Upgrading 100A to 200A?

RogerN wrote:


I've done this once, it was a big job but in this case it was going from a decrepit heavily overloaded 100A fuse panel (I'm actually amazed the house hadn't burned down) to a modern 200A breaker panel.
The house had overhead service so I had to install a new larger mast and replace the meter box. Additionally, I had to upgrade the grounding system to comply with current codes which involved driving two new ground rods. The job cost about $500 including the necessary permit and supplies, and the house was without power for several days until I had completed and had it inspected.
Underground power would have been much easier as the utility handles everything up to the meter box for underground or the weatherhead for overhead. Most underground installations have the meter box directly on the other side of the wall where the panel is so there is FAR less screwing around. Either way if you intend to do this yourself, read up on it, talk to your local inspector about any special regulations in your area, and gather all the parts you will need before you start.
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Also, talk to your local utility about the incoming wire capacity. We only ran two sizes of conductor and that was based on the distance of the meter from the transformer.
The welders may give you trouble with the impedance of the incoming wire. We also had welding load billing penalties, that you cannot afford, due to regulations that allow utility bill compensation for loads that don't pick up properly on a meter. I doubt they could apply that to a residential service, unless they reclassify you.
YMMV
I've done this once, it was a big job but in this case it was going from a decrepit heavily overloaded 100A fuse panel (I'm actually amazed the house hadn't burned down) to a modern 200A breaker panel.
The house had overhead service so I had to install a new larger mast and replace the meter box. Additionally, I had to upgrade the grounding system to comply with current codes which involved driving two new ground rods. The job cost about $500 including the necessary permit and supplies, and the house was without power for several days until I had completed and had it inspected.
Underground power would have been much easier as the utility handles everything up to the meter box for underground or the weatherhead for overhead. Most underground installations have the meter box directly on the other side of the wall where the panel is so there is FAR less screwing around. Either way if you intend to do this yourself, read up on it, talk to your local inspector about any special regulations in your area, and gather all the parts you will need before you start.
RogerN wrote:

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Snip
James Your making the same mistake many of us here make in assuming that what is true there is true elsewhere. In many localities underground service conduit is built at the customers expense by there electrical contractor or by themselves if they are doing there own work. The only part the utility then actually does is to pull in the conductors into the meter enclosure and terminate them to the meter socket. The conduit and ground work must be done to utility specification. Schedule eighty conduit is often required. Some utilities require that the back fill be free of stone and that the conduit be bedded in and covered with six inches of gravel dust. As long as the states Public Utilities Regulator has not established state wide rules the utility can require anything they want to see. -- Tom Horne
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Tom Horne wrote:

You have to provide the power pole for the above ground service in Central Florida, or the conduit if underground. Have you ever set a pole, by hand? Or even better, moved a pole because it was a foot too far from a building? :)
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wrote:

In one of my church's summer camps the power company had to set a pole by hand. They brought in a couple of retired outside wiremen to teach the younger troops how to do it. The use of pole carrying tongs, Peavey hooks, Pike poles, and other apparently hand forged antiques was very impressive. The reason that it was not done with heavy machinery was that it was in a marshy area that had a large colony of endangered flowers and habitat for an endangered animal. -- Tom Horne
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Tom Horne wrote:

The only tools we used were a shovel and a level. We dug the hole to the depth we needed, then cut into the wall at a 45 degree angle, about half way down. Then my dad and I shoved it, till it was over the open hole. Some heavy lifting, and the end started down the angled part. When it was upright far enough, it dropped to the bottom of the hole. Then we started back filling the hole, while rocking the pole to compact the soil. The last part was shoveled in, then the shovel handle was used to tamp that dirt into place. Then he said that there was no way to remove the old ground rod so I hooked a chain to the clamp, and to the back of my Ranger pickup. It pulled right out. :)
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I remember a summer Job involving building a line. Only where the soil didn't allow the use of a mechanical drill, did we have to dig by hand-using a "spoon" and "crowbar" to dig the hole and then using pike poles to heave the pole into the hole- no 45 degree slant involved. Where a machine could dig the hole it could also drop the pole into the hole. In any case, as long as the pole was in the hole, the foreman had the job of setting the line and the crew used a peavey to turn the pole as desired and pikes to set it vertical. Once that was done , the pikes could be grounded and the crew split between shovellers and tampers (yes, we had tamping bars rather than shovel ends so tamping could start as soon as some soil was added to the hole so this eliminated rocking the pole. (Mind you- usually there were 4 or 5 people on the pikes) ) If a tamper got caught by too much backfill - that person bought beer for the crew that night. This was in the early 50's and we worked hard for under a dollar per hour. This crew's record was 66 poles set in one working day. A problem in swampy soil was that of bell bottomed holes- some of which seemed insatiable gobblers of fill. Overall a great incentive to get a "higher(sic) education"
wrote:

I remember a summer Job involving building a line. Only where the soil didn't allow the use of a mechanical drill, did we have to dig by hand-using a "spoon" and "crowbar" to dig the hole and then using pike poles to heave the pole into the hole- no 45 degree slant involved. Where a machine could dig the hole it could also drop the pole into the hole. In any case, as long as the pole was in the hole, the foreman had the job of setting the line and the crew used a peavey to turn the pole as desired and pikes to set it vertical. Once that was done , the pikes could be grounded and the crew split between shovellers and tampers (yes, we had tamping bars rather than shovel ends so tamping could start as soon as some soil was added to the hole so this eliminated rocking the pole. (Mind you- usually there were 4 or 5 people on the pikes) ) If a tamper got caught by too much backfill - that person bought beer for the crew that night. This was in the early 50's and we worked hard for under a dollar per hour. This crew's record was 66 poles set in one working day. A problem in swampy soil was that of bell bottomed holes- some of which seemed insatiable gobblers of fill. Overall a great incentive to get a "higher(sic) education"
--
Don Kelly
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Don Kelly wrote:

That's not a problem with the angle trick. :)

I have a good education, but sometimes you just have to do a job like that because you can't wait weeks for some lazy assed contractor to find a fresh crew of illegal aliens to do the job. That pole was at my dad & stepmother's new house. They were staying with me as construction dragged on and on. They had already started moving things into the house, but weren't allowed to move in till the electric service was restored. So we started early in the day, and were done before noon. Then it took the electric company another week to install the drop. They sent out a tree trimmer to remove the same branches they pulled the old drop out of, months earlier. :(
My field was electronics. Broadcast engineer, designing cable TV systems, and industrial electronics. At the end, it was building telemetry equipment for the aerospace industry. Now I'm old and 100% disabled. :(
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On Thu, 05 Aug 2010 15:09:46 -0400, "Michael A. Terrell"

Yep... There is your mindset, folks. Laid bare by the culprit himself.
What an idiot you are, Terrell. I hope they (that 'fresh crew') find you, and light yer ass up.
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Perform a load calculation per NEC Article 220 to see how many amperes you need. Check with the power company to see if you can upgrade.
One solution might be to install new 200 ampere outside service with one 200 ampere main and a 100 ampere submain. Use the 100 ampere submain to feed your existing home service by tapping at the existing panel/main disconnect and use the 200 amperee main to feed a 200 ampere panel in your shop. The proper grounding electrode and bonding jumper would have to be removed from your existing service and installed at your new service. The service entrance conductors would have to be increased in size, probably to 3/0 copper. If you cannot afford an electrician, at least get a qualified inspection of your work before turning on. All new work should conform to the 2008 NEC or current adopted version of the NEC if your local jurisdiction has done that. There are dozens of ways to do this depending on the exisitng configuration. An electrical contractor or experienced electrican could give you some valuable advice after looking at your existing installation.
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I went to the best stocked "Rural King" store I've ever been to today. They had 200A outdoor meter bases with a panel of 8/16 breaker spaces underneath. This seems like what I need, 200A in and feed the house with 100A breaker and feed my add-on panel from another 100A breaker. I think the panel was $110 or so, seemed reasonable. Does that sound like about the best solution?
RogerN
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wrote:

It sounds like a reasonable way to go. You still need to change the service entrance 3 wire to a 4 wire feeder and separate the ground and neutral in the house.
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wrote:

See if your inspector will let you build the new service up to the service point, inspect it, give you an OK for temporary power and have the PoCo switch it over. Be sure to add a GFCI outlet outside next to the new panel. Then you will have temporary power while you are changing over the house panel. It also makes this one trip for the PoCo.. This will at least keep your fridge going and give you some lights with extension cords. If you have planned this all out well and have the parts on hand the switch over could happen fairly fast. The hardest part may be reworking the main to a separate neutral bus if this has had a lot of work done in it over the years. Be sure to buy some extra ground busses. I would bond them all together with 4 ga wire and not depend on the screw to the can although that is legal. Be sure to remove the bonding screw to the neutral bus in your old panel. Put one in your new panel.
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If I have all the wiring ready for the 200A upgrade, would the power company switch me over, then I just have to run the wire from the existing meter base to the breaker in the new meter base and switch on the power. I'm thinking if I have everything ready I can do my part in less than an hour.
RogerN
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In my neck of the woods you could wire all you want but until you went in and sat down with the Utility Engineering department you would be in the dark, without power, forever. They may want upgrades or changes to the location or whatever. There may be outstanding items held against your service waiting for you to make your move.
The Inspector has no say in it other than it is safe or not and sends the info to the utility. No Engineering OK = nobody will come.
If I have all the wiring ready for the 200A upgrade, would the power company switch me over, then I just have to run the wire from the existing meter base to the breaker in the new meter base and switch on the power. I'm thinking if I have everything ready I can do my part in less than an hour.
RogerN
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If you are on a residential branch, each of the pole transformers (or underground) can only handle a couple or few residences each. You may have to pay for a bigger pole pig installation as well, not just to hook it up.
This sounds also like the ideal drop location would be to the garage and then to the house via whatever means. I do not know what the access levels are for the buildings from the street though.
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wrote:

This can best be answered locally but when I did mine, FPL just swung over the drop to my new panel and they were done. It was a completely new service entrance, mast and the new panel. I did the wiring between the new panel and old after they left and called for my final.
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Roger You cannot use the wire that runs from your existing meter base as a feeder to a panel that is not the Service Equipment. The existing cable is three wire. You will need to run a four conductor cable or four wires in raceway. One is the newly required Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) to which your newly separated equipment grounding conductors in the existing panel will be attached. The second is the neutral conductor and the other two are the two ungrounded current carrying conductors. It is common practice to use four wire service entry cable for this type of feeder. You end up with an EGC that is over sized but over sizing the EGC will not cause any problem nor upset anyone. You may need to buy an accessory lug for your EGC buss bar in order to properly terminate the over sized EGC but it is not an expensive item. Any circuit that originates at a breaker in your service equipment must have a separate EGC and Grounded Current Carrying Conductor (Neutral) if the equipment to be served needs a neutral connection. -- Tom Horne
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/ /Roger /You cannot use the wire that runs from your existing meter base as a /feeder to a panel that is not the Service Equipment. The existing /cable is three wire. You will need to run a four conductor cable or /four wires in raceway. One is the newly required Equipment Grounding /Conductor (EGC) to which your newly separated equipment grounding /conductors in the existing panel will be attached. The second is the /neutral conductor and the other two are the two ungrounded current /carrying conductors. It is common practice to use four wire service /entry cable for this type of feeder. You end up with an EGC that is /over sized but over sizing the EGC will not cause any problem nor /upset anyone. You may need to buy an accessory lug for your EGC buss /bar in order to properly terminate the over sized EGC but it is not an /expensive item. Any circuit that originates at a breaker in your /service equipment must have a separate EGC and Grounded Current /Carrying Conductor (Neutral) if the equipment to be served needs a /neutral connection. /-- /Tom Horne
So if I'm understanding this correctly, ground and neutral are connected at the 200A box and I need to separate the ground and neutral going to the sub panels? I know I have to have a ground rod, would this be connected to the neutral at the 200A box or would they be separate? I'm not sure if the power company grounds their neutral at the pole or it's done at my main panel.
RogerN
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