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Electrical Question from ML about Service Upgrade


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Question: Dave, our home was built in 30’s. The service meter is 200amps. The panel originally installed is an old square D. Problem is there are several circuits bundled together and terminated under breaker lugs.The service entrance wire from the meter to the panel, is 2 insulated 2/0 alum wires and 1 alum stranded twisted around both the others.

Electrical Question from ML about Electrical Safety

Received from ML a Homeowner in Rockwell,NC

Question: Dave, our home was built in 30’s. The service meter is 200amps. The panel originally installed is an old square D. Problem is there are several circuits bundled together and terminated under breaker lugs.The service entrance wire from the meter to the panel, is 2 insulated 2/0 alum wires and 1 alum stranded twisted around both the others. The entire service wire is in a sheath. There is a solid number 4 copper ground coming from exterior ground rod to the existing panel. There is no visible insulated neutral wire. (Typically seen in older homes.) We want to change out the panel and install a new 200 amp main panel. My question. Is it safe, being I have a solid ground to take the single strand wire and twist it together, coat it with insulation electrical tape not to have any bare wire existing, and use it as a neutral wire? The existing wire was installed when walls were open and is strapped. We will have to tear out a wall cavity to replace it, which is what I want to avoid if possible. Second, What is the farthest distance allowed from the meter can to the location of a panel with main? I will consider running copper as feed. Third-If replacement is our only choice for the entrance wire, will the meter head can have to be changed also?

Additional Comments: Great website.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

For more information about Electrical Safety
Electrical Safety

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
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Make sure not to miss these Resources for: Electrical Safety
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