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MBeach
Upgrading electrical questions.

Hello all!

First of all, sorry about the large images. I've got to work on figuring out how to resize them.

My wife and I just purchased our home, and we're in the process of updating it. As first time home buyers, we're learning as we go, so my apologies for any basic questions.

It's clear that we need to upgrade our electrical system. I've included pictures of the two boxes that exist on our house now. We've been told it's a 100AMP system, and we'd like to upgrade to 200AMPs.

I know that we'll need more circuits for the house, including the kitchen (right now it has extremely old/non-working appliances and no dedicated outlets. I'd love some basic information to go off of so when I begin to call electricians for quotes I feel a tad more comfortable.

Here are pictures of the two boxes on our house. Any information/suggestions/etc. would be most welcome.

Thank you!

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

The panels you have have adequate open spaces for additional circuits but because they are Federal Pacific Panel (cause fires) I would recommend immediate replacement.

You don't say how big the house is or what load calculations you have made or have had made.. Most homes other than fully electric homes are serviced well by 100 amp services, however with the updating you will no doubt require it won't add much to update to todays standard 200 amp service.

Jack

Timothy Miller
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Howdy consider contacting 2 or 3 electical contractors to come and meet with you and open the panel to view the wiring and then give you a bid to install a new 200 amp service panel and new meter can as old one not set up for 200 amp. At same time ask them if the wiring needs to be replaced due to age and or code requirements.. Request itemized bid so you know just what they are bidding to do. Ask what needs to have an electrical permit and get one before work is done. it is to be displayed on the home. If hiring contractor they apply for the permit.

To add additional circuits a permit is likely required ( again ask electrician bidding what needs a permit). To bring the whole home upto currant code may require extensive rewiring. You may just want to add some additional circuits and run new wiring to them. Like in the kitchen 2 dedicated small appliance circuits GFI protected, a microwave circuit, dishwasher, an separate disposal circuit. Great time to read a basic wiring book at the library or book store to educate your self about home wiring .

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Thank you both for the answers! I'm already learning!

Our house is 1500 square feet. I'm not sure what or how to make a load calculation? I'm assuming that's the draw on the electrical system due to the hardware attached? Let me know if there is any other information I can provide that would be helpful!

As it stands, we will have what I'm guessing are fairly standard appliances; dishwasher, garbage disposal, electric oven range, microwave, fridge, washer, dryer. Other than that, a couple of plasma tv's and AV equipment. We don't have (yet) any sort of HVAC system, we only have heat (no AC) which is gas.

I'll do some more research! As it stands, it appears I can, for the time being, upgrade the panels, get some dedicated circuits for appliances.

Thanks again.

Ernie_Fergler
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
MBeach wrote:

Thank you both for the answers! I'm already learning!

Our house is 1500 square feet. I'm not sure what or how to make a load calculation? I'm assuming that's the draw on the electrical system due to the hardware attached? Let me know if there is any other information I can provide that would be helpful!

As it stands, we will have what I'm guessing are fairly standard appliances; dishwasher, garbage disposal, electric oven range, microwave, fridge, washer, dryer. Other than that, a couple of plasma tv's and AV equipment. We don't have (yet) any sort of HVAC system, we only have heat (no AC) which is gas.

I'll do some more research! As it stands, it appears I can, for the time being, upgrade the panels, get some dedicated circuits for appliances.

Thanks again.

Doing a load calculation for a residence is a rather daunting task, but you can give it a try. NEC 220.82{B} describes the steps involved in the process. Good luck.:D

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Thank you! I tried that load calculator and may have just confused myself more than anything. At least I have some understanding though, of what to expect when I talk to an electrician!

Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

200A is more than enough for this home based on these pictures.

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Hello all, I know this is an old thread, but I'm starting to have electricians come out and look at our place, and wanted to make sure I'm doing and getting the right thing.

We had our first electrician come by yesterday to look at our panels and give us a quote. Is it ok (with forum rules and just in general) to give some details here (without the price) to confirm that I'm on the right track?

Thanks!

Ernie_Fergler
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.
MBeach wrote:

Hello all, I know this is an old thread, but I'm starting to have electricians come out and look at our place, and wanted to make sure I'm doing and getting the right thing.

We had our first electrician come by yesterday to look at our panels and give us a quote. Is it ok (with forum rules and just in general) to give some details here (without the price) to confirm that I'm on the right track?

Thanks!

Sure is !!!! Load em up, the more details the better....:D

MBeach
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

Thanks!

The electrician came by and spent about 45 minutes at our house, almost all of his time was outdoors. Although I brought up dedicated circuits in the kitchen, and GFI outlets that I thought needed to be installed, he never expanded on that or brought it up again.

Instead, he focused on our panels (the pictures I posted in this thread) and our meter. After looking at both, popping the covers off, and giving me lots of background on the hardware and details I couldn't follow, he hand wrote the following "quote" for me. He included prices, but I've removed those from this.

He didn't push either of these options over the other, although he did spend a bit more time explaining Option 1 to me.

I've typed out his "quote" below verbatim. Two options were given to me;
=======================================================
Option 1

* Upgrade existing sub-panels (2 each) to Modern Safe, 8 space/16 circuit panels to fit in existing location
* Upgrade 30 Amp circuit feeder to second sub panel to 40 Amp
* Complete Circuit Identification
* All permits

Option 2

* Upgrade existing service entry from 100 Amp to 200 Amp
* Add 20 space/40 circuit panel
* Complete Circuit Identification
* All permits
=======================================================

I'd love to get your thoughts on this. Does this sound right? Should the quotes/bids I receive be more detailed? Anything else I should have asked for specifically? Was it normal/ok for him not to write down anything about the dedicated kitchen circuits I'd asked about, or GFI outlets?

Thank you!

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Upgrading electrical questions.

First I wouldn't hire him. He has bid on replacing the panels only and ignored your other requests. This type of bid is generally a "get and the door" bid expecting to get change orders for the other work which will significantly run the bill up. Just my humble opinion.

Jack

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