COMMUNITY FORUM

kicksavedave

07:11AM | 08/15/07
Member Since: 08/14/07
2 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
Hello,

I'm having a new spec home built and the builders plans call for the circuit breaker panel to be located outside, with the meter. I cannot stand this but they won't change it.

My question is, after the house is built, how feasible is it to have a pro move that breaker panel inside, down into the basement. It's a full basement, so the exterior wall the panel sits on will be right on top of the basement wall. So the panel will have to move about 6 feet down, and turned to face the inside of the basement.

Assuming it's not against code, which I'm faily sure it isn't, is this possible? Is this a $1000 job, or a $10,000 job?

Thanks in advance.

/Dave

househelper

07:29AM | 08/15/07
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
If you are paying to have the house built, you should be able to say where the panel goes, unless there are local codes that require it to be outside, it can be placed in the basement as long as access and clearance requirements are met.

TimBonham

05:28PM | 08/15/07
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
First, I agree with the above -- it's your house, you should be able to specify where the panel goes. (But they might charge you more.)

But to answer your question, moving it is not really _hard_, just a lot of piddly work. The wires to the breaker box will be only long enough to reach there, so you basically have to add extensions to the incoming power wires, and to each individual circuit, going from the old location to the new one. This means that you need a large junction box where the panel was (probably just leave that box there -- remove the bus bars & breaker part and put that in a new box at your new location. Then run a big raceway or several big conduits from the old box to the new box. Then you need to have an electrician run the power wires to the new box (I wouldn't do this myself), and then run appropriate sized wires for each circuit to the new box. In the old box those are spliced to the appropriate original wire, than the other end in the new box is connected to the right breaker. (Be very sure to mark each wire carefully before disconnecting them!)

Most of this is not hard work, just time-consuming and tedious. You can probably do most of it as a do-it-yourselfer, and save a lot of money.

P.S. What is your big objection to an outdoor breaker box? That's done fairly often now, and the boxes are watertight and work just fine outdoors.

kicksavedave

09:30PM | 08/15/07
Member Since: 08/14/07
2 lifetime posts
First, thanks much for the detailed response Tim.

The builder, Centex, has been great about non standard options and little customizations, but won't budge on this - and I have essentially walked from the deal, and had my bluff called. They claim if they do this, they'll have to offer it to everyone... Whatever.

As for why I don't want it outside, it's a sore spot right now. The house I'm in, a real POS rental built by KB Home, has window AC's and blows circuits every day. It wasn't designed for windows ACs, but doesn't have central, even though it's only 3 years old. The other day my wife was in one shower, I was in the other, and the circuit blew. Of course I was the one to throw on a robe, soaking wet, and walk outside and around the back to reset the breaker. Plus, we're in Northern Colorado, and I will NOT be happy about putting on boots in the dead of winter to reset a breaker because two people are drying their hair at the same time with their Robo-Do 4000 watt behemoths :)

Another consideration is using an alarm system, if the breaker is outside and the main is shut off, there goes that.

So for this new home I've insisted on extra power, which Centex will do, but putting it inside they refuse.

So long as I can prewire much of the stuff myself, having a pro do the power inputs doesn't sound like it will be prohibitive... I want the house, so I'll just make this mod once we move in. Thanks again for the advice :)

/Dave
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