Does Your Electrical Panel Need Upgrading
I want to add a breaker to my panel to wire my basement, but my main electrical service breaker box does not have a main breaker, what can I do? How to Upgrade an Electrical Panel to Ensure a Safer Electrical System.
Electrical Question: I want to add a breaker to my panel to wire my basement, but my main electrical service breaker box does not have a main breaker.
- The electric companies main outside box is locked. What can I do?
- I would now also like to add a main breaker to my inside box for the future.
This electrical panel question came from: Collin, a Homeowner from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Additional Comments: This site is so much better than the 3 books I bought. I wish I came here first.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Collin.
Upgrading an Electrical Panel
How to Upgrade an Electrical Panel to Ensure a Safer Electrical System
Application: Upgrading an Electrical Panel.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for the electric panel upgrade.
Estimated Time: Depends on the exact type of the existing panel or fuse box, the replacement panel to be installed, the original wiring methods that were used for installing the existing wiring, and available access to the project area.
Precaution: This is an extensive project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and typically requires specifications in accordance with the local utility company or electric service provider.
Notice: Making changes to the Home Electrical Service Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Upgraded Electrical Panels Provide Circuit Breaker Protection
- Collin, call the electrical utility company and ask them if they can turn the power off before you install the circuit and breaker.
- Make plans to upgrade your main electrical service panel so that you can have a newer electrical panel that has a main circuit breaker.
More about Electrical Services and the Circuit Breaker Panel:
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Electrical Panel Circuit Listing
House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
Electrical Wiring Protection using Circuit Breakers
A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
Home Electrical Wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
Electrical Junction Boxes
Electrical Junction Boxes for Home Wiring
Understanding electrical junction boxes and what they are used for. Home electrical wiring is the process of installing electrical wire to a location that will serve electrical devices or an appliance. One very important component is the box where the wire will be installed. The type and size of the home wiring electrical boxes will depend upon the circuit size, application and its location.
How to Install Basement Electrical Wiring
Basement Electrical Wiring
Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Basement Electrical Wiring with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
For more information about 220 Volt Wiring Diagram
220 Volt Wiring Diagram
Wiring 220 Volt Electrical Outlet
Home electrical wiring includes 110 volt outlets and 220 volt outlets and receptacles which are common place in every home. See how electrical outlets for the home are wired.
This link is helpful as a Homeowner
The following may also be helpful for you:
Learn more about Home Electrical Wiring
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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Trying to specify new main service panel size. The existing panel is an old Zinsco that is still in good condition but the customer would like to replace it. They would also like to have enough capacity for a future car charger and solar inverter. The load calculations on the 814 sq. ft. house is 66.84 amps with a 30 amp car charger. I’m not sure how to calculate the solar inverter connection.
Because the solar inverter will actually be feeding power back into the electrical panel and then to the grid the physical space for the typical 2-pole breaker is more of a factor than the amperage of the panel. Given the size of the home you may consider installing a 125 amp panel. However if the home is situated on acreage or there is a future plan for increasing the size of the home then you may consider installing a 200 amp panel. The point is that the cost difference between a 125 amp and a 200 amp panel installation is not very much. On the other hand make sure you are staying on track with the customer and don’t try to “sell” them something they don’t need right now.
Check with the local building department and utility company for additional factors which could reinforce your decision, and possibly have a solar power representative visit the location for their suggestions as well. Getting the panel located and ready for the solar tie in will be very helpful.
I hope this helps,