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Old 12-19-2009, 12:23 PM   #1
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upgrading to 200 amp service


2 years ago I had my service burried in the ground to my meter. I was told by the electric company, that the wire was 200 amp capable when I was ready to upgrade to 200 amp service.

Well since I ran into some major surprises while gutting my bathroom, now is the time to think about upgrading, and possibly re-wiring the entire how, but first I need to upgrade from 100 amp to 200 amp.

Question is this...what does the electrician have to do in order to upgrade the service? Also, I think my only ground is to the water main coming into the basement. As far as I know I do no have any grounding rods outside the house. Is this common, unusual, safe?

Will grounding rods need to be installed for the upgrade, because it is winter here in Minnesota, and getting rods into the ground this time of year may be impossible.

Thanks

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Old 12-19-2009, 12:26 PM   #2
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upgrading to 200 amp service


Grounding rods will be needed, new meter base & breaker panel
Assuming all of this is only 100a rated
Then all wire is reconnected to the panel

By code you are not required to upgrade other electric
But some local Inspectors seem to try to reuire or encourage people to do so
Check with your local building Dept

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Old 12-19-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
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upgrading to 200 amp service


how are grounding rods installed in the middle of winter, or will this have to wait until the ground thaws in the spring?

Also, the reason I want to upgrade the rest of the electrical is because of splices in the attic that are just taped and not in junction boxes.

Also, when I shut one breaker off for the bathroom half the house goes out...

How do electricians do that when there is 15-18 inches of insulation in the attic, and all the old wires are burried at the bottom of this? Is this possible?

Sorry I am completely dumb to all of this, and that is why I am asking so many stupid questions.
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:48 PM   #4
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upgrading to 200 amp service


How an electrician goes about these things is up to the electrician
The grounding rods could wait until Spring, but you are not supposed to turn the power on until everything is connected
An Inspector would not pass the installation without the ground rods
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:00 PM   #5
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upgrading to 200 amp service


what about the blown in insulation in that attic...all the old wires and fixtures are buried under the insulation...how do you get to them, and do you install the new wire over the insulation or do you bury them as well?
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Old 12-19-2009, 05:58 PM   #6
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upgrading to 200 amp service


Its very easy for you as the home owner, you show the electrician the attic hatch and send him up.

You say you are in Minnesota, it may take a few phone calls to find someone to work in an attic in the middle of the winter. I would be hard up for cash before I would want to crawl around in the attic when it is -20 outside.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:35 PM   #7
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upgrading to 200 amp service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikeologist View Post
...How do electricians do that when there is 15-18 inches of insulation in the attic, and all the old wires are burried at the bottom of this? Is this possible?...
I move the insulation out of the way of where I need to get to.

Imagine a kid sitting on all that. You can dig holes, make trenches, etc. Fun!

Whatever works! Maybe with a snow shovel you could move the insulation aside to expose the area you need to work on. Then move it back when you are done.

With fiberglass insulation, I try to move each piece aside and on top of other pieces without "squishing" any of them. Or remove the first few pieces through the attic opening. Whatever...
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:49 AM   #8
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upgrading to 200 amp service


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikeologist View Post
how are grounding rods installed in the middle of winter,

Easy! ok well its not quite. Use a jackhammer.
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Old 12-20-2009, 12:59 PM   #9
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upgrading to 200 amp service


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how are grounding rods installed in the middle of winter ....
WE take an old auger bit, and drill thru the frozen ground until soft dirt is encountered. Then take the sledge and finish the job.

If you have underground metal water pipes serving your house, with at least 10 feet of metal pipe in the dirt, then your main grounding electrode will be that pipe. When upgrading your service equipment, you will need to install one supplemental ground rod (you don't need 2 when using the ground rod as a supplement electrode).

You'll need a minimum #4 copper wire to the water pipe, and a #6 to the ground rod.

As for the service upgrade, if the meter box was replaced when the POCO did the outside upgrade, then all you need to do is install a larger service cable out the meter box from your new panel.
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Old 12-20-2009, 04:51 PM   #10
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yes the meter is ready for 200 amp service, so the only thing left outside would be the grounding rod...

most of my wiring is old cloth style wiring, and half my house is on one circuit breaker...no way to even the load without re-wiring the house I suppose huh?
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #11
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Well you can run new a new circuit and one outlet to things which use a lot of wattage. Then this offloads the circuit.

Like refrigerator, microwave, TV/stereo, window air conditioner, etc.

And you can do one new circuit/outlet at a time.

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