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Old 01-08-2009, 01:13 AM   #1
tarheels
 
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I need more power. Currently my service is 100 amps. i'm trying to run 3 refrigerators (besides the one in the house) plus i need power to run my soon to be automated rig! A kitchen remodel is in the plans within the year and i'll be moving in less than 2 yrs. I need some advice and whats it going to cost me.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:15 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheels View Post
I need more power. Currently my service is 100 amps. i'm trying to run 3 refrigerators (besides the one in the house) plus i need power to run my soon to be automated rig! A kitchen remodel is in the plans within the year and i'll be moving in less than 2 yrs. I need some advice and whats it going to cost me.
For me in West Georgia, I was going to go from 200A to 400A. Was going to be $2500-$4000.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:08 PM   #3
drayman86
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If you're the least bit "handy" and can follow a good reference book, you can do the job yourself. The only real hazard is pulling the electric meter from your meter box on the outside of the house, and replacing it when the job's done. Typical gear for this is guantlet-length lineman's heavy rubber electrical gloves and a rubber mat to stand on while doing so.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:25 PM   #4
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I'm pretty handy around electricity myself... but upgrade your service as a DIY job?

I also have 100 amps so this interests me. I have no issue putting in a new breaker panel etc. but the actual meter and connections/lines would need to be the power company I thought...
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:53 PM   #5
MajorWoody
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I upgraded my service here in Portland this year. House was 125 amp overhead and a PO had hacked in an undersized panel next to the original fusebox.
It wasn't that bad. It would have been MUCH easier if I had mounted the socket and mast on the outside of the house instead of using a flush socket. But I am picky and wanted it to look super good so I went the extra mile. I passed inspection the first time.

You don't necessarily have to work with a hot meter, either. The utility will cut your power for you so you can pull your meter dead. The downside is that you will not have temporary power available to run tools, lights etc during the project unless you have a generator (or an extension cord to the neighbor's house) on hand.

My piece of advice is to get a good library book (there is one called "for pros by pros" which I used and is excellent), start real early in the morning, have temp power available for your fridge, lights, tools etc, and have a helper available who can run to the store for you in case you forget clamps, bushings etc.

If you're not good with electricity or your reading comprehension isn't so hot, then this project probably isn't for you.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:02 PM   #6
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Some municipalities will not let you do this on your own, inspection or not. That's kind of BS I think, but what can you do. This is definitely not something you want to do without pulling a permit. If you get a defective breaker or something goes horribly wrong later and your house catches fire you could find yourself uninsured.

Like Major Woody said, you can have the utility cut the power for a day. It's really not that hard, just label everything before you disconnect it so you know what size breaker each circuit was on. Also know you cannot extend any wires, so plan accordingly.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drayman86 View Post
The only real hazard is pulling the electric meter from your meter box on the outside of the house, and replacing it when the job's done. Typical gear for this is guantlet-length lineman's heavy rubber electrical gloves and a rubber mat to stand on while doing so.
On the farm, at the farm shop, we used to just pull the meter. No gloves, no mat. Just grip the glass part and pull.

Wonder any of us are still breathing...

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:15 PM   #8
MajorWoody
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I pulled my own, too, actually. I called the utility and asked the nice lady, "do you have a problem with property owners pulling their own meters?" She goes "electricians do it but we do not want homeowners doing their own. We will come turn you of and then back on as many times as you need, for free".

Then I called the building inspector and he goes, "keep your fingers out of the socket and you'll be fine. Better to beg for forgiveness than to ask first. I didn't tell you that."

So I pulled my own and kept my fingers out of the socket. Tested it afterward to make sure the panel was dead, then proceeded. Very important to test afterward because some sockets will close the circuit when the meter is out! In that case you would be turned into a strip of bacon when you went to diconnect your main panel lugs. Not worth the DIY savings!

When the linemen came out from the utility and saw that I had pulled my own meter, they didn't care.

I cannot imagine living somewhere where you were not allowed to do your own electrical work on your own residence. I would never do this without permits. They are necessary for your own safety.

I had to do this because the new socket and mast had to be mounted right where the old one was. For that reason, you really can't leave the old one in place.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:18 PM   #9
tarheels
 
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i'm definitely not doing this myself. just got the quote. $1800 (which $900 is labor) plus $175 on the electric bill. Which i'm a little confused because i thought they (electric company) were responsible for that. I dont think i'm going to do this. I do have 1 space available on the panel i could use for a 20 amp breaker. Will that be enough to run brew rig with 1 2000w heating element, pump, controller, etc.

 
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Kirks View Post
On the farm, at the farm shop, we used to just pull the meter. No gloves, no mat. Just grip the glass part and pull.

Wonder any of us are still breathing...
Well, that is not the problem at all. It is the exposed lugs at the top of the can that are capable of supplying infinite amperage that are the danger. They can and very well may kill you if you get on them because the are essentially not protected.
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