should be able to determine your main breaker rating in about 2 seconds.
Ok, I have 20 breakers and 2 fuses where the 4/0 AL attaches to the lugs. Fuses are red but I have not looked at their rating yet since I have to pull the power for the house to get a look. I would love to be able to pull a subpanel into the spa instead of getting a new main panel and still having to probably pull a sub-box into there.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:45 PM   #19
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


Actually this brings up a question...is the difference between a 200A service and 100A service just essentially the type of main fuses installed? (lets assume we are not worried about the meter, wire Ga or anything else that cant support 200A). I mean does the POCO actually increase the Amp output to my house or is the actual rating dependent on the Amps my wires can handle, the fuses installed and proper ground? SO if I try to pull 150A worth of load on a 100A rated line, the fuses will blow and thats it (the wires will get hot too)...but you get the jist of my question...thanks
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:50 PM   #20
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Actually this brings up a question...is the difference between a 200A service and 100A service just essentially the type of main fuses installed? (lets assume we are not worried about the meter, wire Ga or anything else that cant support 200A). I mean does the POCO actually increase the Amp output to my house or is the actual rating dependent on the Amps my wires can handle, the fuses installed and proper ground? SO if I try to pull 150A worth of load on a 100A rated line, the fuses will blow and thats it (the wires will get hot too)...but you get the jist of my question...thanks
Everything would need to be rated for 200 amps including the underground feed from the POCO. When I switched from 100A to 200Amp I needed to upgrade all the way to the weatherhead (overhead service) but the POCO used their existing lines because they met their requirements. That may or may not be the case for your underground feed. The POCO should be able to tell you that.
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Old 08-28-2008, 02:51 PM   #21
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Also, can I cut the seal on the meter and take a look at the connections inside? Is this legal, what will the POCO do if I do this?
I have seen many a cut tag on a meter as I live in a suburb where it didn't really matter unless there was concern of stealing. If so, the poco would place a steel strapped lock on it, not just a tag. I have pulled my own meter as well and know exactly how the inside looks. My entire neighborhood had meters replaced from analog to digital a few years ago and the techs didn't bother with tags. You may also realize in my seperate meter box situation, pulling the meter disconnects the panel.

My (non-formal) understanding is as long as you are not stealing electric, they would not have a case to prosecute you for that.

By the way, the poco doen't follow the NEC so what gauge feeders supply your house is up to the poco rules, not the NEC.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:22 PM   #22
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Right, itís a blue plastic tag with a wire running through both sides of it that essentially locks the meter. I need to remove it to look inside and see what gauge feeds go to it, I mean I already have 4/0 from meter to box, *can the wire guage be less in the drop from the conduit to the meter?* I hope not, and if not, then I donít really need to look inside the meter unless I have to swap the box and disconnect the power to the box that way. So if I were to cut that tag I dont want to get into trouble.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:23 PM   #23
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I would not cut the POCO's seal without their permission. You can get a real a$$ chewing for messing with their stuff, good intentions or not. It depends on the POCO. Some are more lenient than others.
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Old 08-28-2008, 05:28 PM   #24
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I would not cut the POCO's seal without their permission. You can get a real a$$ chewing for messing with their stuff, good intentions or not. It depends on the POCO. Some are more lenient than others.
Right, just read on their site that they will prosecute for tampering and try to levy fines and whatnot because they are affraid that I cut the tag earlier and been stealin power, so not gonna do it.

Also it says that they will gladly cut the power upon request and reinstate on the same day for $20.
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Old 08-28-2008, 06:20 PM   #25
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


Do not cut the seal on the meter. Do not pull the meter yourself. This can be very dangerous.

Can you take a picture of the panel and post it? Also, take a picture of the meter box.

In my area all underground services installed over the last 25 years have been required to have 200A meter boxes. The meter itself will handle the 200 amps. The power companies only concern would be whether their transformer and wires will handle the 200 amp. Most likely they will. If so they will change nothing on their end. The power company does not increase the power to your house. The demand on your end determines how much power is pulled from the power company. If you pull to much, your main breaker or fuses will open. If they don't, the power companies fuse on the primary of the transformer will open. These devices protect the wires and the equipment connected.

The main circuit breaker or fuses determines the capacity of the service. They are sized for the wires and equipment they are protecting. 4/0 aluminum wire is large enough for 200 amps. The grounding wire running to the ground rods needs to be a #6 copper wire.

You are getting quite a bit of confusing information on this thread. You will need to sort it out as to what you actually need to know. This is a do-able project as you have explained it so far. Posting some pictures would be very helpful. The meter can and the panel with the fuses and lugs.
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Old 08-28-2008, 07:27 PM   #26
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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I would not cut the POCO's seal without their permission. You can get a real a$$ chewing for messing with their stuff, good intentions or not. It depends on the POCO. Some are more lenient than others.
My REA cooperative says they can levy up to $1,000 fine for cutting one of their seals.

Good reason to just pay the $20, sounds like a deal to me. While they have the meter out, have them check the lugs. When we removed the meter box and associated weatherhead equipment from my project home, the electrician said I was not too far away from a house fire--the jaws on the meter box where the lugs from the meter insert showed evidence of arcing and looked pretty bad. The service was at least 40 years old, most likely more--the house is a century old, who knows what was done when???

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Old 08-28-2008, 08:06 PM   #27
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


Hi, the two fuses inside the disconnect say 150A. So what do I do now? Do I just swap the fuses and notify the POCO/inspector?
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:18 PM   #28
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


I wouldn't change the fuses yet. Contact the POCO and have them verify their end of the system is rated for 200A...the meter, enclosure, their undrgrnd wires, etc.
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:37 AM   #29
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Hi, the two fuses inside the disconnect say 150A. So what do I do now? Do I just swap the fuses and notify the POCO/inspector?
I am getting confused. Why would you want to change the fuses? I thought you wanted to swap the panel for a 200 amp 40 space new panel.

The meter enclosure looks like a 200 amp can from here.

Can you find a label in the panel giving the rating of the existing panel? What is the brand of your existing panel? At this point I am leaning toward recommending installing a 100 amp sub panel to your existing panel.
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:35 AM   #30
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


John, I agree, I would like to install a subpanel instead, the extra power is going to the laundry/bathroom area anyways. I do not see anythything with a name or a rating in the box, except a black stamp that reads : Rated 101 - 200A. Also I have two red fuses in the lug disconnect part and they read 150A.

So how would I facilitate the switch to 200A? (can I draw 225A from the 4/0 AL or is it stretching it?). I can run a sub no problem, but not sure how to handle the increase in the line Amperage through the POCO. I already have all pertinent permits and can call a county inspector anytime. thanks in advance.

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