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Old 08-01-2009, 10:58 AM   #1
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


I recently purchased a new washer/dryer stackable unit from Sears - they said I needed a new plug because the outlet was too small.

Electrician said I have a 21 amp washer/dryer and outlet is 20 amps.

He looked at circuit breaker panel and said everything has to be replaced because it is over 20 years old, yada yada yada, to the tune of $2000.00.

So no outlet for washer/dryer - and I am doing laundry at friend's house yet again.

There has to be another way - if in fact what hetold me is true, does $2000.00 sound reasonable?

Could I return the washer/dryer unit and find another one that would fit the outlet?

In the manual it says it is 240 volts, no info about amps, so of course I am clueless.

They sell a unit that is 120 volts - is that an option"?

Thanks for your HELP!!

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Old 08-01-2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Get a 2nd and 3rd opinion. That's a lot of loot to fork over on one recommendation.

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Old 08-01-2009, 12:38 PM   #3
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


What Mfg is the panel?
What is the main breaker - 100a...200a ?
What do you have for electric appliances/uses in the house?
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Panel is Federal Pacific
125 amp 120/240 V A.C.
1 phase 3 wires
Type 1 enclosure

is that the info you are looking for?

Other appliances are fridge, dishwasher. Stove is gas

The washer/dryer unit is Kenmore 240 v.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:04 PM   #5
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


OK, Federal Pacific. UGH

Yeah, you might want to consider budgeting for replacing that mess.

Click here for some useful insight on those nasty panels.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Thanks for the link and the info - I will get some other quotes on this and then just bite the bullet... ugh ugh ugh..
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:47 PM   #7
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Fed Pacific sucks however the panel you reference don't have much current draw sounds like you have plenty of room to hook up new washer and dryer.
Get other free quotes forget the first one.
Don't get a new panel just because some frizz hair sparky said so.
Remember he's look-in at 2K.
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:12 PM   #8
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Given the information on the Fed Pac I'd replace it
But I'd get some more estimates
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Old 08-01-2009, 05:58 PM   #9
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Those panels are notorious for burning down houses. They're garbage. You should definately replace it, but get other estimates and go with the best one.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:46 PM   #10
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


$2,000 is a good price because a lot of contractors charge way more than that.

Ask the electrician is he going to use copper or aluminum conductors?

Ask him what brand panel he plans to install too.

Of course ask him if he's licensed and insured and if he'll taking out a permit for the job.

The answers in order should be: copper, Square D, and yes - the price of the permit and inspection is included.

Any less than that then you may get something less than what you thought you were paying for.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:57 PM   #11
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Just curious why you recommended Square D.


I'm actually in the process of getting bids for the same type of deal, so I'll be shopping around as well. Opinion, comparison pages, etc for Square D vs. GE, Siemens, etc., etc.?


Thanks!
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:00 PM   #12
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnettica View Post
The answers in order should be: copper, Square D, and yes - the price of the permit and inspection is included.

Any less than that then you may get something less than what you thought you were paying for.
So you think he will install a QO panel and CU service entrance cable for $2K??? Not in most places. Definitely not around here.

I know it is hard for some guys to grasp, but in many places AL service cable/conductors are the norm. If someone pressed me to use CU my price would be higher, as I know most guys around here would be.
Copper simply isn't used around here for this. In fact I don't think I've ever seen copper SEU cable available at the local supply houses.
I do know that in the salt air communities AL is non-existent. This makes sense.
Maybe I should drive 2.5 hours down to the city so I can buy copper SEU cable and impress some folks.

Also, Square D is not the be all end all panel brand. Residentially the other major brands are just as good and much cheaper. Sure I use QO from time to time, but it is not nearly the widespread panel of choice.

What I am trying to say is you are trying to imply that anything other than copper and QO are a sub-standard installation. This is absolutely untrue.
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Old 08-02-2009, 05:26 AM   #13
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


Not having seen the actual panel and the condition of the wires, but even after 20 years the condition of the wires can still be in very good condition and might not need to replace the Service cable. Sounds like it is simply not enough spaces and maybe some messy panel work that the electrician simply does not want to deal with.

I live in hawaii and we always use Aluminum service cable(except in pipe runs we almost solely use copper). Even on wires like 20 feet away from the ocean can last 20+ years as long as you use something like de-ox to protect the wires(the panel would most definately not last that long but the wires can).

Honestly IMO $2k is way more than the company i work for would charge for a simple panel change, but again I don't know the condition of the wires/Service cable and it could very well end up costing that much. Even adding the proper cable to the location for the dryer/washer combo could be quiet the project.

On a side note, i personally prefer SquareD Homeline series. The breakers have a very tight fit i like the location of the neutral and ground bars they make for a very sexy looking panel(yes i said sexy). Only things i don't really like about the neutral bar is if you are using alot of AFCI/GFCI breakers it can block alot of the screws and the labeling, i much prefer them to be right next to the breaker. The company I work for almost always uses Cutler Hammer, and i don't like how much the breakers can move after installation and the cover does not always fit very well, even after loosening the screws to set it closer to the breakers.
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Old 08-02-2009, 07:27 AM   #14
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


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Originally Posted by williamj001 View Post
Honestly IMO $2k is way more than the company i work for would charge for a simple panel change, but again I don't know the condition of the wires/Service cable and it could very well end up costing that much. Even adding the proper cable to the location for the dryer/washer combo could be quiet the project.
He did imply that "everything" had to be replaced. We can only assume that a 200A upgrade was suggested.
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Old 08-02-2009, 08:06 AM   #15
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Electrician says I need to replace entire panel - please help!


You really shouldn't assume anything. Not every electrician is an honest one. And with what he was saying his loads were in his panel 200amps seems overkill.

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