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Old 09-19-2011, 02:53 PM   #1
dirttracker18
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Default 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Here's the story.

I want to upgrade to a 200 amp service but cannot afford it right now. We intend to go underground when we make the switch as we need to upgrade the lines to the house anyway. Currently it is cost prohibitive for us though.

I currently have a 100 amp fuse panel that is just out of room. We are about to start to finish the basement and thus need a new panel for the extra room.

Now the question becomes can I purchase a 200 amp panel but change the main breaker to 100 amp to remain compliant but be ready for the 200 amp service upgrade later?

Is this possible? Are you aware of a panel I can do this with?

I am also open to other ideas or thoughts.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Why don't you look for a cheap subpanel, and route from the main panel to the subpanel if all you're after is more circuit positions?
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Another option would be to install a 100A fused disconnect before the panel, it may or may not be cheaper then changing the main breaker in the panel.
A third option would be to install a 100A breaker in the panel and back feed it. Technically there is nothing wrong with doing this (AC isn't directional...) but you should check with your local inspector to make sure they're ok with it.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirttracker18 View Post
Here's the story.

I want to upgrade to a 200 amp service but cannot afford it right now. We intend to go underground when we make the switch as we need to upgrade the lines to the house anyway. Currently it is cost prohibitive for us though.

I currently have a 100 amp fuse panel that is just out of room. We are about to start to finish the basement and thus need a new panel for the extra room.

Now the question becomes can I purchase a 200 amp panel but change the main breaker to 100 amp to remain compliant but be ready for the 200 amp service upgrade later?

Is this possible? Are you aware of a panel I can do this with?

I am also open to other ideas or thoughts.
First off, what make of pannel do you have now? If it is not some High dollar old zinsco panel or some oddball one. you can remove some of the single breakers and install doubles instead....
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

No, can't do that. Main breaher must be fastened in place in the panal. I think you're out of luck here, I can't think of a panal that will have a holdown for a 100a br
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

install a big new (42 sp or whatever) 200A main breaker panel. Install a 2P 100a branch breaker with a hold down clip. Use this as your main until you do your upgrade. (my response based on usa -i dont know how canada works)

there are also main lug panels that are convertable to main breaker but that will cost more than what i described above.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

here's square D info on the hold down kits
http://static.schneider-electric.us/...1100HO9902.pdf
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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No, can't do that. Main breaher must be fastened in place in the panal. I think you're out of luck here, I can't think of a panal that will have a holdown for a 100a br
Knowing the guys at Eaton, I'm sure they have a 200A Cutler Hammer panel that accepts a 100A Main Breaker. They'll build or have built pretty much anything as long as you can wait. Best bet is to give their sales division a call.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Current panel is a 100 amp Amalgamated FUSE panel. Not only am I out of spots but it is completeley stuffed inside. It was tight when I bought the house and adding 100 amp wire in there for the garage ( currently fused at 60 amps) pretty much filled it up inside.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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Originally Posted by dirttracker18 View Post
Current panel is a 100 amp Amalgamated FUSE panel. Not only am I out of spots but it is completeley stuffed inside. It was tight when I bought the house and adding 100 amp wire in there for the garage ( currently fused at 60 amps) pretty much filled it up inside.
Your out of luck. You will need the 200A upgrade.....
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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Originally Posted by BigJohn20 View Post
Knowing the guys at Eaton, I'm sure they have a 200A Cutler Hammer panel that accepts a 100A Main Breaker. They'll build or have built pretty much anything as long as you can wait. Best bet is to give their sales division a call.
this is a commodity panel being installed on a house, not switchgear for an office building. hardly warrants a call to their sales division.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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this is a commodity panel being installed on a house, not switchgear for an office building. hardly warrants a call to their sales division.
They have a retail/residential sales division that can help out in the OP's situation if he doesn't want to go the route you suggested. The main breaker panel + 100A hold down clip you suggested is probably his quickest, simplest, and cheapest option.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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Originally Posted by BigJohn20 View Post
They have a retail/residential sales division that can help out in the OP's situation if he doesn't want to go the route you suggested. The main breaker panel + 100A hold down clip you suggested is probably his quickest, simplest, and cheapest option.
yeah, but i wouldnt expect a high level of service for one panel to a homeowner and considering he has to cut corners and not upgrade the service for financial reasons a $400 special order panel is out of the question.
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:06 PM   #14
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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yeah, but i wouldnt expect a high level of service for one panel to a homeowner and considering he has to cut corners and not upgrade the service for financial reasons a $400 special order panel is out of the question.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

The 200 amp main breaker inside the new panel would only be protecting the panel, it doesn't care what size wire is supplying it (so long as the lugs are rated for that size). If you do not have an outside disconnect now, the wires from the meter to the panel are unprotected, and changing the panel will not make this situation any different.

The advantage to having a 100 amp main is that it will trip should you overload it and it will prevent you from pulling too much thru the unprotected service wires. It indirectly protects the wires by limiting the load that could be drawn thru them, it will not protect them from short circuits before the panel.

Probably the best course is what mrb has suggested and installed the biggest main breaker panel you can (I prefer full forty space 200 amp Siemens panels with copper bus'es) and buy that 100 amp breaker and a hold down kit and supply it thru the 100 amp. If someday you build a detached shop or garage, you will have the breaker to supply the feeder to it this way.

Charles
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Old 09-19-2011, 10:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

All of the panels available in Canada have a totally different 200A main breaker configuration as compared to the 100A panels,I don't think there is any 100A breaker that will physically work as a 200A main.

The best solution would be to buy your 200A panel,and use it as a subpanel for your new circuits,as well as a few of the circuits from your jam packed fuse box.Use the largest fuse slot available(hopefully at least a 60A fuse) and the corresponding sized cable to feed your new subpanel,feeding it through the 200A main won't be an issue.When the time comes to upgrade your new service,run it to the new panel and move the remainder of the circuits from the fuse box.This method won't have you trying to track down hard to find bits and pieces that will just get tossed in the future.

Everybody else has suggested some good ideas,but as always,product availability and what is commonly used in one area can be totally different only a couple of hundred miles away!
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:18 PM   #17
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Select a sub panel that would allow about 4 to 8 extra circuits...... bring some of the old circuits from the fuse panel to the sub panel if required.

To save on later cost, select a panel brand that you would like to use in the future when you upgrade the service and the panel. This way you can re-use the breakers. I always recommend when upgrading you get the biggest panel possible.... you will have the thing for the life of the house, so buy once with no regrets.

When you do your upgrade (since your house is probably older since it has a fuse panel), remember to insulate behind the panel with a piece of rigid foam (1.5 inch should do), and mount it to a piece of quality 3/4 plywood for neatness and looks.

Good luck!

R
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:46 AM   #18
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Many interesting thoughts guys thanks. Some currently above my comprehension of electrical but nothing I can't work out.

As it turns out my father is friends with a local electical inspector. I am going to have a coffee with him and pick his brain about what might be the best option (and what they will pass!).

I will present some of the options listed here for his thoughts as well.

Thanks again guys!
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:55 PM   #19
Charles (in GA)
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

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Originally Posted by tfi racing View Post
All of the panels available in Canada have a totally different 200A main breaker configuration as compared to the 100A panels,I don't think there is any 100A breaker that will physically work as a 200A main.
We were not suggesting removing the 200 amp breaker and replacing it with a 100 amp. Instead we were suggesting leaving the 200 amp main breaker in the panel in place, just not connected to anything, and supplying the panel with a 100 amp double pole breaker that will plug onto the stabs of the panel, and then back feeding the panel thru this breaker. The 100 amp will act as the main for the panel, until such time as the original poster decides to upgrade his service and replace the wires from the pole to the meter can, the meter can itself and the wires from the meter to the panel, at that time he can connect to the 200 amp main and then remove the wires from the 100 amp breaker. He could re-use the 100 amp breaker as a sub feed to another panel (in a garage or shop) or remove it from the panel alltogether.

If the OP does this, he needs to be sure and tape over the 200 amp breaker and mark it unused/dead and mark the 100 amp as MAIN DISCONNECT so someone won't trip the 200 amp thinking they were turning off something. As an alternative, the 200 amp could be removed from the panel and stored until it is needed for the 200 amp upgrade, but this is overkill.

Charles

Last edited by Charles (in GA); 09-20-2011 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:16 PM   #20
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Default Re: 200 amp panel with 100 amp main?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirttracker18 View Post
Many interesting thoughts guys thanks. Some currently above my comprehension of electrical but nothing I can't work out.

As it turns out my father is friends with a local electical inspector. I am going to have a coffee with him and pick his brain about what might be the best option (and what they will pass!).

I will present some of the options listed here for his thoughts as well.

Thanks again guys!
Unfortunately it looks like most of the people that posted here never read your first few post. All they did was go on a rant that ended up not having anything to do with your problem even after you said that you have a fuse panel and not a breaker panel. That's why I asked the question on what you had installed now. Anyway it looks like you are doing the proper thing and having coffee with the inspector. You may find out that you will need a new drop or underground feed to supply that new 200A Panel which will need to be done buy the Power company. The panels and the breakers are pretty cheap as long as you pick the proper manufactures. Good luck on your project
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