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asunny

02:59PM | 03/03/08
Member Since: 03/02/08
2 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
We have had a number of electrical problems after a power outage. My husband successfully solved some of the problems by replacing breakers. Three breakers are still not getting the proper amount of power (too little) and my husband says the panel needs to be replaced. He seems to think he can do this himself. He is handy (he builds computers) but I worry, is this something he can do?

TimBonham

11:05PM | 03/10/08
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
Much of the work in replacing a main panel is mechanical in nature. Your husband could probably do most of these steps:

- label carefully all of the wires in the current panel.

- disconnect them all.

- remove the wires from the current panel box.

*- disconnect the main power wires from the panel.

*- remove these main power wires from the panel.

- disconnect the conduit/whatever containing the main power wires from the current panel.

- remove the screws/nails/whatever and dismount the current panel from the wall.

- mount the new panel on the wall.

- re-connect the conduit/whatever to the new panel.

*- re-pull the main power wires through that conduit.

*- re-connect the main power wires to the new panel.

- re-insert all the wires into the new panel.

- re-connect them all to breakers in the new panel, keeping track of the labels so you know what breaker controls which circuit.

The items marked with * involve working with the main power lines coming into the panel. Even though you should have disconnected the power at the meter, you still might want to have a licensed electrician do these items. Or at least have one inspect what your husband has done before re-connecting the power at the meter. (Your power company or insurance company may make this a requirement.)

And note that the power to the whole house is off during much of this time. That means your husband will be working without regular lights, so plan for batter powered lights or a temporary generator to use. (Flashlights are just not enough for this.)

So a fair amount of this is work that a handy person would be able to do.

--------

However, some of what you said about why you're doing this doesn't quite make sense. Replacing the panel won't provide any more power to the breakers, unless you are rewiring the incoming drop from the electric company. If he's 'solving' the problem of "too little power" by just replacing the breakers with bigger ones, stop him right now! That's very dangerous, it's overloading the existing wiring in the house.

And I'm unsure about the statement that the problems started after a power outage. Main panels & breakers are pretty sturdy, and not likely to be damaged by a power outage (those happen fairly often in most locations). It's almost more likely that it would have damaged something on the electric company transformer that supplies your house. Have you asked the electric company to check this? Or can you give some more details about the problems?

asunny

11:29AM | 03/11/08
Member Since: 03/02/08
2 lifetime posts
Upon having the electric company out AGAIN (third time) we have discovered it is in the line between the meter & the breaker panel not the breaker panel it's self so we've given up and hired someone to replace the line. It was the electrical company that had said that if replacing all the breakers didn't work it was the breaker panel at fault. Hopefully third time is the charm and we've found the problem since we've had power issues for a week & a half. Thank you for the detailed instructions though if the line replacement doesn't work we may have to go that route.

sailor86

04:51AM | 04/21/08
Member Since: 04/08/08
54 lifetime posts
I experienced problems in my last home with dimming lights/not enough power,etc. As it turned out, the house(mobile home) was in need of a service upgrade, much like what you're going to have done. Replacing the feeder from the meter to a larger size fixed the problem. After that point, you can upgrade your panel to allow for the extra power available.

Peace

southwick

05:07PM | 09/23/08
Member Since: 09/22/08
1 lifetime posts
I am in a similar situation.

My wife and I just moved into our first home. Weeks later and lessons learned, we are concerned about our Breaker panel.

I have had two electricians come out, and the prices they are quoting me are a bit out of the budget. ($2400-$2900)

The second guy though made sure he took a picture because it was the Worst Breaker panel he had ever seen. The outside is completely rusted, and the wiring on the inside doesn't seem to be the best.

To the POINT!

My Dad believes he and his buddy (who is a journeyman electrician) can replace it no problem. I am sure they can, both are capable guy. My Dad has been making electrical control panels for years now. My main concern is insurance issues. If something goes wrong, will this be covered?

Should I bite the bullet, save up, and have a "pro" do it?

Thanks in advance.

TimBonham

03:30PM | 09/24/08
Member Since: 01/09/07
197 lifetime posts
You might want to consider having your dad & his buddy doing the work, then have it all inspected & checked by a licensed electrician before turning the power back on.

It will cost you much less to have an electrician just inspect the work -- probably only a service call and a couple hours charge -- likely only $200-$400 for this. And when it's done, he will give you a paper or will note on his invoice that it was inspected and found OK. That will satisfy your insurance company, if there is ever a problem.

jrannis

09:48AM | 09/28/08
Member Since: 09/20/08
10 lifetime posts
I would suggest bringing in someone that is properly licensed and carries proper insurance to do this type of work.

Although someone may be a journeyman electrician, they may not know how to change a panel properly. The bonding and conduit and wiring can be quite complicated and are debated by even the most seasoned electricians.

This is not a DIY project by any means.

One mispplaced wire could burn up every 120volt appliance and equipment in your house.
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