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Electrical Problem: How Do I Remove A Load Center?


I have replaced over 100 electrical panels in the past 5 years. You must locate your meter base. The meter base is the source of power for the existing load center. The National Electrical Code requires a main breaker in one of these. Saving money leads many electrical contractors to using cheaper meter bases. The more expensive meter bases have a main breaker within the box. If one is located inside the junction area, I flip that breaker off. The cycling of the breaker eliminates the energized service feeders from shocking the technician. A multi-meter will verify that there is no voltage in your load center. If there is no main breaker in the service entrance, you will have to contact the electric utility. It is illegal to remove the actual meter yourself.

Most counties and municipalities require a permit and inspection. As the contractor, I must coordinate the utility provider’s presence and an inspection after completion. The utility will refuse to reconnect your power until the inspection has been approved. Usually, we pull the permit.The work needs to be scheduled with the power company. The inspection will need to be scheduled for the same day. Failure to satisfy the inspectors requirements will delay reconnection of the electricity.

I always provide a load center with a main breaker. If the service entrance contains a main breaker, one is not required in the electrical panel. The main breaker in both locations may appear to be overkill. Dual overcurrent protection is a positive reinforcement of electrical safety. Be sure to review your load calculation before removing your existing box. A remodeling upgrade of this sort isn’t for the faint of heart. I usually perform the removal of these accompanied by an electrical apprentice or another journeyman electrician.

The process needs to be thought through. You must consider the degree of difficulty. The reconnection of electricity is the largest motivating factor. An advantages of permitting this process are many. Insurance companies will usually provide consumer discounts for electrical upgrades. There is a flip side to that album. If there is a fire issue in the future, the insurance company will deny coverage when there is no permitted inspection before reconnection. The local utilities would reconnect without an inspection. Generally due to local laws and regulations restrict their ability to reconnect without the inspector’s go ahead. Think twice before doing this. The local electrical contractor could have you over a huge barrel. The time to ask for help is before trouble is spotted.

George Argo

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