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Old 03-29-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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Is the Main Breaker Removable?


I am upgrading electric from 100 A panel to a 200 A panel. I have Cutler Hammer CH series box now. I want to upgrade to the same series box, but 200 A. The wire coming in my house is for 100 A so I want to install the 200 A breaker box but temporarily switch the 200 A breaker with the old 100 A breaker. Will this work temporarily? Do the main breakers pull out like all the rest and will it fit in the 200 A panel?

I am doing a major remodel and the weather is bad outside. Lots of rain, etc. I want to keep going and switch the wire from the street later. The house is vacant and the only thing I leave on is a few lights.
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:42 PM   #2
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Quote:
Do the main breakers pull out like all the rest and will it fit in the 200 A panel?
no but they are often replaceable. I would have to look to see it a 100 would fit in the place of a 200 but instead of that:


what I would suggest is using a 100 amp breaker in a normal breaker position in the new panel and back feeding the panel with that breaker. In other words, rather than the breaker feeding out to a load, you would connect your hot feeds to the terminals on the breaker. That will feed the panel. The breaker will work just fine in this manner and this is a common installation method.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:06 PM   #3
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definately the safest way to do it. I'm a little confused though...are you trying to move your feed into the new 200A panel and switch out the main for 100A till you get the right size wires in or are your trying to feed your old panel from the new. If your trying to feed the new panel from the old then installing a 100A breaker in the old and feeding the new with it is the easiest and safest way to temp feed it. If your planning on moving the feeds into the new panel and changing the main this leads me to believe one thing...you plan on doing it live or else you'd just upsize the wires now and be done with it. Very bad idea. Stick with the way NAP said...nobody gets hurt and everyone makes it home at the end of the day that way
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:31 PM   #4
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Here is my problem. My house has everything on one breaker wired with knob and tube. Lights and outlets for three floors all on one breaker There are a few things separated, but its mostly on on breaker. They only used 8 breakers for a 2300 sq ft house.

So I'm doing a rewire and adding a 200 A panel. The weather is bad and raining for the next week so I want to swap panels but not change the the wire coming in the house from the street. I want to completely remove the existing 100 A panel so the new wire I run does not have to be moved from the old panel to the new panel.

So my initial idea was to buy the 200 A panel and put it in with the 100 A main from the old panel. But it sounds like it might not fit?

Another idea that I came up with is to use the 100 A wire on the 200 A breaker but add up the smaller breakers so that I can only use less than 100 A. For example, only 4 15 A breakers on at a time to limit usage to 60 A. This is just temporary because I need lights, 18 V battery charge, etc. Also, I can't leave the power off for a long time since there is a crook in the neighborhood that will break into houses if it looks like they are vacant. I leave some lights on to make it look like someone is living there.
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Old 03-29-2010, 01:47 PM   #5
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A new service will require everything new from the service drop on.

Why not--permanently mount the new 200 amp panel where you want it, preferably near the new meter location, use a temporary feed, 30,50,60 amps or so from the existing 100 amp panel to the new 200 amp panel, run all your new wiring to the new panel and then when the weather permits you can proceed with the remainder of the 200 amp upgrade.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan03 View Post
Here is my problem. My house has everything on one breaker wired with knob and tube. Lights and outlets for three floors all on one breaker There are a few things separated, but its mostly on on breaker. They only used 8 breakers for a 2300 sq ft house.

So I'm doing a rewire and adding a 200 A panel. The weather is bad and raining for the next week so I want to swap panels but not change the the wire coming in the house from the street. I want to completely remove the existing 100 A panel so the new wire I run does not have to be moved from the old panel to the new panel.

So my initial idea was to buy the 200 A panel and put it in with the 100 A main from the old panel. But it sounds like it might not fit?

Another idea that I came up with is to use the 100 A wire on the 200 A breaker but add up the smaller breakers so that I can only use less than 100 A. For example, only 4 15 A breakers on at a time to limit usage to 60 A. This is just temporary because I need lights, 18 V battery charge, etc. Also, I can't leave the power off for a long time since there is a crook in the neighborhood that will break into houses if it looks like they are vacant. I leave some lights on to make it look like someone is living there.
Ok so you want to get rid of your old panel and put the new one in? Two things.
1. the wire only has to be changed from the meter base into the house. Utility takes care of the rest and in most cases the wires already sized for a 200A service. You just have to change the load side of the meter.
2. Bad weather or not please don't attempt to take the feeds out of a panel without yanking the meter. Call your utility company and do it right. Too much can go wrong...i've got 12 years at trade now and you wouldn't believe the things i've seen happen to people who figured it's no big deal i'll just do it live. Doesn't matter how good you are or how easy you think it'll be. All it takes is one mistake and then it's too late.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:14 PM   #7
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Well the new panel is going to be right where the old one was.

I was going to pull the clear glass dome part of the meter then change the panel. Thats what the electrician did at the last house I had. He just used a screwdriver to remove the metal band, twisted it off and pulled.

How do I tell if the wire coming in is for 200 A?
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew79 View Post
Ok so you want to get rid of your old panel and put the new one in? Two things.
1. the wire only has to be changed from the meter base into the house. Utility takes care of the rest and in most cases the wires already sized for a 200A service. You just have to change the load side of the meter.
2. Bad weather or not please don't attempt to take the feeds out of a panel without yanking the meter. Call your utility company and do it right. Too much can go wrong...i've got 12 years at trade now and you wouldn't believe the things i've seen happen to people who figured it's no big deal i'll just do it live. Doesn't matter how good you are or how easy you think it'll be. All it takes is one mistake and then it's too late.
Don't know where Jonathon is but around here, utility does NOT take care of the rest unless unless it is an underground lateral. Customer would still have to upgrade the meter socket as well as a riser if the service is overhead.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by brric View Post
Don't know where Jonathon is but around here, utility does NOT take care of the rest unless unless it is an underground lateral. Customer would still have to upgrade the meter socket as well as a riser if the service is overhead.
sorry bout that...yes if it's an overhead service he would have to take care of it...everythings run underground around here so i forget sometimes that it's not like that everywhere . Most cases in my area the meter base is already all set up for upgrades.
In canada your not allowed to pull your own meter. Utility company has to come and do it. That's not saying you can't but if the utility comes along and sees the tamper wire cut they can levee some hefty fines on you if they're so inclined.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:33 PM   #10
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there's just no getting around it...the "legal" way to do it would be to take out a permit(any service change has to be inspected or else your house insurance is null and void) once you've got your permit the utility comes and shuts down your power. Upgrade whatever needs to be upgraded be it overhead or underground service. Install your panel and wires. Get your inspection and then have the utility power you back up. There's no easy way to do it. Even if you do install the new panel temporarily it's probably an 1 1/4 inch pipe comming in with a 100A service and you'll have to take that out and install a 2" for the new service, which means you'll have to take the new panel back off again anyways.
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Old 03-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jonathan03 View Post
Another idea that I came up with is to use the 100 A wire on the 200 A breaker but add up the smaller breakers so that I can only use less than 100 A. For example, only 4 15 A breakers on at a time to limit usage to 60 A.
No, Do NOT do this
Setup a Temp connection @100a if needed



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Old 03-29-2010, 02:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
No, Do NOT do this
Setup a Temp connection @100a if needed
Branch circuit breakers are not added up like that. The total of the branch circut breaker amperages will almost always be greater than the main breaker rating in any panel.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #13
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If you had some photos of the situation we might be able to come up with more ideas.
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