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Old 05-17-2011, 10:11 PM   #1
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I'm lookin' for Panel & service upgrade tips from Pro


I plan to call some electric contractors one day, I'm really trying to organize some funding before I get involved (money talks)
but when I do call them, I'd like to be more prepared knowledge and money wise.

so what am I looking at here, I know it's Federal Pacific Stab-Loc
I currently live in the house, what's the routine for my situation?
Do the armored wires usually need to need to be replaced?
I'd like if you could give me the run down on everything you see here, I need all the input possible.








Does the electric contractor change this rusty meter or my power company?

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Old 05-17-2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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Tips from a pro-- Hire a pro

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Old 05-17-2011, 11:01 PM   #3
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Seriously tho. Is ur house all electric heat HWH or gas. Any big ticket items that pull a lot of juice? How big is house?

Your first step is to figure out how much power ur gonna need and do a service calc. From what I see most everything in the pictures needs help. I'm sure it all works fine but is in dire need of an upgrade/replacement. And could even be dangerous.

You will need a min of 100a service and if its not a cracker box 200a would be recommended.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:33 AM   #4
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I agree with Saturday Cowboy, that this needs to addressed sooner than later. There are many issue that need to adressed, but the service entrance needs to looked at soon.
Do a service calc and see what size serive you will need. If you are planning any future additions or spa, pool that also needs to be taken into concideration.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:39 AM   #5
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Not the worst thing I've ever seen, but it is in dire need of attention. The cables in & out of the meter are a definite concern. The spiders web of cables at the panel should clean up decently into a new panel. Definitely a candidate for a whole new service.
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Old 05-18-2011, 05:46 AM   #6
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Oops…missed your question about the meter. Some areas the meter socket is supplied by the POCO, otherwise the socket is supplied by the EC, as well all the other materials to do the job. The meter head itself typically can be re-used, and yours looks like it could be re-used on a new service up to 200 amps.
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Old 05-18-2011, 06:54 AM   #7
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New service mast and cabling
New meter socket
Exterior disconnect (if required by locality)
New service cable to main panel
New main panel (sizing based on load calculation (present and future plans), personally I would go with 200 amp minimum).
Review and replace grounding as required
Move branch circuits into new panel

Armored cables do not need to be replaced but there are issues. I see cables with no connectors where they enter junction boxes. ables unsecured should be secured. General clean up that rats nest.

Make sure a permit is taken out and inspections are done.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:08 AM   #8
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By the choice of smiley that you put next to your statement that the panel is Federal Pacific I'm guessing you might be aware of the danger just from that alone, but in case you need any more detail read the following:
http://inspectapedia.com/fpe/fpe.htm

Now, if you're interested in what is involved and what to expect this to cost, and I am gathering that you plan to make the prudent choice of having this professionally done, might I recommend reviewing my blog which can be found from clicking the number of blog posts on the left side of this post. I didn't have a FPE panel nor did my service entrance have the problems you have, but I am installing a new main panel, moving my service entrance (currently it is in a bedroom) and upgrading to 200 amps. My blog post has links to a number of discussions I've had here along the way, and I put in a list of materials for a portion of the project.

For my area, the POCO only furnishes the meter, having read through their manuals apparently they use standard meter sockets but formerly had their own meter socket design. I've read some POCO's have their own design and thus provide the meter socket. Your meter socket looks like it might be proprietary to your POCO so it might be provided, but that's just speculation, and you're going to have this done professionally so if you're looking to understand so you can assess your quotes, contact your POCO. I found everything I needed from their internet page using search terms such as "service entrance installation manual"

My current phase of my electrical upgrade project is costing right around $1000. That's materials, no labor. It does also include a feeder and subpanel in the garage, but it doesn't include the new main panel which I already have in place from a previous subproject. I've heard a 200A service upgrade, which is essentially what this would be, varies by locallity but can run around $2500.

Good luck and hope this has been helpful.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:29 AM   #9
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I need to add to that... My current sub-project, being that it doesn't involve anything substantial for new or rewired circuits except for the garage, is avoiding some of the implications of Michigan's implementation of 2008 NEC code. See, since I'm putting a subpanel in my garage, I'm needing to use GFCI on my circuits which I can do at $18 per circuit (cost of a tamper-resistant GFCI which isn't much different than a regular GFCI)

Something that affects project costs out of 2008 NEC is that it requires basicly everything 15A or 20A single pole that doesn't get GFCI to get AFCI. This basicly means each breaker jumped in price from $3-4 to $35. Outlets also require tamper-resistant outlets in many places, so that adds a little for each outlet.

You might want to speak to the electrical inspector with your city's building department to understand how much will be required with a service entrance and panel upgrade.This will be a point where an electrician might make a recommendation to upgrade beyond what is required. While upgrades are good, replacing the panel and service entrance are much more critical. If you only have the ability to pay for the most immediate needs, it would be best to know ahead of time just how much is required.

And on the other hand, you might also want to recognize if somebody tries to quote doing LESS than what the inspector would require. This ought to be a red flag for somebody who has questionable qualifications, and you certainly don't need to spend money on going from a bad electrical situation to a electrical situation that still is bad.

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