DIY Home Improvement Forum banner

Surges & lightening / 100 to 200p panel

381 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  tstex
Hello to all & Happy Easter,

Arrived at my country house and power was off in kitchen, which the refrig/freezer was off / not pretty

Went to elec panel and 4 single pole breakers were randomly flipped. I reset them all, went back inside and heard 2-3 rapid shorting sounds & refrig stopped / I finally found that a 110 outlet behind my propane water heater cased in a cabinet was fried. It had a 3 prong adapter in it that had an extension cord that ran to my propane over to power LED clock & ignition lighter / had to remove water heater and pic one is the charred adapter. There were also black charred marks on wall from outlet/ wall is wood so I'm lucky I still had a house.

When I replaced outlet, the breaker would finally reset & it tested fine b4 I reinstalled water heater. That was last Thursday / Sat morning I went to one of my sheds and found this (pic 2). The white cover plate was blown off & I never found a piece of it. This shed is 160 ft from house. I ran conduit from house panel to a 100amp subpanel in garage, that subpanel feeds this shed and 2 others. I turn off the breakers to subpanel when I leave

My main SqD 100amp house panel is max'ed out so I cannot install a surge protector. I want to install an HEPD80 SPD like I did in both my 200amp panels at house we live (pic 3). I will need to have the Electric COOP turn off power to my panel, and want to upgrade from 100amp to 200 amp SqD. Here's a ques: I have 2 diff feeds coming out of current panel, if I go w another SqD 200amp panel, is this panels knock-outs & dimensions relatively the same so that my current 2 feeds can plug'n-play w out a lot of reconfiguring?

Finally, I've run two diff feeds to create 2 prior subpanels from house to garage and off the power pole to a panel that supplies 220 to my well. But, I've never done a main panel. Other than replacing the 100amp main breaker to 200amp main breaker, labeling all circuit breaker lines, pulling out and reinstalling in new panel,,reinstalling ground line, is there anything special or complicated ?

Thank you


See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Thanks Ral / not sure that would work for me since my meter is on a pole about 60-70 ft from my house/electrical panel. There's a lot of trees in btw for errant hits, yes?
Here's a very crude drawing of the place, the main trunk line feeds a pole that has my meter on it, then that line goes to the house 75ft away that supplies panel on house. I have a line from house to garage panel, then from garage to three sheds. Back at the main pole, a panel is on that pole too and goes to a utility shed, then that feeds the well house / not sure if a meter based SPD would help or not. I plan on putting a smaller SPD inside utility shed too


See less See more
No surge protector will be able to protect you from a direct hit - there's just way too much energy in that case.

A type 1 or type 2 SPD will protect you from a nearby strike that creates a surge that comes in over the power lines. Most surges come from beyond your meter. A SPD at the meter on the pole will provide protection for everything downstream from it, up to the limits of its capabilities.

It's possible to get an induced surge from a nearby lightning strike on the drop from the pole to the house, but the SPD at the meter will still dissipate some or all of that, depending on the size of the surge. It would be ideal to have SPDs at both ends. And even then, it might not be enough.

You have to decide if it is worth the time, effort and cost to cover that less likely event.
Surges & lightening / 100 to 200amp panel

That's great advice RAL...what about lightening rods on the house and sheds too? Seems one area gets it a lot / this is the second time the shed switch has been blown.

Ive had this place for 27 yrs, but there's been 4 trees struck in this general 1/4 acre area in ques before I bought the place / it's 100 acres total
Somewhat different deal. From your house I bet that's an all electric house with dual 200A main panels ("320"/400A feed into them). Your country house's panel is actually a subpanel. The main panel is at the meter.

The modern and proper arrangement is the meter's main panel has two breakers in it. The small one feeds the cable run to the utility shed. The big one powers either the country house, or both the country house and the utility shed breaker. So you don't need the power company to de-energize your country house's panel. If you don't have that arrangement right now, maybe it's worth upgrading to it - that will allow you to upgrade the country house's panel at your own speed and on your own terms.

When you say "200A panel" what you really mean is "I want a panel with a lot more spaces, so many spaces that I never, ever, ever run out of spaces again no matter how much I modernize or expand". And that's an ideal goal. I would consider only a 42-space panel. The cost differential for more breaker spaces is very cheap. A panel is no place to economize; get a 42-space. The "circuits" number often advertised is completely worthless; that requires doubled-up breakers which are almost impossible to legally use these days.

Now, if you're under the impression that spaces require amps, well, if you want plenty of spaces, the panel's busing will be 225A (200A for HOMeline). They typically sell with 150-225A main breakers, but you can put any breaker you want in it.

As far as surge suppressors, if you have the panel spaces, you can get surge suppressors that sit directly where breakers sit, and do not require a balky external box or the trim work to mount one.
See less See more
Lightning rods may be the way to go. This coupled with sacrificial surge protectors in panel will give you the best protection. Unfortunately nothing is able to provide 100 percent
guaranteed protection.
Thanks Seharp & Old,

When I did an addition in 2002, this is when the SqD 100amp panel was was a pretty old set-up w fuses and all. in order to install the new e-panel, the SBECoop person, had to disconnect the incoming wires from the pole. I am going out there today and will take pics of the pole w meter and see how it is specifically configured. I know by turning off the panel at the pole [to install a new circuit in the utility panel], it does not turn off the power to the house, only the utility shed and thus the well.

Yes, it would be nice to be able to turned off everything at the pole and work on house if I needed to do every install I do [water, gas or electrical], I always have a cutoff/shutoff valve right before the ending application, just like a shutoff valve at every toilet. I agree once I have the power off and installing the panel, that's the biggest opp
cost and might as well go big there bc later it's much harder. I over size a lot of things when the start-up cost is the main ante.

Regarding upgrading/installing a new panel, my brother is very talented at plumbing, electrical, construction, etc...however, he advised me against installing my own panel. He stated that since it really is a one-time gig, to get someone that knows all the ins-and-outs and has done it before many times. I have to agree, but I certainly want to do this myself. Thoughts?

Finally, I agree on SPD at all locations and lightening rod installations. Has anyone installed home/residential lightening rods and what does it specifically involve?

Many thanks to all for your help, advice and suggestions.

See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.