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Old 08-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #1
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


My Condo only has 40 amp service and I am not able to upgrade the line. With that said I have a few concerns and questions.

The Kitchen was remodeled in the 80's ( did not own it) and the carpenters must have done the electrical without regard to code. When I removed the formica backsplash (just wanted to replace that and the contertop) What I discovered:
1. one 20 amp circuit was feeding---

...5 outlets -3 for counter (used once in a while),
...1 for stove and 1 sharing a fridge/dishwasher (just added the DW).
...1 exhuast fan to the outside,
...1 hood/light fan

2. Two hidden junction boxes with not covers, they must have been the original outlet boxes.

3.They have alumimium feeds and improperly pigtailed (just regular wire nuts with copper going to the new outlets about a foot away.

4. One Junction area with no box just wire nuts against insulation and about two inches from a wobbly gas line that has compression fitting for about 1 foot run.

5. The nuetral and hot reversed on one outlet.

6. All the outlets where held in place by the formica backsplash and not the wall.

7.One wall is studded, the other is block with 1x3 fur.

The Bathroom also has issues

8. The outlet pops when my wife uses the hairdryer because it is a 20 amp GFI on a 15 amp Circuit with the exhaust fan, 3 lights, 1 hall light, 4 outlets in the bedroom and a closet light.


The plan would be to run new copper from the panel to the kitchen which backs to the bathroom to dedicate some lines for these problems rewire everything as needed. we haved removed minimal sheetrock in a pantry closet and behind the backplash, but this by no means is a gut.

The Panel is an old "electic center" Pushmatic it has only 6 spots.


a ........................b
30 amp.......... 30 amp ...............(Two Phase for the Hvac -furnace/ AC)



15amp.............. 15 amp tandem... (Kitchen)... (Bathroom & bedroom)
........................15 amp tandem... (Living room)


15amp................20 amp ..............(dining room)... (open)



Two electricians gave me estimates and both had me verify if I could upgrade the service, I can not.

I want them to take out the old panel and get a new one.

Is there anything I can get with a main shutoff at such a low amp service??? The current main shutoff is in the meter room that I don't have access to.

Does that even make sense to have a main shutoff?


How can this kitchen be brought up to code (live in NY) without overloading the 40amp Panel?????


Whats worse overloading the panel or individual ciruits? How many more curcuits can I fit on?

I at least want to get as much full run copper in there as I can and dedicate the bathroom outlet (bypass the current) and run two circuits to the kitchen, but that still won't bring it up to code?

What is the rule here? Gradfathered?

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Last edited by Jzone99; 08-23-2012 at 12:02 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:20 PM   #2
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


You should have a main shutoff (switch or breaker) in the panel (load center) in your condominium unit.

There may or may not be a main shutoff for each unit in or near the panel in the basement with the meters. This will be sized for the maximum (40 amp?) load for your unit.

You are grandfathered the way things stand but if you make changes or renovations you may be required to upgrade the service to more than 40 amps. Please check with your town before proceeding. One hurdle is that the wires from the meter panel up to the panel in your unit may have to be upgraded. Eight gauge copper or 6 gauge aluminum wire supports a maximum of 40 amps.

I would go ahead and makesmall repairs (such as fixing the reversed hot/heutral and adding a box where the splices were loose in the wall) without getting a permit.

When there is a main shutoff down in the basement, the feed up to your unit must (for current codes) have 4 conductors, two hots, a neutral, and a ground. The panel in your unit must have grounds and neutrals not combined.

Do you know the size of the wires coming up from the basement to your unit panel?

Because not all circuits will be in use at full load all of the time, you can definitely have more than 2 20 amp branch circuits on a 40 amp service. You can even have 8 circuits, three 20's and the 30 on each side of the 120/240 volt service.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-23-2012 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 08-23-2012, 01:51 PM   #3
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jzone99 View Post
My Condo only has 40 amp service and I am not able to upgrade the line...
If this is in a building and everyone else is having the same trouble, I would think it could be done if everyone agrees?

Why can't the service be upgraded?
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:28 PM   #4
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


The meter room is a few doors down not in the basement. The super let me in the other day and it is indeed 40 amps. It does have it's own shutoff.
................So i guess I will leav it at that. I would just prefer to have the ability to do it myself as the room is locked.

The wire from the meter to my box is will not support anything greater than 40 amps. It is 8 gauge Aluminum someone pigtailed it to my panel with 6 guage copper,like that helps. I did not see an gel in those to wire nuts.

Why can't I upgrade??? They said I can't, the Super says no one has or does. The board picks and chooses thier battles and the management company keeps blowing me off.

I was able to observe the run of the feeds since the girls unit next to the meter room flooded. Dozens of thick gray jacked cables were coming into her dinining room wall bewtween the cealing joists and then turned 90 vertical between the walls. the only thing between her and those cables was sheet rock. I don't even think there was insulation.

Is is a two story condo, she is on the 1st floor.

I believe that everyone has this problem but does not see it as so if they are not aware that it is a problem. Some even have washers and dryers in thier unit, I do not.
They even complained that those with thier own gas dryers should stop using them since gas is paid through the common charges and its consumption is not measured per unit.
So........... the anwer is use a public dryer or get an electric on.

Nothing about the was this place was built or is managed makes sense.

Again...If I can not upgrade my meter, How can I make code?

It seem like the answer is, I can't make it better than it is, if I can't make it to code, even though it would be better.and safer.

Last edited by Jzone99; 08-23-2012 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
...... you can definitely have more than 2 20 amp branch circuits on a 40 amp service. You can even have 8 circuits, three 20's and the 30 on each side of the 120/240 volt service.

I can upgrade to 20 amp on new lines, since they will be copper and 12/2 lines. The bathroom/bedroom, living room, and dining room are all aluminum (14g id say)that by theory can't handle 20 amp breakers.

I will be working with an electrician on this but want to know all of our options.
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Old 08-23-2012, 06:50 PM   #6
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


The code does not require you to have another main in your unit, although you can have one.

The aluminum should have been #12 for a 15 amp circuit.

The GFI is not tripping because you have a 20 amp GFI on a 15 amp circuit. GFI's compare the outgoing and returning power. If it does not closely match the GFI trips. Breakers trip from too much current being used.

Can you see the size of the cables feeding your unit?

I would work towards making the unit as compliant as possible regarding the required circuits.
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Old 08-23-2012, 07:56 PM   #7
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The code does not require you to have another main in your unit, although you can have one.

1. The aluminum should have been #12 for a 15 amp circuit.

2. The GFI is not tripping because you have a 20 amp GFI on a 15 amp circuit. GFI's compare the outgoing and returning power. If it does not closely match the GFI trips. Breakers trip from too much current being used.

3. Can you see the size of the cables feeding your unit?

4. I would work towards making the unit as compliant as possible regarding the required circuits.
1. Corrent the Aluminum is #12

2. Correct about the GFI, My wife hired someone to do the bathroom and they put the 20 amp GFI on the 15 amp line, they should have upgraded the line the bathroom, which was gutted and is next to the panel so they had the opportunity. When she used her 1875 Watt Hair dryer it pops.

3. The cables feeding the jacket are in a gray jacket and though it can't see a stamp it looks to be 8 gauge aluminum because the pigtail wire that connects it to the panel is stamped 6 gauge (Copper) and that one is slightly bigger.

4. That's how I feel, but how with the limits.

**************The only thing I can think of is to have a sub panel put in for the kitchen and bathroom, and then hook it up to the original panel so that if those lines draw too much current then it will trip at the subpanel before it stresses out the main panel. I just don't understant the math in all this and what size wire and breakers to put in can anyone understand what I am getting at. ******?????????

Last edited by Jzone99; 08-23-2012 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:29 AM   #8
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


Would this layout work? A sub panel off of another subpanel

Subpanel B (Kitchen remediation)
_______________________________
20 amp (kitchen counter
20 amp outlets)

20 amp (Bathroom outlet)
Blank

15 amp ( dishwasher ?? Correct size?)
15 amp (Fridge ??? Correct size) Do I want the fridge on the original panel for the foods sake.
______________________________

Subpanel A (origianl location but updated)
____________________________________________
30amp (Two Phase
30amp for HVAC)

30 Amp (for sub panel B) Feed with #10 AWG cable
Blank or does it have two be to phase ?? Can I get away with a 25 amp breaker???

15 amp (living room) original Alum wire
15 amp (dining room) original Alum wire

15 amp (rest of the bathroom including the exhause fan, not the outlet)
Blank
_____________________________________________

My thinking here is that if someone overloads by simutaniouly using many devices at the same time between the kitchen and bathroom it would trip the breaker inside my original panel as opposed to adding that load in addition to the rest of of the circuits in the house.
I am also looking to avoiding having to rest the main panel in a room I don't have access to.
I would also be able to bring the kitchen and bathroom up to code with the appropriate outlets and circuit breakers
The question is, would this be to code??????
I'm I really solving any problem?
Are the gauge and circuit sizes correct ?
Can I do this in the same panel?
I'm not an electricain as you can see so go easy on this idea.

Last edited by Jzone99; 08-24-2012 at 12:41 AM. Reason: clarify
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:01 AM   #9
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Only 40 amp service? Help?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jzone99 View Post
Would this layout work? A sub panel off of another subpanel................
30 Amp (for sub panel B) Feed with #10 AWG cable
Blank or does it have two be to phase ?? Can I get away with a 25 amp breaker???..............
Any thoughts...?

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Last edited by Jzone99; 08-24-2012 at 10:23 PM.
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