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Old 04-01-2013, 02:32 PM   #191
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I have primarily electric heat at my place (dual fuel, electric & natural gas). Draws 18kW when operating. Was put in before I bought the house and it looks like they upgraded the system to a 150A panel at the time. Not sure why they didn't just go 200A but, whatever, I suppose.
I'm not sure what state your in, but if you have natural gas but are primarily using electric for heat (ie. heat pump) then you should look into using gas for 100% of your heating. Price to upgrade to a gas furnace may be worth it with low NG prices and possibly even lower with the NG surplus we has. NG should be a lot cheaper, unless you live in a state with moderate winters.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:54 PM   #192
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We've been designing a ton of apartment complexes lately here in the KC area and everyone gets a 150A panel. it's not that uncommon. they are cheaper than 200A panels, and when you look at the cost, every little $$ added up counts to more profit to the GC. the fact is, very few people will ever need any more that that 150A (add up the electrical loads in your house, apply any diversity in the size, most houses are probably not to a 150A). And even less will ever want or need to add to it. With apartments it is a little different as most tenants are probably not allowed to add to the panel, along with by the time the electrical contractor has ordered 150 panels, the savings really adds up. With a house though, it is similar, most contractors don't typically one out houses, they like to get an entire street or new subdivision and build multiple houses, 8 or 9 going at a time in different stages to keep the subs busy. So when the electrical sub orders panels, they'll order by the case or a few dozen, as the next house to be wired is next week.

And as mentioned, most individuals will not worry about adding to their panel ever. I know several people who don't even know what service their house is.

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Old 04-01-2013, 06:20 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by kevreh View Post
I'm not sure what state your in, but if you have natural gas but are primarily using electric for heat (ie. heat pump) then you should look into using gas for 100% of your heating. Price to upgrade to a gas furnace may be worth it with low NG prices and possibly even lower with the NG surplus we has. NG should be a lot cheaper, unless you live in a state with moderate winters.
I get low off peak rate on the electric for heat . It's separately metered at something like 4 or 4.2 cents/kWh.

Based on the delivered nat gas cost it's roughly break even at this point. If I spent the money for a very high efficiency furnace maybe that would change but there doesn't seem to be enough incentive for me to do that at present. If/when the existing furnace breaks down I'll consider going that way.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:30 AM   #194
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As long as you shut off your main breaker you'll be relatively safe. You can actually hook up a 30 or 50amp 2-pole breaker for you e-brewery without actually turning the main breaker off. You just need to connect your neutral and ground wires to their respectful lug bars and the two hots to the breaker. You can touch the neutral and ground bars without being shocked, test them with a voltage pen if you're still not sure. The circuit wont' get any juice until the breaker is snapped onto the hot bus bar.

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Old 04-30-2013, 02:18 AM   #195
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OK those pictures are pretty horrific, but are not indicitave of every DIY electrical upgrade that has ever been done. I completely rewired our old house from the weatherhead (wires that touch the house from the street) through the meter to the main panel and on to every switch, receptical and outlet in the house. My electrical upgrade was inspected by the city, looked cleaner than 1/3 of the "professional" installs I have seen and did not have any issues. (on the initial inspection I was told that I ran redundent grounds from the meter and the main panel, but the inspector passed me before I had pulled out the redundant ground).

As long as you are careful, do your proper research and take your time and be carful this is not wizzardry. Make sure you are using the proper guage wire for the length of the run and the breaker it is tying into. Do not splice wires for your runs unless it is done correctly and the splice is enclosed in a junction box that is accessible after the work is done.

Get a copy of your local building/electrical code and if you have any questions, find a reputable electrical/wiring forum (not HBT) or call the city inspectors to ask questions.

As many others have stated, unless your main breaker is outside of your panel there are still hot wires in the panel so be careful. Get a good electrical meter and test everything before you touch it. Test with the meter with the power on, to validate you are getting good readings, then turn it off and validate there is no current.

If you are still in doubt, hire a professional, but again this is not wizardry. Common sense, good research and planning go a long way.

If you want to be 100% sure, call your power company and ask them to pull the meter can before you start your work. If your meter is seperate from your panel, this ensures there is no live voltage running through your house's wiring. Likely the power company will require an inspection of any work performed before they attach the meter, but this is not a bad thing, just be sure to plan for it.

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Old 04-30-2013, 02:55 AM   #196
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I work as a commercial high voltage electrician. 35 years or so in the biz. Been shocked a couple times and wrecked some stuff.
I work on live 480 three phase panels most every day doing troubleshooting on controls and pull elbows and crap on voltages up to 12,470 three phase.
I saw a post or two that said the white (neutral) was safe to touch. Not true on live stuff. The neutral can carry the sum in certain cases. (Rare) But it is not to be touched.
At a minimum you should be wearing some good thick dry leather gloves, Good eye protection, And no polyester leisure suits allowed. ;-) 100% cotton long sleeve shirt. If you don't have proper insulated tools you can wrap your Craftsman screwdriver blade with elect. tape down to about 1/4" from the end. <- this is important.
I wouldn't go into a panel with anything less. And I have to wear much more.

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Old 05-02-2013, 08:40 PM   #197
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There are lots of experienced -not to mention professional- folk in this thread- and the inexperienced should bear that in mind as they read.
My electrical knowledge has all been gained haphazardly, and over a life that is now nearing seven decades. The only electrical law more important than Ohms' to me is Rogers': "Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."
Accordingly, while I'm perfectly comfortable running 120/240 circuits from the house panel, I will absolutely not touch anything upstream of that. Two years ago, we installed a standby generator. Could I have done the install myself? Certainly, and to code, and with no real consequences (where we live there are no permits, inspectors, and the like). Did I? Not on your nellie. I hired a licensed professional electrical contractor.

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Old 07-31-2013, 06:51 AM   #198
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This thread has been a very entertaining read. Sorry to go off topic.. not that it hasn't already been done, but I have a pretty important question I need answered before I can go back to work.. (Im curently on lunch break..maybe I need to just go home..) I'm a journeyman union industrial electrician.. BUT, not the IBEW... we work out of the IAMAW. So does that mean Im worthless? or half worthless? Or is that a grey area? What should I do? I think I'm a pretty good electrician, but I have worked with others, both IBEW union and non union, that I wouldn't trust to work in my house, and others who are better than I am. My point is I don't think it's fair for someone to blanketly say that someone else is or isn't good at what they do without having worked with them.
It reminds me of the children in the carpenters union that wanted to fight us because we worked as a non union carpentry crew. I support unions, but not for everything. I would never tell someone they shouldn't work if they're okay with making less money. (Why I'm not a carpenter anymore. Too many people willing to work harder for less money than I would), Nor would I judge them without having worked with them. That being said, I also make more money in my non IBEW job than those journeyman electricians in this state make.

Sorry to ramble. Great thread. Carry on

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Old 07-31-2013, 03:22 PM   #199
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Nice necro...

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Old 08-01-2013, 02:51 AM   #200
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I understand that to mean "revive a very old forum thread" is that bad? I had just read it.

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