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Old 09-20-2007, 12:50 PM   #1
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


Hello, I've been having issues with my kitchen lights dimming when the fridge comes on. I had an electrician in here last week to change a plug outlet (the one for the fridge, it was in the middle of the wall for some reason), and when he was here, he said I need to change the entire panel in the basement. He said (bear with me, I know next to nothing about this stuff) that I currently have a "15", when the standard is a "20", and the current load on the fridge's circuit is 18.4, but that normally a circuit can handle up to 5 more.

I asked for an estimate, the rep came over and told me that it needs to be changed because of what the electrician said, and that the switches are 'doubled' (all I can think of is that some switches seem to have a 'peg' that ties two together), which is not to code, and that even with changing it, I still might have the light dimming issue because the fridge should be on its own circuit, and that since my wiring is "15", they'll just replace the panel with a "15", and not a "20".

My questions: If I post a pic of my panel, could you tell me if they're trying to take me for a ride or if I do need a new one?

Why replace the panel, couldn't they just make the fridge plug its own circuit? If so, what kind of work does that entail?

Thank you so much for any help, much appreciated.

-Lori

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Old 09-20-2007, 01:44 PM   #2
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


Yes. A picture is needed. I have no clue what he means by a 15, or a 20, unless he is talking about the breaker.
I'm thinking he is trying to take you for a ride.
He should explain this fully so you understand what is being replaced and why.

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Old 09-20-2007, 02:04 PM   #3
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


Agreed we need a picture(s) good ones btw with the panel cover off (be careful)...he might mean by "doubled" that several single pole breaker are individually protecting 2 circuits ...this may or may not be an issue. We need a picture to be sure. I have no clue what he meant by "normally a circuit handle up to five more". Thats sorta a fishy statement. However none of the things said add up to a panel upgrade or service upgrade... whatever they meant.

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Old 09-20-2007, 03:07 PM   #4
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


Thank you for the insight. As for the "5 more", he said since the switches are '15' (amps?), that you can load with up to 5 amps more.

Here are some pictures, let me know if you need more. Thank you!


Last edited by I_have_questions; 09-20-2007 at 03:07 PM. Reason: huge pic
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:30 PM   #5
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


The panel looks new. Are there any open slots for more circuits? How many amps is the current service (The breaker at the top of the panel)?

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Originally Posted by I_have_questions View Post
I had an electrician in here last week to change a plug outlet (the one for the fridge, it was in the middle of the wall for some reason), and when he was here, he said I need to change the entire panel in the basement.
I wonder if this analagous to taking your car in for a simple oil change and find out that "you're lucky to still be alive" with the brakes in the condition that they are in.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:42 PM   #6
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Clutchcargo, I think you're right about the oil change, lol.

The panel does look new to me, too. Yes, there are open slots for more circuits, there are 7. The amps....200.
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:56 PM   #7
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


Does the fridge share the same circuit with the lights? If so, I would say you just need a different electrician running a dedicated 20AMP circuit to the fridge.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:09 PM   #8
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


How I am reading this he must be talking about your breaker. When he said you have a 15 I assume he means a 15A breaker and that 20 is common he means a 20A breaker.

When he said he would have to leave it as a 15 he probably saw that your wire size is only 14 gauge so they can't change it to a 20A breaker because 14 is not rated for 20A.


How much was his estimate for, you give us this number and we can tell you if he wants to change the panel or just the one breaker.

If this is how the guy explained it to you I would run the other way and find someone who can explain it alot better for you.

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Old 09-20-2007, 04:27 PM   #9
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


He definitely said the whole panel, and quoted $1200 for it. I'm thinking it's best for me to run in the other direction, it's really not making sense. Especially since the rep also said nothing about a line only for the fridge, and I did ask about that.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:27 PM   #10
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BTW, thank you all so much for the input, this is great, I appreciate it!
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:45 PM   #11
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" I have question "

there are few issue did come up when i was reading this and i rather say it did raise few questions here,.. so bear with me a min

1) did you say the refridgeator draw [ running ] at 18.4 amps ?? i was not sure because it got my attetion because with this much that gotta be a very large or commercal sized frige noramally majorty of resdentail [ home ] fridge dont draw that much current useally from 3 to 8 amp depending on what kind it is.

2) the person whom gave ya the qoute is not too far off from the point but let me expain little bit my main conderation that that box is pretty much full unless i know the box label [ it will be on the breaker box door it will tell like this QOM1002040 [this number is a example not a real one ] and that type of breaker it is a QO series breaker but the single pole breaker with two handles that style is a older type of QOT breaker.

there is 2 verison of that type of breaker [ i will leave this part alone for now ]

but there are some case you can add subfeed box if the load is not very hevey but really you should get at least 2 or 3 estames from diffrent EC to summit the bid.

anytime you add the circuit to the breaker box somecase you have to bring it up the code if breaker box or fuse box is very crowed or not safe.

but best case is have two other ec come out and take a look at it.

i dont know if you did spot one breaker it look like allready tripped

if you have more question post it here

Merci , Marc
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:22 PM   #12
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


Bonjour, Marc,

The 18.4 is (what I was told), the circuit with the fridge, and microwave. It's a standard house-type fridge.

I booked another EC to come in next week for another opinion on this, and oddly enough, when I told them what it was for, they asked "Was it X Enterprise that told you that?", and sure enough, it was.

Im heading out right now, but when I get back I'll post that number you're looking for.

Merci! (Are you in Montreal?)
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:28 PM   #13
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Can't find that number for you, Marc, sorry.

One more question, if the panel is a "15", is it normal that the switches all have "20" on them? It's on the top part of each switch.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutchcargo View Post
Does the fridge share the same circuit with the lights? If so, I would say you just need a different electrician running a dedicated 20AMP circuit to the fridge.
I don't know for sure, but it is on the same as the microwave.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:34 PM   #15
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Need to change my electrical panel? 2nd opinion needed


""The 18.4 is (what I was told), the circuit with the fridge, and microwave. It's a standard house-type fridge.""

Now that make sense.

if this circuit is wired with 14 gauge then you have to stay with 15 amp breaker.

but if the wire is 12 gauge then it can use the 20 amp breaker.

nomally majorty of kitchen circuits useally are on 20 amp.

a good electrician will check this circuit but one issue is that when some pepole or former owners whom did the work on the wiring and they used the intermix size and we have to stay with the " weak " link.

the example is if you have mixed bag of 14's and 12's the breaker size will determed by smallest wire size it run.
{ the 14 gauge is smaller than 12gauge is }

the microwave oven useally take pretty good percent of power they can be on the normal kitchen circuit.

the fridge it can be on it own circuit [ genrally a wise idea ]

Merci , Marc

Desole je pas habite de Montreal mais habite de Wisconsin , Merci
[sorry i dont live in Montreal but live in Wisconsin , Thanks]

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