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Old 05-08-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Main breaker shut-off vs. External service shut-off


I have an older house where there is an outside main service shut-off. Is there any reason that I cannot use this eternal service shut-off vs. the main breaker panel shut-off?
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:11 PM   #2
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No no reason.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:48 PM   #3
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I like having an external shutoff (indoors though! Outside one is too inviting to pranksters) that way if I need to do any work on the panel I can cut power to it, completely. It's a nicer feeling working in there knowing there is no power whatsoever going to the panel.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:51 PM   #4
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If your main breaker box is over 15' from your meter, you are required to have a shut off next to the meter, here.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I like having an external shutoff (indoors though! Outside one is too inviting to pranksters) that way if I need to do any work on the panel I can cut power to it, completely. It's a nicer feeling working in there knowing there is no power whatsoever going to the panel.
How can it be external if it is inside?
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:04 PM   #6
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well I meant like one of those cutoffs that are not part of the electrical panel.

http://www.homedepot.ca/webapp/wcs/s...k=P_PartNumber
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:31 PM   #7
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It's a nicer feeling working in there knowing there is no power whatsoever going to the panel.
That's exactly what I am saying.
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Old 05-09-2010, 03:40 PM   #8
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In a typical panel there is a barrier between the breakers and the service entrance cables. As long as you turn the main breaker off and that barrier stays in place you are fairly safe to work in the panel.

But I can't argue to much because turing power off to the whole breaker is much safer.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Squirrel View Post
I like having an external shutoff (indoors though! Outside one is too inviting to pranksters) that way if I need to do any work on the panel I can cut power to it, completely. It's a nicer feeling working in there knowing there is no power whatsoever going to the panel.
If and when I upgrade my panel, I plan to do this same thing. In this scenario (main shutoff right next to your panel), can your neutral and ground bars be connected in the panel, or must it be treated like a subpanel?
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:45 PM   #10
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If and when I upgrade my panel, I plan to do this same thing. In this scenario (main shutoff right next to your panel), can your neutral and ground bars be connected in the panel, or must it be treated like a subpanel?
I think it's treated as a sub. I'd have to check mine, but I'm pretty sure I recall seeing bondage (I like using that word lol) in the cutoff and not in the panel. I have a 100 amp shutoff and 100 amp panel. Eventually I will upgrade my 100 amp panel myself to 200, as I can use the shut off to cut power completely. The shutoff has a fuse, so it will still be a 100 amp service. then when I have the money I can do a real upgrade, and I will buy a shutoff. They are expensive, but I think it's worth it.

That and it looks cool, giant box with huge lever on it. I like the feeling of throwing big switches like that.
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Old 05-09-2010, 08:46 PM   #11
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The first means of disconnect would be treated as the service. Anything downstream would be wired as a subpanel with the neutrals isolated from the grounds.

Darren, in the US we do not have the barriers around the incoming lugs like your panels. I do like that idea tho.
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