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Old 02-15-2012, 09:50 PM   #16
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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Originally Posted by amdspitfire View Post
Thanks for all your advice, home was built in 2007 and all the wiring is new and intact. I think its something that can be sorted out fairly easily.
2007? Don't forget that you'll need AFCI breakers for all circuits in all the bedrooms.

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Old 02-15-2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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An electricain is the prefered idea !
Good idea!

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Start by putting 20a breakers in,
BAD idea. What happens if there's 14 gauge wire with a faulty device on it that starts drawing 19.5 A? That won't trip a 20a but could damage the wire.

For the heavy loads (range, dryer, etc.), you can probably get a rough idea of the required breaker size by looking at the markings on the wire. Then see if you can match that with the outlets/nameplates of the loads.

For the general purpose and lighting circuits, you should be able to tell if they're 14 gauge or 12 gauge. If not you can pickup something to measure the wire gauge with (digital calipers, gauge indicators, wire strippers, etc.). Then you'll need to follow the wires to see if you can tell if any of them are MWBCs.

All in all, hiring an electrician would be money well spent at this point.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:50 AM   #18
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


Why not just have the whole panel replaced? Most of the cost is new breakers anyways. Hire an electrician and have them put a new 200 amp 40 space panel in. That way you'll have everything new and up to date, and no worries if it's incompatible.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:04 AM   #19
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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Why not just have the whole panel replaced? Most of the cost is new breakers anyways. Hire an electrician and have them put a new 200 amp 40 space panel in. That way you'll have everything new and up to date, and no worries if it's incompatible.
..that's not correct or necessary. The panel is 5 years old and unless something catastrophic happened to it it should be fine. And the cost of having a panel replaced is not mostly breakers, it's LABOR.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:05 PM   #20
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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An electricain is the prefered idea !
But if you cannot afford it ,
Start by putting 20a breakers in,
Then turn them on one by one,
Go look and see what powers up !
If the breaker blows quickly,
then it could be a heavier load,
so leave it for now, and do the others first.
When finished you might have a couple of heavy loads left.
You will have to find there power capacity,
and fit the apropriate breaker size for it.
Wouldn't do that at all!
At least try to match the wire gauge at the panel with the breaker ampacity. Then figure out what is at the other end and in-between to see if adjustments are needed, i.e., 20g at panel leading to a splice with 14g.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:18 PM   #21
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


Did they take the main breaker too. Can you give us some pictures of what is left?
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:40 AM   #22
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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Did they take the main breaker too. Can you give us some pictures of what is left?
Yah, will follow up with pics and update once I get in there. Probably will be a few weeks.

Appreciate all the advice.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:24 AM   #23
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


Agree with what a lot of people here are saying, go with an electrician.
I, for one, was blown away at how reasonable an electrician's rate is. Spend a few hundred dollars for real peace of mind.
And like one poster said (and I have a whole thread here somewhere on the subject) you need to be aware of MWBCs, which to the untrained eye, look like a 220V circuit, but is in fact two 120v circuits with a shared neutral.

Go with a local electrician, he or she will appreciate the business. When I bought my foreclosure, I called in a local electrician that lived a mile away. He is great, and has been very reasonable.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:31 AM   #24
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


You need to first trace out your circuits, and identify the 120v and 240v (or single pole and double pole), remember that a lot of modern 240v appliances will require a neutral (therefore a 3wire blk/rd/wht + ground) If you have any of these wires entering your panel you need to be sure that they are for 3 wire 240v circuits and not 2x 120v circuits with a shared neutral. Once all the wiring is identified, you will size the breakers according to the wire size #14 = 15A, #12=20, #10=30A, ect (look up the table in the NEC), 120/240 does not matter, breaker size is determined by the wire. And make sure to buy breakers made for your panel, and balance the load as best you can.

Personally, I would go through and open every device in the house, use an ohm meter and ring out every wire(of course,power must be off for this). This way you will know what goes where and know that the branch circuits are wired correctly. If you do not know how to see that the branch circuits are wired correctly; hire an electrician. I would go through every bit of wiring with a fine tooth comb, label as I go, then put it all back together and add the correct sized breakers.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:09 PM   #25
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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Originally Posted by matt151617 View Post
Why not just have the whole panel replaced? Most of the cost is new breakers anyways. Hire an electrician and have them put a new 200 amp 40 space panel in. That way you'll have everything new and up to date, and no worries if it's incompatible.
agree that a loaded panel is often less expensive than buying the breakers individually.

what is the brand of panel?? maybe you can simply go to HD and buy a loaded panel of the same make and model and take the breakers from it and install them into your existing panel. you will probably have to buy some stray breakers to make up for additional circuits.

like other have said, look at the wire gauge and install the appropriate breaker for that gauge.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:45 PM   #26
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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like other have said, look at the wire gauge and install the appropriate breaker for that gauge.
It would be this easy in a perfect world, but you don't know what was done prior. You need to be very sure of what is single pole and what is double pole, and it is not always what it seems to be.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:52 PM   #27
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


As long as they did not go crazy with cutters in there. It should not be too bad of a task.
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:52 PM   #28
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


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It would be this easy in a perfect world, but you don't know what was done prior. You need to be very sure of what is single pole and what is double pole, and it is not always what it seems to be.
the OP stated that it was a 2007 home, so i would guess that not a lot of changes have been made to create a lot of guessing.

also, with all of the breakers missing, it should not be too difficult to determine single or double pole requirements.. 2-wire = single pole, 3-wire = double pole. stove, dryer, hot water tank = straight forward...

finally, there are no breakers in it now, therefore safe to assume the OP does not live there.. get some breakers and start testing, take your time and mark down what wire feed what..

oh yeah, pull the kitchen plugs to see if they are splits.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:11 PM   #29
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


3 wire could be 2 120v circuits with a shared neutral, it would wrong and out of the ordinary, but I've seen it done.

I've gone into new houses to fix things you wouldnt believe. One time was called out because a breaker kept tripping. Every light and fan in the home was on one circuit #14 wire tied to a 20a breaker. I don't know how it passed inspection, but it did. I'm sure the 20a was added after inspection, a dangerous no no. Brand new home.

I'm just saying, it's better to do the extra work, and KNOW that it is safe. Especially with electrical.

No harm in testing as above poster mentioned so long as you are sure of the voltage requirement of the circuit. Otherwise you could damage equipment. But you won't burn the house down.

Last edited by JRigby; 02-17-2012 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 03-09-2012, 09:38 PM   #30
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Foreclosure: All circuit breakers were removed


Well I finnaly had a chance to get back in there and take some pics of the panels. It looks like a lot more of it was labeled then I had originally thought. Meter Main is a Schneider electronic model SC816D200C.


IMAG0165 by amdspitfire, on Flickr


IMAG0166 by amdspitfire, on Flickr


IMAG0168 by amdspitfire, on Flickr


IMAG0169 by amdspitfire, on Flickr

Sub panel upstairs:


IMAG0171 by amdspitfire, on Flickr


IMAG0172 by amdspitfire, on Flickr


Last edited by amdspitfire; 03-09-2012 at 09:45 PM.
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