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Thread: 200 amp upgrade confusion

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bens's Avatar
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    Default 200 amp upgrade confusion

    A friend of mine is renovating his new house before he moves in.
    He had a guy upgrade his service to 200amp. The guy did a great job relocating the breaker box in the basement, great job wiring inside the house. When I looked at the new drop, though, the questions began.

    He got a permit. So somehow this is code, I guess.
    He has extended the new drop from the electric company with three red wires which look WAY undersized to carry the load of the entire house.
    Can somebody explain this to me?

    Also note the use of the gutter to hold up the wires. At the very least that's odd.
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  2. #2

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    Ok, I'm trying to justify what I'm seeing. Is the new panel fully wired in or did he just mount the panel and put in a couple of breakers? If there is only a couple of breakers, and I'm guessing that might be the case, he is just trying to give you power for lights and a few power tools and the small individual breakers will protect the wires from overload in that case.

    Clearly he is not done. He may be waiting on the power company to do work on their side of the service. It's hard to say exactly what is going on. I'd suggest giving the electrician a call.

    -rick
    Last edited by drick; 03-16-2010 at 05:42 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member bens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drick View Post
    Ok, I'm trying to justify what I'm seeing. Is the new panel fully wired in or did he just mount the panel and put in a couple of breakers? If there is only a couple of breakers, and I'm guessing that might be the case, he is just trying to give you power for lights and a few power tools and the small individual breakers will protect the wires from overload in that case.

    Clearly he is not done. He may be waiting on the power company to do work on their side of the service. It's hard to say exactly what is going on. I'd suggest giving the electrician a call.

    -rick
    Your conclusion was the same as mine. I figured it was temporary. The homeowner called the electrician and he didn't seem to think he did anything wrong and doesn't plan on coming back. Only thing I can think up is that he didn't think he was responsible for the drop at all, just wiring up the new box and meter.

    The power company will be called next maybe they will extend the street line to the new header?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    He got a permit, but did he get an inspection? Maybe that area is different, and maybe the eave is higher than it looks, but here, the entry cap would have to be above the roof, (and the riser would have penetrated the eave and the roof), so that the service wires were a minimum distance above the ground, and there would be an anchor point for the utility's stress relief. If the wires are not adequate, the utility will not, or at least should not, attach to them. I am not sure what the top picture is showing, and cannot correlate the second and third pictures, if they are supposed to be showing the same things.
    Last edited by hj; 03-16-2010 at 09:54 AM.

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    DIY Junior Member bens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    He got a permit, but did he get an inspection? Maybe that area is different, and maybe the eave is higher than it looks, but here, the entry cap would have to be above the roof, (and the riser would have penetrated the eave and the roof), so that the service wires were a minimum distance above the ground, and there would be an anchor point for the utility's stress relief. If the wires are not adequate, the utility will not, or at least should not, attach to them. I am not sure what the top picture is showing, and cannot correlate the second and third pictures, if they are supposed to be showing the same things.
    We are in the midwest, truthfully I don't see entrance caps protruding above rooflines here like I do when I'm down south. So code may be different?

    First piture is just showing location of new meter.
    Second is just the run of the little red wires across the back of the house (from the street service to the new meter around the corner)
    Third is the street side hookup.
    Fourth is the new hookup to the new cap.

    Attached a bird's eye view. Thank you!!!

    Also, the entrance cap seems sideways...is that code?

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member bens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    He got a permit, but did he get an inspection? Maybe that area is different, and maybe the eave is higher than it looks, but here, the entry cap would have to be above the roof, (and the riser would have penetrated the eave and the roof), so that the service wires were a minimum distance above the ground, and there would be an anchor point for the utility's stress relief. If the wires are not adequate, the utility will not, or at least should not, attach to them. I am not sure what the top picture is showing, and cannot correlate the second and third pictures, if they are supposed to be showing the same things.
    BTW, this isn't a ranch home. So yes, that cap is pretty high up, it's on a chicago bungalow built around 1930. Perhaps that is why this is permitted by code. They elevated the main floor quite a bit back then.

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    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
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    Since the power company determines where the meter and the drop will be located I don't see why it was done this way. The weatherhead should have been extended over to the point of attachment.

    I am also wondering about the length of unfused conductor inside the basement.

    I am smelling something fishy.

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member bens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Since the power company determines where the meter and the drop will be located I don't see why it was done this way. The weatherhead should have been extended over to the point of attachment.

    I am also wondering about the length of unfused conductor inside the basement.

    I am smelling something fishy.
    Fishy is fine, that may just be my feet. As long as we don't smell any burnt wiring, we should be okay.
    See the conduit coming out the bottom of the meter? That exterior run delivers the main directly into the back of the panel inside the house. So I think we're fine there.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    The red wires are temporary.

    The electrician is apparently expecting the power company to run a new drop to the location of the new weatherhead.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member bens's Avatar
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    Seems to be the consensus.
    I just wanted to be sure I'm not going nuts.
    Thank you all for your help!!

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The cap is under the eave so it should be out of the weather, but here it would have to be vertical, even though we don't get much rain, (at least until the last couple of weeks). What size wires are those red ones? We have nothing to compare them with for size so they look like #10's.

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    Licensed Electrician andrew79's Avatar
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    that's most definately a temp set up. The power company is indeed responsible for the meter location....your friend may find that when they show up they just tell him to move it back. You don't move the meter without their say so. pretty much everything line side of the meter base is under the jurisdiction of your local power utility in most cases. The cables comming in will probably not be that big and will be fused with copper wire at the mast head in the future. As for the mast head i guess it must depend on the local code. In Canada your required to have it 2 feet about roof hight i believe. I don't do alot of residential work so i'm not totally sure on that though...mostly commercial and new construction. For some reason i have a nagging thought in the back of my head that says there's a set distance from the meter and where the wires enter the house as well but i'd have to dig out my code book for that. Any other electricians here correct me if i'm wrong but wouldn't it have been better if it were legal to run that far from the meter to take a pvc pipe straight down and underground to where you enter the house? eliminates and ugly rigid pipe stuck to the wall....assuming that is rigid and not emt. I do know this for a fact though....if that is a rigid pipe then all the couplings need to be sealed and watertight due to it's location. I'd bet that the guy who did the work didn't have it inspected....you may want to get a second opinion.

  13. #13
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Well, around here, if there was no inspection the power company would NEVER show up, because the city is the one who calls the utility and gives them the okay to continue with the installation. It just seems odd that the utility would hang their wires that far back on the building. Usually they want to go to the nearest part of the structure.

  14. #14
    Licensed Electrician andrew79's Avatar
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    from what i can see from the pictures it looks like your right HJ....looks like the original meter was located at the front of the house under where the temp connection is attached to the utility side. So in that sense they did originally run the shortest path. My money is still on them showing up and telling him to move it back unfortunately. You don't do the work and then tell the utility company that they need to move their feed....they'll just laugh at you . Different countries so different procedures but here what would happen is the electrician would pull a permit then the utility would come and do a disconnect. Work would take place then an inspection, then the utility would come back and reconnect. All of this should be aranged by the electrician if he's doing his job right.
    I have a scary feeling that none of that was done here and the gentleman decided to gamble and do it live. I f this is the case then your friends may have to take legal action because the person that did the work is giving the rest of us honest electrician a bad name

  15. #15

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    Upgrading the service on live lines is not unusual where I live. Relocating the service without their expressed consent could be a problem, but generally as long as the meter is within 400 feet of the transformer they will do it.

    -rick

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