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Old 05-13-2009, 07:18 AM   #1
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Question about replacing load center in older house


I just bought an older house that currently has a 100A service in the unfinished basement. I am planning on upgrading to a 200A service and need to purchase a new box. I'll probably go with a GE, Square D, or CH box do to the availability of parts/breakers locally.

Anyway, my real question concerns placement of the new box. I've noticed a lot of people like to place the new box next to the existing box. Ideally I would like to do that as well but I think several of the existing runs to the old box will not be able to stretch over to the new box. Is it acceptable to just remove all existing runs from the older box and label them properly, and then put the new box in place of the older box and then just rewire?

And I'm sure this has been asked a ton of times but are there any advantages of buying a GE vs Square D vs CH? I saw a 200A GE 40/40 panel with several breakers included at Lowes the other day for $160 I believe. Is that a good deal?
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:13 AM   #2
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Question about replacing load center in older house


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Originally Posted by speedster1 View Post
I just bought an older house that currently has a 100A service in the unfinished basement. I am planning on upgrading to a 200A service and need to purchase a new box. I'll probably go with a GE, Square D, or CH box do to the availability of parts/breakers locally.

Anyway, my real question concerns placement of the new box. I've noticed a lot of people like to place the new box next to the existing box. Ideally I would like to do that as well but I think several of the existing runs to the old box will not be able to stretch over to the new box. Is it acceptable to just remove all existing runs from the older box and label them properly, and then put the new box in place of the older box and then just rewire?

And I'm sure this has been asked a ton of times but are there any advantages of buying a GE vs Square D vs CH? I saw a 200A GE 40/40 panel with several breakers included at Lowes the other day for $160 I believe. Is that a good deal?
Label the old wires as what they go to and if they were on a single pole or double pole breaker. You can't always rely on the old breakers to be the right amperage. So, check the wire size and pick the new breakers accordingly. Set some junction boxes to make splices in and extend the old circuits to the new panel. A 4" x 4" x 1-1/2" square j-box has enough room for four 12-2 cables with grounds. This means 2 circuits.

As for brand, they are all pretty good, but the Square D QO panel is pretty bullet proof.

Last edited by InPhase277; 05-13-2009 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:14 AM   #3
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Question about replacing load center in older house


Place the new one in the same place as the old.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:35 AM   #4
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Question about replacing load center in older house


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Is it acceptable to just remove all existing runs from the older box and label them properly, and then put the new box in place of the older box and then just rewire?

This is generally the preferred method.

I usually don't mark the wires/cables. I just relabel everything when I'm done to correct any errors or to be more specific.

Check for any unusual wiring before you disassemble, like wires other than black or red on breakers, wires other than whites, bare or green on neutral/ground bus.

Take a digital pic for reference.

Also, If you don't have a disconnect outside/before the panel, you need a main breaker in your panel.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:39 AM   #5
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Question about replacing load center in older house


Thanks for the help. Sounds like the easiest thing for me to do is just put it in place of the old box.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:55 AM   #6
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Question about replacing load center in older house


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Thanks for the help. Sounds like the easiest thing for me to do is just put it in place of the old box.
For many reasons and to save you headaches you will find this to be correct! Note- unless it was in a bad place to begin with- i.e. change of code now forbids the placement there or the access isn't what it should be by current standards etc.
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