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Old 06-07-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
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Father's Day Panel Upgrade


My wife has given me a new panel/200 amp upgrade for father's day. the EC is coming out tomorrow to discuss the project (I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve). she knows i have been suffering from what i call panel envy

My current panel is full (see pic) and service is maxed out.

A couple things:
1. they generally prefer to install Square D but as you can see i already have a big investment in cutler hammer afci and gfci breakers. is it rude to ask for a different panel than their preferred brand
2. i have read here and other places that copper service wires are better (albeit more expensive). do you think its worth requesting copper?
3. Bring new to this particular project, are there major types of questions I should ask? [project cost is important but i care more about value and quality than getting low low bids] -- they already indicated part of the job will be getting a permit and inspection.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:21 PM   #2
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Father's Day Panel Upgrade


First of all, it's your dime...get what you want. And get at least 3 EC's out there to give you estimates. Get a consensus before making a commitment.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:51 AM   #3
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Father's Day Panel Upgrade


Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinp22 View Post
My wife has given me a new panel/200 amp upgrade for father's day. the EC is coming out tomorrow to discuss the project (I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve). she knows i have been suffering from what i call panel envy

My current panel is full (see pic) and service is maxed out.

A couple things:
1. they generally prefer to install Square D but as you can see i already have a big investment in cutler hammer afci and gfci breakers. is it rude to ask for a different panel than their preferred brand

It is pretty much your call if you request the CH panel they can do that and the cost of the AFCI or GFCI breakers between the brands is not really wide differnce depending on what series you are looking at it.

2. i have read here and other places that copper service wires are better (albeit more expensive). do you think its worth requesting copper?

If you request it be aware the cost will be more than what the alum main cable or conductors will be.

I have installed both copper et alum conductors if done right it is not much differnce between the two beside the price of course.( just be aware that with alum conductors we have to bump up one size larger that about it.)


3. Bring new to this particular project, are there major types of questions I should ask? [project cost is important but i care more about value and quality than getting low low bids] -- they already indicated part of the job will be getting a permit and inspection.
The key issue is that you will have check with couple electrical contractors and how they will run ( set it up ) them.

There is the other item you may not be aware is the clearance as well many EC will give you a head up if there will be any clearance issue so they will address it.

If the EC do the changeover on the service expect the power outage anywhere from 4 to 8 hours depending on how they will do it plus timming to get the inspector to show up before the POCO will engerized them up again.

This part is not excatally the related item but it will help alot if you have clear area for the electrician to work around and they will be glad when you have clear area for them.

( I have ran this situation more than few time when I have to move some of the stuff to get into there that will eat up the time so it will make the differnce there )

The last thing the cost that will varies from each EC's so expect that.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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Father's Day Panel Upgrade


There is no way I would trash that much money by switching brands of panels and need to buy all new breakers.

Aluminum conductors are fine for the service. The extra cost for the copper may make you think twice and you do not gain anything really.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:38 AM   #5
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Father's Day Panel Upgrade


One other thing I thought of. If I ever will consider a generator (either whole house with automatic transfer or a large portable) would that/should that affect the way a new service is installed?
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Old 06-08-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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There are panels made that already have a transfer mechanism built in. Cutler-Hammer has one I believe.
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Old 06-13-2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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Father's Day Panel Upgrade


Thanks all.

Chose a local IBEW contractor. Going with a Cutler Hammer 42 space panel. Will leave room for a future generator interlock.

He laughed when I talked about copper service conductors. Went with aluminum.

kevin
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