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New Electrical Service

DoRight's picture

Ok, new electric service going in.  Electric company requires the owner to install meter base (freestanding, not on buildign).  The base is to be five or so feet from the transformer.

I do not know what this entails.   If this is a DIY project I will do the research, perhaps with help from you, to find out what is entailed.  IS this a DIY project? 

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Is this for your temp. power? (post #206747, reply #1 of 40)

if so, your electrician should have some temp boxes available.

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Meter (post #206747, reply #2 of 40)

Temp service?  Yes and No.

The meter will permanently be set on a post at teh transform and not on the house.  It sounds like you can have an outlet or two at this meter and it makes sense that this can be your temporary power for the buiding project.

As for my electrician?  That is my question do I need one for this project?  I feel confident in doing much of the actual house wiring and maybe the panel wiring, but not the final hook-up.  The meter install sort seems like teh project falls closer to the same type of project of the final panel hook-up so I am not sure it is a project for me.  However, then again, it is just the meter and the transformer would not be live at that point.  SO is it DIY project or not?

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Elect. Service (post #206747, reply #3 of 40)

Around here, a temp. service or as you describe here would require it to be permited and inspected by  AHJ.  Therefore you would need a licensed  electrician.

where is around here? (post #206747, reply #4 of 40)

Where is here?

Here you need a permit, question is do you need a licensed Electrian?

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Elect. Service (post #206747, reply #5 of 40)

Here is DAllas/Ft. Worth.  You can't get an electrical pemit unless you are licenced. Maybe out in the boonies. I don't know.

Also I wonder what effect it might have on ones liability or insurance  for a DIY installation.

I suppose I should mention that I am a GC and not an electrician.  That is why I always call my friendly sparky.

I will bet you need a permit (post #206747, reply #6 of 40)

I will bet you need a permit but if you are building a house you probably already have one. Just amend the permit for this meter base and I am guessing a service disconnect.

If they are OK with you doing the rest of the electric, they will probably be OK for this. It all depends on how your local building people feel about "owner/builder".

There are plebty of issues in doing this to code and if you are not sure you know them all, you probably should get an electrician.

Greg

IMO this is absoluely NOT a (post #206747, reply #7 of 40)

IMO this is absoluely NOT a DIY project.

No plan to argue (post #206747, reply #8 of 40)

Why is this not a DIY project?  The power company hooks up the power from teh transformer to the base.  Are splinters from teh post that much of a hazard in your opinion?  Just joking.  It seems like the project is sinking a post and attaching a meter base?  Am I wrong?  The other question is what meter unit do I want or need, and for that it might be easier to pay a guy fro his advice.

Thanks again.

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I don't think you need to (post #206747, reply #9 of 40)

I don't think you need to continue demonstrating your ignorance -- you've done the job just fine.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Cake walk (post #206747, reply #20 of 40)

I think since this project was a ridiculous cake walk someone else on this board is demonstrating ignorance and lack of skills and or confidence.

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IT is always possible to get (post #206747, reply #10 of 40)

IT is always possible to get an education, but sometimes it is just not worth spending the time.  Of course there are always teh sub 60 IQ types like Dan you can not comprehend learning anything new or just not capable.  Of course we just pray for the handcaped sub 60 iq types, at least I do.  SO very sad.

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reply (post #206747, reply #11 of 40)

DoRight wrote:

Why is this not a DIY project?

You asked a question and I answered it.

 

 

 

DoRight wrote:
The power company hooks up the power from teh transformer to the base.
Not usually. 

For underground most places require the contractor to bring hte service lateral to the transformer pad. IMO this is NOT a DIY job.

 

 

DoRight wrote:
It seems like the project is sinking a post and attaching a meter base?  Am I wrong?
Well, if you want to oversimplify it to the highest level, yeah. Thing is you have to wire it and provide grounding/grouding electrodes.

 

 

 

DoRight wrote:
The other question is what meter unit do I want or need,
This is something your POCO can tell you.

We don't even know what state you are in, HOW can we tell you what meter pan you need???

Thank you for your respectful answer (post #206747, reply #13 of 40)

Thank you.

I know for a fact that the power company hooks up the transformer.  As for oversimplificaion, yes I did.  Yes there are ground rod(s) and conduit.  Today I received a drawing from the power company as to what is required.  It looks pretty straight forward.  I may do a bit more homework if I have time or I might just sub it out as that is probably the easiest way to get advice as to what box is best, do I want an outletor outlets at the location, should I plan to run a well directly from this location, etc.

Thanks again.

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Meter Base in (post #206747, reply #14 of 40)

Update for all who care.

I put the meter base in, main breakers, ground rods, and outlet circuit for construction, no thanks to teh naysays who typically don't think anyone who does not call themselves a "professional" is capable of operating a screwdriver, and thanks to all who attempted to help.  This was a no brainer, with a little homework, primarily the code details.

Got permit on-line, very easy.

The inspector was awesome, nice and helpful.

The biggest problem was deciding on 200 amp or 200 amp.  About half electricians said an all electric house "should" be ok with 200 the other said go 400 amp.  Electric furnace people said 400 amp, but then again they really don't know about that kind of stuff.  The inspector said I made a safe bet with 400 amps.  I still "guess" I went for overkill ... but then I am not sure ....

So for anyone considering this project go for it.  Piece of cake.

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The biggest problem was (post #206747, reply #15 of 40)

The biggest problem was deciding on 200 amp or 200 amp. 

Really, that doesn't sound like much of a decision!  :)

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I'm Glad he went with the 200Amp (post #206747, reply #16 of 40)

xxPaulCPxx wrote:

The biggest problem was deciding on 200 amp or 200 amp. 

Really, that doesn't sound like much of a decision!  :)

 

I'm Glad he went with the 200Amp -- I think that was the right choice ;-)

200 vs 400 (post #206747, reply #17 of 40)

Did I really type that?  "200 vs 200".  Ok, LOL.

I was amazed how difficult it was to get definitive advice on 200 vs 400 amp service.  I talked to several electricians.  Some said 200 was plenty for an ALL ELECTRIC house.  Then I said "even with a 120 or 130 amp furnace, and the said ... "well that is a big furnace" as if they had never heard of such a thing.  And the furnace "people" said they would size a furnace at 130 amps ... so.  Some electricans said they would go with 400 amps, but did not really go into any detail.  One guy at the power company said 200 was fine and another guy said you "might" go with 400. 

Load calculations information on the web was all over the map as well.  Some suggested taking heating, cooling, hot water, and cooking appliances and adding out the total load and others more or less said take 40 percent of it.  It seemed to me that it would not be that unlikely a situation for to have a cold Christmas day with teh 130 amp furnace running, a goose in the 50 amp electric furnace, guest taking showers (40 amps) using hot water, and then the well pump kicks on, while others are watching teh Christmas day parade on the big screen.  And yet no one could tell me why that senerio did not warrant 200 PLUS amps.

Pretty strange.

So 400 amps it is.  Not a big big cost difference when doing the work yourself.

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As often as not 400 ends up (post #206747, reply #18 of 40)

As often as not 400 ends up being 320 and that is not unreasonable with 130a of fixed electrical heating load.

The only real way to know is to do a load calculation. I think there are Excel templates out there to make it easy.

 

This is an old one I have but I have not played with it much

 

http://gfretwell.com/electrical/2005load...

Greg

When I upgraded my service (post #206747, reply #22 of 40)

When I upgraded my service panel (from 100 to 200), I did it gradually, cutting circuits over from one panel to the other when they were ready.  The first one I did was the largest ciruit I had, the 40 amp line to my electric oven.

  1. I disconnected the 40a wire in the old panel
  2. I cut the flex conduit and added the length I needed to jump from the old panel to the new panel
  3. I ran new wire from the 40amp breaker in the old panel to a 40 amp breaker in the new panel... and labled it TEMP POWER CUTOFF
  4. I installed a new 40 amp breaker and ran it to my oven.
  5. I then gradually cut over all the other circuits in my house

Eventually, my entire house was running through that single 40amp circuit for about a month.  Never any fade or browns, and I run alot of computers and have a heavy laser printer.

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Did you have ... (post #206747, reply #23 of 40)

Did you have a 130 amp furnace running on that 40 amp breaker?  a 130 amp furnacne and a 40 amp hot water heater. perhaps?

It is interesting how one can get anacodotal (spelling?) stories about what can be done, but no one can explain how it can be ok to run a 130 amp furnace, a 40 amp hot water heater, a 40 amp oven, and xx amp well pump, and x number of lights and TVs simultaneously on a 200 amp service.  This does not seem like a difficult question for anyone claiming (understanding you did not make that claim) to be an electrian, but it is!  Bizzare.

It is easy to understand how you can have x number of breakers in your box totally well over the amperage of teh service.  Obviously many many items are not running simulataneously.  You may have several lighiting circuits and small appliance circuits which total your service enterance amperage, but you do not have every light and every outlet running at the same time.  However, it is more than possible to be running furnance, heating water and cooking a turkey all at the same time. ?????????

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I think the real curve ball (post #206747, reply #27 of 40)

I think the real curve ball for you is actually efficiency.  In my case, I doubt I ever ran all 4 electric burners on HI and had the oven up at 475 and then did a bunch of other things simutaniously.  The line I ran had to accomodate that, but barring that particular event there was still plenty of room on the line, apparently.  Much to my surprise I might add - I fully expected to be resetiing the breakers fairly frequently.

I'll bet that 130 amp furnace is variable speed, and variable temp too.  While it may use the full 130 for a second while it is warming up the coils on max AND starting the blower moter on max... it probably settles back to a much reduced run.

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130 amp furnace (post #206747, reply #28 of 40)

I bet you are right about the furnace draw.  I beleive I even attempted to have a thread here asking if a 130 amp furnace actually drew 130 amps and or when.  No good information was collected, which was par for that question ask of various sources.  This is what I mean by hard to ferit out.

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I did my own meter base and (post #206747, reply #12 of 40)

I did my own meter base and wired the house under a homeowner permit. I had an inspector that absolutely hated homeowners and did everything he could do to discourage and frustrate me. So I had to read lots, study hard and make sure everything was absolutely perfect. I had pulled 15 to 20 permits before that so I had some background experience.

You could pay a pro to do the service, meter base and install the main panel. Then you could so some or all of the branch circuit work. You'd still save lots of money because the branch circuits are were all the work is, and you'd gain valuable experience for the next job. And you'd get to watch and learn from the work the pro does.

Easily DIY in localities that (post #206747, reply #19 of 40)

Easily DIY in localities that let HO pull the permit and do the work.

Most poco have detailed guidelines on what they require (e.g. 3" sch 80 pvc for 400 A service, with 24" wide trench and dirt 24" away, etc. etc. )  Puget Sound energy here in PNW has very specific homeowner guidelines.

WA state constitution has been interpreted that HO are allowed to do own work on home they are living in, your state or locality may be different.

An electrical service is NOT rocket science.  There are also many guidelines on the most common DIY 'mistakes' that inspectors flag, you can find them on the internet.

First hit on search for "common homeowner electrical mistakes" on bing:

 http://electrical.about.com/od/electricalbasics/tp/commonelectricalmistakes.htm

Have at it!

thanks (post #206747, reply #21 of 40)

Thanks, I will check out the link.  That type of information is the exact kind of stuff I think about;  do inspectors care about what type of accorns you use, or the type of outdoor outlet covers, or how many staples you use on the ground wire, etc.  All the little stuff.  The devil is in the details.  As it turned out with this project,  I did enough homework to keep me out of trouble, ... 3 inch conduit vs 2 1/2 etc.  All this stuff the pros know or have been caught by an inspector before and don't make the error again.  For the DIY you have to get alot of detailed information.  Lucky I enjoy it.

I enjoyed the experience of figuring it out including, for the most part, getting ideas and questions form members of this board.  It also gave me a great deal of comfort with the potential of working with my particular inspector again.  I think he was a very helpful guy and will be available for code questions as I move forward.

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I call bs on this post - (post #206747, reply #24 of 40)

I call bs on this post - talking about electrical service like an easy diy project is not only  misleading, in many (most?) areas and all areas I've worked in power companies won't even consider allowing a homeowner to setup what you've allowed - not because it's rocket science, but because it's critical that everything is correct and since most diy types can't even figure out how to properly clean a paintbrush, this is more often than not screwed up.

No this isn't a DIY project.  Yes anyone who is detail oriented and makes good decisions can figure out how to do it. 

This reminds me of a discussions of DIY house jacking to replace a foundation.  No it isn't rocket science, but it's well beyond DIY abilities and sensibilities.

As a contractor if a client wanted to take on this portion of the job I'd have to see something from them this is well above 95% of all homeowners before I'd consider it even if the local code would allow it. 

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

It depends on where you live. (post #206747, reply #25 of 40)

It depends on where you live. In Florida you can do a service as a home owner as long as you get a permit and have it inspected. FPL just wants to see the permit and the inspector sign off. That is online now so they can do it before they even send out a crew.

Greg

Cake Walk Yes (post #206747, reply #26 of 40)

Call BS if you like.  However, this project was a joke.  That is just a fact.  If you must run around and scare everyone be my guest.  And perhaps in some areas, or in the case of some power companies, things might be different, but perhaps rather than scream the sky is falling people should ask questions to clarify the scope of the project.  Just telling please they can not operate (LOL) a screwdriver is not helpful except perhaps in inflating the ego of the naysayer.

I went into this project with a healthy dose of respect of the potential problems and understanding of the areas in which I needed to gain knowledge, which turned out to be a LOT LESS then I first thought.

I came and come to this board to hear from helpful people and also expect to hear from those who think special training is required to use a screwdriver.  Comes with the territory.

Installing my meter base was a piece of cake.  The fact of the matter is the meter was required to be installed prior to the power company even plowing the power line in!  Totally a dead project!  I made this clear in my postings here.  Of course there are those who like to spout off and not actually read the posts and threads before commenting, perhaps an ego thing.

My project entailed:

Set posts.

Hang meter / breaker box on posts

Attach conduit from box to 24 inches below grade.

Drill hole in box for ground wire

Drive two ground wires in ground.

Run and staple ground wire from box to groound rods.

DONE!  (as it was I also installed a 20 amp breaker and outlet in the box and on the post)

These are the facts.  If you would be frightened of this as a project for yourself what can I say.  I do not know your skill level with a screwdriver and sledge hammer.

If people thought this project entailed hooking-up the transformer to the meter, and said that is not a DIY project, I could understand that.  However, one poster said my project was not a DIY project, when I asked why the question was ignored.  Sure glad I ignored him.

This was a joke of a project and saved me 400 to 500 bucks.  And that is not BS.

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 So you set posts.  What is (post #206747, reply #29 of 40)

 So you set posts.  What is an acceptable post as far as size and material? How deep does it need to be set? How out of plumb is acceptable? How close or far apart can the posts be?   What direction do they have to face?  What fasteners are acceptable to attach the posts?  How tall or short can they be?  Something as simple sounding as a post isn't that simple is it.  Our building department would laugh you out of the office if they read your post and how much of a no-brainer electrical service work is!  lol

And no, our building department wouldn't allow you to even fill out an application for a permit if you hadn't already submitted your complete set of plans along with a detailed accounting of all electrical equipment and had that approved.  No, you can't have a meter set if it won't support your finished house.  Your simplistic description of what you did is just that. 

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

 So you set posts.  What is (post #206747, reply #30 of 40)

 So you set posts.  What is an acceptable post as far as size and material? How deep does it need to be set? How out of plumb is acceptable? How close or far apart can the posts be?   What direction do they have to face?  What fasteners are acceptable to attach the posts?  How tall or short can they be?  Something as simple sounding as a post isn't that simple is it.  Our building department would laugh you out of the office if they read your post and how much of a no-brainer electrical service work is!  lol

And no, our building department wouldn't allow you to even fill out an application for a permit if you hadn't already submitted your complete set of plans along with a detailed accounting of all electrical equipment and had that approved.  No, you can't have a meter set if it won't support your finished house.  Your simplistic description of what you did is just that. 

 

Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.