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  1. #1
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    Feb 2009
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    Default 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Today I saw a 200 amp service and disconnect serving 9- 100 amp panels in an older apartment building. It's all single phase. It seems to me that is way beyond allowable tolerances. They are Federal Pacific Stab-Lok panels (yes I know and will disclose that issue) So the wirng vintage is late 70's. But I would imagine that not much has changed regarding allowable tolerances. There's not much electrical load at any of the apartments except 2 have 220 volt dryers. All others is 110v lighting circuits. How can you have a 200 amp service with 900 amp load potential? is this OK? What, do I report this as 200 amp service to a 12,000 SF building. Heck, I also did a 7,000 SF home today that had a 400 amp service but everything matched up there.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    If you had added up the handle ratings on the new house you probably could have have had over a 1000 amps. Adding the handles is meaningless as it does nothing to account for diversity for loads not used at the same time.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Not to worry - those are, as you noted, FPE panels, so nothing is going to trip anyway.

    I would be more concerned with the fact that those old FPE panels have breakers which operate vertically instead of horizontally and that half of the breakers operate with 'ON' in the 'down' position.

    Write it all up as needing to be replaced - you know that none of it will actually be replaced, though, right?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Lol, good point Jerry. and you're right, it won't get replaced. Of course I wrote all this up including the fact that it is a minimal service and should also be upgraded when the panels are replaced. It just seemed extreme to me that even in the 70's it was okay to have a service that is only 20% of the panel load potential. Most of the time it's the opposite. They're already staring to add things in the apartments like window AC units, stackable washer/dryers. It's conceivable that the 200 amp main could overload. But of course not trip because it's a stab-lok.

    When "functional" is not good enough, Call Final Analysis Home Inspections, Virginia Beach VA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    FLORIDA
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    41

    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    I hope that the 200amp main breaker has not been jumped. Did you take a peek?
    I have forgotten several times to inspect the wiring of the main breaker..usually when it is located in a separate panel.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Daniel,
    It doesn't look to me like the 200 amp main has anything to do with the other panels. It appears the service comes in below all the panels and goes out at the top. Hard to tell where the 200 main is metered though....maybe outside?


  7. #7
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    It doesn't look to me like the 200 amp main has anything to do with the other panels. It appears the service comes in below all the panels and goes out at the top.
    Looking at the photo, it looks to me like there is a conduit coming down from above and feeding the 200 amp disconnect, which then has a conduit coming out the bottom of it and feeding the wire gutter below, which runs from the 200 amp disconnect at the right of the photo to under all of the panels going to the left on the photo, and then feeding up to each of those panels.

    As to whether there is another disconnect ahead of the 200 amp disconnect shown in the photo ... ??? ... the photo does not address that, neither does it address where the meter is.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    I guess I just have never seen a main breaker thats installed before the meter. But after all, I have never seen an electrical gutter that is a solar system either!!


  9. #9
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    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    I guess I just have never seen a main breaker thats installed before the meter.
    That is quite common for apartments and condos as there is "one" service and that "one" service requires a main disconnect (unless there are only size units off the service, then each unit main 'could' serve as one of the allowed six main disconnects).

    Typically the installation will be a disconnect for the entire service (or up to six disconnects), then there will be a "house" meter and panel which provides the electrical for the building's common areas, lights, air conditioning, heating, etc.; then there will be one meter and disconnect for each unit in the condo or apartment building. If there are 10 units, there will be one service disconnect (or two service disconnects as the "house" panel may have its own disconnect, making two disconnects) and then either 10 or 11 disconnects for the units and the house panel (11 if the house panel disconnect is not one of the two main disconnects). Different electrical system designers typically prefer one way over the other, the code allows either way, so it is not uncommon to find apartments wired one way in one locale and wired another way in another locale.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Jerry, I forget you other poor inspectors don't have A D Miller kicking a$$ with all the builders and city inspectors. We get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Nothing but beautiful installations around here.

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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: 200 amp service disconnect for 9-100 amp panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Burnett View Post
    Jerry, I forget you other poor inspectors don't have A D Miller kicking a$$ with all the builders and city inspectors.
    Least you forget ... "city inspectors" ... I be one now ...

    We get to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Nothing but beautiful installations around here.
    Eventually, there will be nothing but "beautiful installations" around where I am now ...

    How many services on that one building? How many "main service disconnects"? I suspect it will not be as many as you are thinking.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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