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Old 08-29-2008, 07:01 PM   #31
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


If you look very carefully at the meter, on the left side about center it says 'CL200'. That means it's a class 200 meter, good for 200 amps. The next step down is class 100. The next step up is class 320.

That doesn't mean that the POCO feeders are 200 amp though. I do a considerable amount of traffic signal work, typically the main is 60 amp, the POCO feeds it with a #4 aluminum URD, and they install a class 200 meter.

The 4/0 aluminum between the meter and panel is indeed 200 amp wire. for the panel to be listed as an assembly, the bus rating must be at least as high as the largest fuse that can be installed in the main disconnect. That would be 200 amp. (110 amp through 200 amp fuses all have the same frame sizes).

What it comes down to is this; your system from the meter to and including the panel is very likely good for 200 amps. The POCO feeder might not be. I don't know about your area, but around here if you load a service that has the original main breaker (or fuses), and it burns the POCO equipment up, they'll fix it for free. If you modify the main, it's your nickel.

You might be able to call them and find out what they have on record as the service ampacity. If they think it's a 200 amp service, then I would have no problem replacing the 150's with 200's. If they think it's a 150, you still can change the fuses, but if their stuff burns up.......

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Old 08-30-2008, 01:49 AM   #32
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


Understood. I have to call them in anycase, just that when i called them last time they had no idea and said that they would have to schedule an 'appointment' to drop by for a tune of $200.

So from looking at the pictures and info i provided, is this a 150A service then?
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:28 AM   #33
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Originally Posted by Philip_Soldat View Post
Understood. I have to call them in anycase, just that when i called them last time they had no idea and said that they would have to schedule an 'appointment' to drop by for a tune of $200.

So from looking at the pictures and info i provided, is this a 150A service then?
Yes. Things on your end appear to be set for the maximum of 200 A. Having 150 A fuses in your main makes it a 150 A service currently. If everything on the utility end of it is rated 200 A, then you switching to 200 A fuses would make your service a 200.
Maybe you're asking yourself, 'why does it have 150 A fuses, and not 200, if it's capable of 200 A??' Just because wiring, equipment, etc. is rated for a maximum amount of current doesn't mean you have to have that much going through it. You can always have less.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:55 AM   #34
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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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.
For a sub panel you would install a new breaker in your main panel to feed the sub panel. Then install your new circuits in the sub panel along with the 2 you displace from the main panel to install the sub panel breaker. The sub panel can be installed next to the existing panel or in a new location.

You are not thinking correctly on your total amps. Adding up all the circuit breakers has nothing to do with the actual load on the service. And it's the actual load that counts. 150 amps is plenty for most houses unless they are "all electric" houses.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:54 PM   #35
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


If you get a chance, please take new pics of your panel with a higher resolution. I always like to examine the pics for anything out of the ordinary or out of code...

Also, did you already mention the manufacturer and model info for your existing panel? If not, that would be helpful.
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Old 08-30-2008, 04:30 PM   #36
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I agree ,if everyone can do it we wouldn`t be electricians, electricity is not like plumbing, were if a pipe breaks things get wet and replaced if needed ,If your house burns down while your family is in there ,well i think you know where i `am going ,you would never forgive your self and like if we do something wrong your insured
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:17 PM   #37
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For a sub panel you would install a new breaker in your main panel to feed the sub panel. Then install your new circuits in the sub panel along with the 2 you displace from the main panel to install the sub panel breaker. The sub panel can be installed next to the existing panel or in a new location.

You are not thinking correctly on your total amps. Adding up all the circuit breakers has nothing to do with the actual load on the service. And it's the actual load that counts. 150 amps is plenty for most houses unless they are "all electric" houses.
Well i need to make sure that i have enough juice to accomodate:

30A - HVAC
50A - RANGE
20A - PROJECTOR
30A - DRYER
30A - WHIRLPOOL
70A - STEAM ROOM

I know that its not the total sum of the breakers...but at a glance is 150A enough to supply my needs plus lightbulbs etc.
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:21 PM   #38
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I agree ,if everyone can do it we wouldn`t be electricians, electricity is not like plumbing, were if a pipe breaks things get wet and replaced if needed ,If your house burns down while your family is in there ,well i think you know where i `am going ,you would never forgive your self and like if we do something wrong your insured
this is a DIY forum.
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:25 PM   #39
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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If you get a chance, please take new pics of your panel with a higher resolution. I always like to examine the pics for anything out of the ordinary or out of code...

Also, did you already mention the manufacturer and model info for your existing panel? If not, that would be helpful.
I am only able to upload 320x680 images, i think poor quality is from having to resize, i can try again.
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Old 08-30-2008, 09:32 PM   #40
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I am only able to upload 320x680 images, i think poor quality is from having to resize, i can try again.
I use photobucket.com. Set up an account (it's free) and upload your pictures. When your pics are uploaded, find the one you want to add to your post and highlight and copy the "direct link" under the photo.

In your post on this forum, click the icon that reads "insert image". In the box that appears, paste this direct link info and it will link to your photo and insert your photo in your message.
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:05 PM   #41
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Originally Posted by Philip_Soldat View Post
Well i need to make sure that i have enough juice to accomodate:

30A - HVAC
50A - RANGE
20A - PROJECTOR
30A - DRYER
30A - WHIRLPOOL
70A - STEAM ROOM

I know that its not the total sum of the breakers...but at a glance is 150A enough to supply my needs plus lightbulbs etc.
Think of what typically versus abnormally would be running at the same time. Count your HVAC, as that can kick on anytime. Do you think you would use the range and the dryer at the same time?? The steam room and the projector??

If you have your utility verify their end of it for 200A (from what info you've provided, mainly their undrgnd serv wires) and they say it's good to go, get yourself a couple 200A fuses, put in your sub-panel and hook-up your tub. You already know your end of it is good for 200A right ?? If you keep the 150's in the main and your new tub 'pops the main fuse', you'll know you need the 200's and you'll have them there ready to change.
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Old 08-30-2008, 10:23 PM   #42
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I'm an electrician pls don't do a service upgrade if your looking for info on a website An electrician when changing a panel and putting his name on permit is responsible for the whole thing. and if you ran the wire wrong hes going to have to redo it anyway. ie how far did you space the straps?,is the weather head above or below the stick pin ,what are you using for bugs? and when changing a service Electricians do it live the power company does not shut down and I doubt they will for you. pls pls pls don't do it yourself I wouldn't let most 4th yr apprentices do it let alone home owner.
Do not know about anyone else but I have NEVER changed/upgraded with it live, the pocos I work with in my area will always be happy to shut power down for ec or homeowner. IMHO except in an emergency you have to be crazy to do a service change out with it live.
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Old 08-31-2008, 08:31 AM   #43
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DIY 200A main service upgrade?


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Originally Posted by Philip_Soldat View Post
Well i need to make sure that i have enough juice to accomodate:

30A - HVAC
50A - RANGE
20A - PROJECTOR
30A - DRYER
30A - WHIRLPOOL
70A - STEAM ROOM

I know that its not the total sum of the breakers...but at a glance is 150A enough to supply my needs plus lightbulbs etc.
Exactly, that is the sum of the breakers. Your 30 amp dryer will typically run at 22 amps. Your 50 amp range will use less than 20 when cooking the typical meal. Your 20 amp projector might use 6 amps when running. And not everything is running at once. This is why we can install 40 circuit panels with only 200 amp mains.

In my house I have a 100amp main panel, a 70amp sub panel, and a 60amp subpanel in the garage. The total of the breakers is 560 amps. I have never seen more than 70 amps total load on the mains with the AC and dryer running.
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Old 08-31-2008, 09:16 AM   #44
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Do not know about anyone else but I have NEVER changed/upgraded with it live, the pocos I work with in my area will always be happy to shut power down for ec or homeowner.
In my case, when I upgraded from 100 amp overhead service to 200 amp underground service, the poco was onsite within 20 minutes of our call, removed the meter from the meter box on the outside of the house and re-installed it in the new meter box on the pole in the alley, stood around and talked with the electrician for 30 minutes, removed the old wiring that went from the old pole to the house, and was gone within 45 minutes.

By the time we called the poco, we already had the line underground, connections made at the new meter box on the new pole in the alley, and connections made to the new electrical panel in the house. We even had two 200 amp service disconnects, one at the meter box and one on the service panel in the house.

There was no charge, and the poco worker even left the old overhead wires for us to recycle.

The electrician was willing to cut the seal and move the meter himself, he had permission from the poco to do so, but it was nice to have such prompt and courteous service. In actuality, I don't think the poco worker disconnected anything, the power was live to the house when he removed the previous meter and the power was live to the new meter box when he put the meter in.

I would have never given any thought to doing that part of the switch myself.

In the end, the power was probably off to the house for less than 2 minutes, which was probably the amount of time the poco rep took to pull the meter, walk the 96 feet to the new meter box and put the meter in. All in all, the house was "dead" for about 90 minutes, which is the amount of time it took me to transfer the current wires from the old service panel to the new service panel. Soon as I had connected all the old wires to the new breakers, I went to the new meter box, activated the cutoff switch there, and then walked to the house and activated the service panel.

The house was fully powered by the time the electrician returned from lunch........all in all, it wasn't "rocket surgery" and the only part I would absolutely not be willing to tackle by myself was removing and replacing the meter (and, of course, whatever work was required up on the poles).

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Old 09-04-2008, 01:36 PM   #45
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Exactly, that is the sum of the breakers. Your 30 amp dryer will typically run at 22 amps. Your 50 amp range will use less than 20 when cooking the typical meal. Your 20 amp projector might use 6 amps when running. And not everything is running at once. This is why we can install 40 circuit panels with only 200 amp mains.

In my house I have a 100amp main panel, a 70amp sub panel, and a 60amp subpanel in the garage. The total of the breakers is 560 amps. I have never seen more than 70 amps total load on the mains with the AC and dryer running.

Gotcha, so perhaps I may not even need the 200A... but in any case I am solid with the procedure from here on, TONS OF THANKS!!!!!

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