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Old 04-07-2008, 02:42 AM   #1
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Replacement Meter Panel


First off, I read thru quite a few messages on this board, and I am REALLY
impressed by the knowledge and helpfulness. By far, this seems to be the
BEST board out there for information, which reflects directly back on the
members!

OK - now for my dilemma.

I currently have an older 200AMP meter panel with 24 breaker slots and the
following circuits.
Slot Name Amp
1 Bath Fans 15

---------------------------
2 Outside lites 15

---------------------------
3 Patio 20

---------------------------
4 Double oven 60

---------------------------
5 Double oven 60

---------------------------
6 AC 50

---------------------------
7 AC 50

---------------------------
8 Island 20
Microwave 20
---------------------------
9 Refer 20
Disposal 20
---------------------------
10 Spare 20
Family room plugs 20
---------------------------
11 Plugs 20
Jacuzzi Tub 20
---------------------------
12 Spare 20

---------------------------
13 Garage 220 30

---------------------------
14 Garage 220 30

---------------------------
15 Dryer 30

---------------------------
16 Dryer 30

---------------------------
17 Garage 20
Dining room 20
---------------------------
18 Laundry 20
Kitchen 20
---------------------------
19 Kitchen 20
Utility room 20
---------------------------
20 Spare in garage 20
Spare in garage 20
---------------------------
21 Kitchen 20
Office 20
---------------------------
22 Bedroom 20
Bedroom 20
---------------------------
23 Garage 20
Bedroom 20
---------------------------
24 Whole house fan 20
Smoke detectors 20

I need to move my meter panel in order to complete a patio remodel.
The plan is to relocate the panel to the new location and install a large
junction box on the interior wall of the house, opposite of the existing
panel. Then run new home runs from the new panel to the junction box and
splice into the existing home runs.
The problem I have is that I cannot locate a 200 amp exterior panel with
enough circuits - the largest 200 amp panel I can find is a 20 slot panel with 40 circuits. (CH MBE2040B200BTS)
I currently have 36 circuits and need capacity for the patio BBQ and lights (20A), patio refer and disposal (20A), landscape lighting (15A), spa (50A)



Doing the math, I come up 1 circuit short.


What I was contemplating doing is mounting an additional sub panel, next to
the new main panel, then installing a 100A breaker in the new panel to feed
the sub-panel (the sub panel has 12 slots for 24 double breakers).
My plan was to punch a pair 2" holes in the sides of both panels (one near
thetop and one near the bottom) and run the sub-feed wires thru the top
holes and run the home-runs from the sub-panel back into the main panel and
then into the conduit already in place at the bottom of the main panel.

I'm assuming that if I use waterproof conduit between the two panels that I
will meet code. My question is, which circuits should I keep in the main
panel and which circuits should I feed from the sub-panel? Or can I even do
this?

I live in the great state of California, Sacramento County to be exact.

It's key that I be able to knock out 2" holes in the side of each box, as I have limited space on top of the new meter and I don't want to route conduit out of the bottom of the new panel either.

HELP!!!

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Old 04-07-2008, 03:45 AM   #2
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Replacement Meter Panel


this is NOT a subject that any size of reply would be sufficient

Since you do not state your level of skill aqnd experience in this trade
I must assume a couple of things . . .and perhaps yuo will find this useful

* you have NOT done your math . . .please consult an electrician to get
an actual amount of load ...both existing and proposed before you do
anything . . . .you are assuming that you will NOT need , in fact larger
service delivered to handle the total load

* please let me suggest that you have an professional do this . .this is
NOT DIY level work . .get a permit..get inspections

* have the inspector come out . .FIRST . .DISCUSS what you have in
mind . .how he wants to stage the inspections


panel change....multiple splices . . . .conduit work . . .SPA ...load calcs

there is naught to gain by possible lethal shock hazards associated
with mistakes in any one of the areas you intend to alter or add

but a great deal to lose . .please think about this quite a bit more
this is not DIY work by any stretch of the imagination

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Old 04-07-2008, 06:48 AM   #3
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Replacement Meter Panel


Leonard, Please don't take this any way other than constructive critisism.

This is pretty common on this website. People will be planning a kitchen remodel, or adding a hot tub, or in your case a new patio (which i'm sure isn't going to be cheap) but they NEVER factor in the final cost for an issue like this. They have no problem spending 8k on a new hot tub, but get pissed when they have to spend another 2k on electrical work to make it proper and want to DIY it to save some money. Messing with a panel change or move is not for a DIY'er as kingsmurf stated.

I am a fairly advanced DIY'er (by no means pro) and this is something that I would absolutly not undertake alone... possibly under direct supervision of someone who IS a pro.

Seriously, this is a BIG job.

What is your level of electrical experience?
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:26 AM   #4
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Replacement Meter Panel


The reason you can't find a panel with more breakers is because the code limits the maximum breakers in a panel to 40. Until your region moves to the 2008 code you are stuck. If you need more circuits then you need a sub panel.
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:43 PM   #5
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In your list I see 2 spares. You can use the spares for 120 volt or 240 circuit. If you need 240 volts you can move breakers to get 2 open spots for a 2 pole breaker. With two spares listed, why upgrade now? You have enough space for a good bit of power. You can use as many breakers suitable/allowable for your panel to the limit.

If you need more than two slots, why not just install a sub panel near your patio. Then you can have all the circuits you need. Then contact this forum for safely installing the sub panel.

Ps....The spare slots will be used for the sub panel feeders.

Last edited by J. V.; 04-07-2008 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
The reason you can't find a panel with more breakers is because the code limits the maximum breakers in a panel to 40. Until your region moves to the 2008 code you are stuck. If you need more circuits then you need a sub panel.
Huh?!?

how about 42 circuits pre '08. ('05 408.35)

leonard, I'm curious what the 2 pole 30 amp in the garage is.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
Huh?!?

how about 42 circuits pre '08. ('05 408.35)

leonard, I'm curious what the 2 pole 30 amp in the garage is.
I use it for either the air compressor or welder.
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Old 04-07-2008, 08:53 PM   #8
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The Home Depots in AZ have 40 space Seimans, Cutlar Hammer and Homeline all in one panel/meter combos.

The issue you will run into is derating your conductors if you run them in a single conduit from the new location to the old one. If there is attic/crawl space, we would run romex from the new panel to the jbox at the old location.

If not, you have to limit the number of current carrying conductors in (depending on local interpetation) or up size them according to some table somewhere.

Seimans 40 space meter/panel combo (copper bus)



Cutler Hammer


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Old 04-07-2008, 08:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingsmurf View Post
this is NOT a subject that any size of reply would be sufficient

Since you do not state your level of skill aqnd experience in this trade
I must assume a couple of things . . .and perhaps yuo will find this useful

* you have NOT done your math . . .please consult an electrician to get
an actual amount of load ...both existing and proposed before you do
anything . . . .you are assuming that you will NOT need , in fact larger
service delivered to handle the total load

* please let me suggest that you have an professional do this . .this is
NOT DIY level work . .get a permit..get inspections

* have the inspector come out . .FIRST . .DISCUSS what you have in
mind . .how he wants to stage the inspections


panel change....multiple splices . . . .conduit work . . .SPA ...load calcs

there is naught to gain by possible lethal shock hazards associated
with mistakes in any one of the areas you intend to alter or add

but a great deal to lose . .please think about this quite a bit more
this is not DIY work by any stretch of the imagination
thanks king - I am not a newbie DIY person. I am an ASE Certified Master Auto Tech with over 30 years experience, I have done 99% of my own home remodels in the past, including replacing a meter panel, additions, flooring, plumbing, etc (only paid for stucco work, because I wanted it to match).

I have a permit and plans. The goof at the permit counter reviewed the plans and approved them. The original plan was to use a Ranch Panel at the side of the house (with a meter) , then run #2ODD wire from the meter to a new breaker box. The inspector said the plan to put the breaker box in a closet did not pass code and told me to take it out. He also said the guy at the counter should not have approved the plans - my loss. Anyone interested in 75' of 2ODD wire and a brand new ranch panel?
He did give me permission to gut the breaker box and use it as a JBOX as long as I screwed the door closed.

I am NOT increasing the the existing load - I'm guessing (and will confirm) that the spares are not really spares and I'm guessing there are a few extra home runs in the wall and in the panel that are unused (previous home owner had some electrical work done).

Sacramento county had to reduce their staff by 12 inspectors. I can't get an inspector to answer a phone or return a call, much less come out to the house. They have been here twice already and threatened to charge me $175 for more trips out to the house.

I had two bids to replace the panel and to bury the service line - $6500 and $5700. I am into this job for a little over $1500, which includes 3 panels, wire, conduit, breakers, trencher rental.

I am capable of doing the work and making the calculations and want to do this right. I'm not trying to cut corners or get "past inspections". I just don't know what is expected and when the plan check guy that approves your plans is not on the same page as the inspector, I get a little pissed off, but you cannot upset those guys, otherwise they will critique every little item.

Again - I will check the spares tonight and report.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:17 AM   #10
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again...I never mean any inference that a poster does or does NOT have experience . .I can only make genral assumptions based on the original posts

that being said

* it seemed that you were adding a SPA / bbq/ lighting loads etc
. . did I misunderstand / are those already on site and powered up?

* just curious . . .when I am requested to add load to an existing
rather full service . . .I really do a dilligent load test . . .reading the
panel mains . . .or breaker hots if I cant get clamp on feeders . . .
and have the home owner really power the place up . .and note how
close that is to about 70% of max service available . . . then pondering
which appliances/ circuits are going to have an inrush number . .I
make some recommendations

* I was curious if you have done this . .if so what did you obtain
for readings ?
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowboyAndy View Post
Leonard, Please don't take this any way other than constructive critisism.

This is pretty common on this website. People will be planning a kitchen remodel, or adding a hot tub, or in your case a new patio (which i'm sure isn't going to be cheap) but they NEVER factor in the final cost for an issue like this. They have no problem spending 8k on a new hot tub, but get pissed when they have to spend another 2k on electrical work to make it proper and want to DIY it to save some money. Messing with a panel change or move is not for a DIY'er as kingsmurf stated.

I am a fairly advanced DIY'er (by no means pro) and this is something that I would absolutly not undertake alone... possibly under direct supervision of someone who IS a pro.

Seriously, this is a BIG job.

What is your level of electrical experience?
Hey Andy - no offense taken. AS an auto mechanic, I see it all the time. People get in over their head, because some guy at a parts counter sells you a $37 head gasket kit, you think you can do it.
I am by no means an expert and I don't know the code by heart, but I have done this before and I do 99% of my own home projects. Being a mechanic, I have a natural aptitude for fixing things. Had it been $2500, I would have wrote the check in a heartbeat. I have an electrician coming out tomorrow to take a look at things and either offer some advice or wrap it up for me.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
In your list I see 2 spares. You can use the spares for 120 volt or 240 circuit. If you need 240 volts you can move breakers to get 2 open spots for a 2 pole breaker. With two spares listed, why upgrade now? You have enough space for a good bit of power. You can use as many breakers suitable/allowable for your panel to the limit.

If you need more than two slots, why not just install a sub panel near your patio. Then you can have all the circuits you need. Then contact this forum for safely installing the sub panel.

Ps....The spare slots will be used for the sub panel feeders.
There are two spare slots in the box and there are three 14/3 hunks of romex that are in the panel, but are not used. It would appear as though I am going to be OK as is. I should have one extra breaker, but I still need to facilitate a spa breaker, so in essence, I am still short a few slots.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:57 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingsmurf View Post
again...I never mean any inference that a poster does or does NOT have experience . .I can only make genral assumptions based on the original posts

that being said

* it seemed that you were adding a SPA / bbq/ lighting loads etc
. . did I misunderstand / are those already on site and powered up?

* just curious . . .when I am requested to add load to an existing
rather full service . . .I really do a dilligent load test . . .reading the
panel mains . . .or breaker hots if I cant get clamp on feeders . . .
and have the home owner really power the place up . .and note how
close that is to about 70% of max service available . . . then pondering
which appliances/ circuits are going to have an inrush number . .I
make some recommendations

* I was curious if you have done this . .if so what did you obtain
for readings ?
No prob, really. I REALLY appreciate someone taking the time to think things thru, especially when the advice is good and FREE!!!!

I have a fluke meter with an inductive amp probe that will give me a decent reading. So are you saying I should turn everything in the house on, then check the amps thru each main feed?

I do not have the patio installed yet. Another reason for moving the panel is that it is smack dab in the middle of the wall where I plan on hanging a flat screen and the feed line would have to drape over the patio cover - something that is a no-no in my book, plus it won't pass code..
The patio will have:
1 ceiling fan, without a light fixture
4-6 60 way lights
Either rope lighting or some tiki lanterns
TV, DVD and small surround sound amp/receiver
plugs on BBQ island for rotisserie and blender
Garbage disposal in island sink
small refer

I see it taking:
20 A circuit for lighting and fan
20 A circuit for blender, refer, rotisserie and disposal
20 A circuit for TV, AMP and extra plugs
I might end up installing an exhaust fan (range hood) for the BBQ, but I'm not certain just yet.

That leaves me needing 1 20A circuit for a plug at the rear of the property for low voltage lighting (60' from panel to outlet)
and a spa circuit (I'm guessing that's a 50 amp circuit).
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:00 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
The Home Depots in AZ have 40 space Seimans, Cutlar Hammer and Homeline all in one panel/meter combos.

The issue you will run into is derating your conductors if you run them in a single conduit from the new location to the old one. If there is attic/crawl space, we would run romex from the new panel to the jbox at the old location.

If not, you have to limit the number of current carrying conductors in (depending on local interpetation) or up size them according to some table somewhere.

Seimans 40 space meter/panel combo (copper bus)

<PIC REMOVED>

Cutler Hammer
<PIC REMOVED>
The only conduit I have is a 2 2" x 3' sections coming out of the bottom of the new panel, then into an LB and then a short (10" piece) thru the wall and then the wires are all under the house for about 20', then they go thru a 3" hole in the sill plate and then up the wall to the new j-box.

The countsy said I could bundle them to gether in the conduit as long as I kept the length of conduit less than 10', which I did.
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Old 04-08-2008, 02:42 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
In your list I see 2 spares. You can use the spares for 120 volt or 240 circuit. If you need 240 volts you can move breakers to get 2 open spots for a 2 pole breaker. With two spares listed, why upgrade now? You have enough space for a good bit of power. You can use as many breakers suitable/allowable for your panel to the limit.

If you need more than two slots, why not just install a sub panel near your patio. Then you can have all the circuits you need. Then contact this forum for safely installing the sub panel.

Ps....The spare slots will be used for the sub panel feeders.
That's what I'm trying to do.
Below is the original drawing the county approved:

BELOW IS THE CURRENT DRAWING:



Below is the proposed drawing:

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