Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


09:01AM | 12/27/00
Member Since: 02/13/00
34 lifetime posts
I have a couple of the standard home wiring books from Sunset, Black and Decker, etc. Also, I recently had my old 100A service upgraded to 200A. Although I worked as an electrician in my youth, I felt that this task was dangerous and complicated enough that I hired an electrician to do the work for me. It was expensive (approaching 1500 bucks), but it was worth my peace-of-mind. Maybe you feel confident enough to do it, so I suggest you might look over the possibilities in Regards, jh


08:43AM | 12/29/00
Member Since: 12/26/00
13 lifetime posts
Thanks for the reply. I have those books also. I'm a little apprehensive about doing the job, but it's a nice project, and I'll learn a bunch doing it. The inspector can always tell me what I did wrong .


08:04AM | 12/30/00
Member Since: 07/21/00
76 lifetime posts
This project is one probably better left to a licensed electrician. It does require a permit and most states require that the permit is requested by a licensed electrician. Also the service entrance cable may not be adequately sized for a 200 amp service, in that case the utility company may need to run a new cable. These problems might be better addressed by a qualified electrician. If you want to learn about the job maybe you can hire an electrician and ask him to explain what he is doing as he changes the service. Electricians are usually pretty good about letting people watch their work and explaining what they do.


02:29PM | 12/30/00
Member Since: 12/29/00
2 lifetime posts
If you have half a brain you can do it. Read everything you can and ask questions. The inspector will tell you if it is okay. The amount of money charged to do this type of work by an electrician is crazy.


12:06PM | 12/31/00
Member Since: 12/26/00
13 lifetime posts
Point taken about the input wire being too small, but I can check on that. 2 others have quoted they paid around $1500 for this job, and IMO that's outrageous. I'm going to give it a try.


05:28PM | 01/01/01
Member Since: 07/21/00
76 lifetime posts
Sorry skippy but just because people know a little bit about home wiring doesn't mean they are qualified to replace a panel. When doing this type of work it is important to know and apply to all codes for the safety of you and anyone who may live in that house. Also, if the work is done without a permit and proper inspections(which are generally only given out to electrical contractors) the house may have a hard time selling later on. It is scary that some people bite off more than they are qualified to do and then in the middle of the project end up having to call a professional to finish and fix their work. I know because i have seen this happen many a time.
I am always willing to give advice on electrical work here at this forum. After all it is what i do for a living, and I understand the desire to save money by doing things yourself. However, I also consider safety the top priority when i give advice, and i do feel the best advice here is to hire an electrician or work alongside a qualified electrician if you feel you would like the experience of doing it yourself. Good Luck on whatever you do.


12:41PM | 01/12/01
Member Since: 01/07/01
3 lifetime posts
Hi. ElectricBil is correct; this is a
difficult job best left to an electrician,
but at what cost? Surely, there is a point
past which it is a better deal to do the job

$1500 is not outrageous for this kind of
work. It is an excellent deal (at least for
around here) and you won't have to mess
around with the service entrance cable.
Recently, I was quoted $3700 just to replace
the breaker box, without an upgrade in
service. This is a one day job, and
consistent with the $4000 day rates that the
local electricians charge. Your job, since
it involves a meter and service entrance
replacement, is not a one day job. Also, you
cannot shut off power by just removing the
meter and installing a meter cover. The
typical way to do this is to request the
power company to shut off power, so you will
be powerless if you make a mistake and need
a few more days/weeks to do the job. I would
not attempt to do this kind of job unless the
cost were at least $6000.

A possible compromise is to get somebody who
is a retired electrician to help oversee your
work. I had a friend who did this, and he
insisted on cutting corners against the
advice of the retired electrician. This
resulted in quite a costly fire, and this
friend asked me for help in sueing the
retired electrician. Find somebody who knows
how to do the job, and pay close attention.
The retired electrician charged 1/10th of the
going rate to do the job, and my friend
provided all the materials and a lot of the
labor. Only problem is that he didn't listen
very well.


08:48PM | 01/12/01
Based on your GFCI question I would recommend that you hire an electrician to install your service panel.


12:08AM | 01/15/01
Member Since: 12/26/00
13 lifetime posts
Hey now, I fixed that GFCI problem.


10:23PM | 02/01/01
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
There is almost no doubt that, if you even feel the need to ask the question, "can I do it myself," then you should NOT do it. Upgrading a service wiring is something that is a fairly simple job, but it involves so much risk that you should get someone who has done it a thousand times and will do it right again this time. You should only attempt it yourself if you have done so much wiring that it does not seem like a daunting task to you. If you feel the need to even ask, then don't do it.


05:56AM | 03/08/01
Member Since: 02/13/01
27 lifetime posts
Good point Lawrence!



06:18AM | 03/29/01
Member Since: 03/28/01
6 lifetime posts
How about just a new breaker box for 60-70 amps in your detached garage? I feel certain I can do that. Book type instructions online? PVC from basement under driveway. Existing 200 AMP service.

Bill Harris

07:24AM | 05/03/01
Member Since: 05/02/01
9 lifetime posts
> Upgrading a service wiring is something that is a fairly simple job, but... <

Good comment. My county has no building codes or inspectors. I recently enclosed my carport and turned it into a workshop and I decided to hire an electrician run the new wire from the main box to the breaker box in the shop. I did the shop wiring myself, but didn't feel comfortable running the new wire.


Joe Tedesco

02:39AM | 10/12/02
Member Since: 07/27/02
140 lifetime posts

[This message has been edited by Joe Tedesco (edited April 09, 2003).]


10:13AM | 10/12/02
Member Since: 10/09/02
7 lifetime posts
The only thing to add is that if you are counting on an inspector to tell you if you have done it wrong, you are probably in over your head. Inspections in my area are only cursory and check very little, they definitiely do not check quality of work.

Bill Addiss

09:20AM | 10/26/02
Member Since: 09/12/02
9 lifetime posts

Good points. It is a common misconception that passing inspection means that the job has been done right. This argument is used all too often to justify work being done by inexperienced persons. Even if Inspectors may put extra effort into inspections under these circumstances I think it is unreasonable to assume that they would be able to properly assess every single aspect of every installation.

Could we have an Inspector opinion on this?


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