Electrical Repair Questions? Ask an Electrician for Answers ASAP
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1) Are you looking to add a sub-panel? If so, how many amps? What is the approximate distance from the main electrical panel to the sub-panel?
2) Does your main electrical panel have (2) two consecutive slots available to accommodate the double pole feeder breaker?
3) Will the sub-panel be in line of site from the main electrical panel or located in a detached building from the main electrical panel?
4) What is the amperage of the main breaker on your main electrical panel? ie, 100, 150 or 200 amps?
I ahve put together a link that describes what I am looking for...
Need general advice..
1) I assume the duplex is a rental property currently with separate tenants?
2) Since you already have 2 individual meters and the building is a duplex, will the additional rooms be considered as part of the duplex or as separate tenants? In other words, will the duplex remain as 2 separate tenants or now 4 separate tenants.
3) Will somebody be residing on the property where the electrical systems will be under continuous building management supervision?
1. yes duplex is a rental property
2. the two additional efficiency rooms have already been rented. They are now actually 4 seperate tenants. I guess it is now a fourplex
3. my handyman had connected two wires from the existing duplex panels to service the efficiency room.
4. there is o onsite building management..That is why I would like to bring the units to acceptable standards..by having at the minimum a seperate sub-panels.
1) So to confirm, this property will be considered as 4 separate units.
It is a 4 unit..that is correct...We converted one room garage on either side of the duplex to a one room efficiency apartment on each side..The city has no local ordinances..Its upto us to either add two more meters or subpanels..
I have described more details about each unit on the weblink I sent earlier..
1) Per the 2011 National Electrical Code typically only allows 1 service to a building. However, there are a few exceptions and your local Authority Having Jurisdiction can provide comments on that area.
2) In a multiple occupancy building, each occupant must have readily available access for disconnecting means unless the building will be under continuous management supervision. The use of a typical sub-panel would not fulfill the requirements from the 2011 NEC, Articles 230.2(B) and 230.72(C). I recommend to run this past your local electrical contractor. With only 2 separate meters but 4 separate tenants, there is no way to break out the electrical usage for the 2 new tenants, thus the purpose of individual meters.
3) Since the building is now considered as 4 separate occupants, a common arrangement would be to have 4 separate meters installed in exterior equipment called a meter pack. The individual meter would then be connected to a main breaker panel. I would recommend that you contact your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (local electrical inspector) as well as a licensed electrical contractor and have a site meeting. Reason being is that many local electrical codes across the United States will prevail on this type of an installation.
For example, some AHJ's may require an individual main breaker disconnect switch within the meter pack while other AHJ's may only require a main breaker in an individual panel as the means of disconnect. Only your local electrical inspector can provide to you and to the local electrical contractor as to what is acceptable code in your area.
4) The use of inside aluminum wiring has not been used in the United States since the early 1970's. Copper wiring for inside use has always been the standard use of conductors since the early 1970's. If the wiring is only 10 to 15 years old, this wiring should have been copper and not aluminum. A licensed electrical contractor should check all of the aluminum wiring connections at each device (wall switches, receptacles, etc) and splices.
5) I would also recommend to have a licensed electrical contractor meet with the local electrical utility representative and have them provide you with options. Typically, the electrical utility is the responsible party to provide the overhead wires from their transformer and pole to your riser weather head mast. Very possible, the AHJ will require you to upgrade the service amperage on this building.
Hope this helps.........If you have any additional questions, let me know and I'll be glad to answer them for you.
Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off. The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at: http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-your-electrician ..........Thanks..............Kevin!
Thanks for your comments...Two points that I would like to clarify.
1) I have met with local reps and the utility company already.They dont have an opinion one way or the other..
2) assuming that I can appoint an onsite building manager, could I than have a subpanel installed for each of these rooms..If so, what type of subpanel do you recommend that can service these one room apartments.
3) In the event that i go ahead install new meters, what type of a panel system do u recommend?
Your other answers and advice is appreciated..
Syed... thanks for your replies.
1) I'm surprised that the local city ordinance does not cover this. Many local electrical codes across the United States are due to what the local fire departments require.
2) If installing a sub-panel, I would recommend that the 2 main panels be de-installed and upgraded. Based on the picture, it appears the panel is maxed out and no available space for a feeder breaker and future branch circuits. Not sure how many amps you currently have for each panel, but the current NEC requires a minimum of 100 amp service for each main panel. Without knowing all of the existing loads, I would recommend that the service be a 200 amp service each and run a 100 amp sub-panel off of each 200 amp main. This will provide and allow for any future growth requirements. Especially in the event of upgrading the stovetop to a 240 volt stove or a 240 volt Air Conditioner.
Although, you could possibly get away with a 100 amp main service panel and run a 60 amp sub-panel. Thus (2) 100 amp mains and (2) 60 amp sub's. In either arrangement you would still have the 2 separate meters, 2 main panels and 2 sub's. Either way, load calculations by the licensed electrician should be performed to ensure the required amperage on the main and the sub's and allow for any future growth requirements.
If installing a sub-panel, the feeder circuit must be a 4-wire circuit, ie, 2 hots, 1 neutral and 1 equipment ground. At the sub, the neutral bus bar must remain isolated from the panels metal enclosure. The neutral always remains as floating in any sub-panel installation.
3) Seimens, Cutler-Hammer, Square-D and GE are all reputable panel manufacturers. I like the Seimens model the most since I am familiar with them, although they are all good panels. For fire department purposes, I would recommend that the sub panels be a main breaker type and not a main lug type. In the event the fire department would ever need to disconnect service on the sub-panel room, all they need to do is turn the sub's main breaker to OFF instead of locating the feeder breaker in the main panel as the means of disconnect. I would label each sub-panel with the respective unit number on the building.
4) If considering a meter bank, go to your local electrical supply store. Most likely the electrical supplier will be a distributor for Milbank metering equipment. Here is a link to Milbank's web site for Multi-Position meter sockets. I would recommend a Multi-Position meter socket with its own individual main breaker disconnect. Milbank is a very common meter socket manufacturer and very reputable company.
5) The use of inside aluminum wiring is at many times considered as a potential safety issue since many electricians improperly installed aluminum wiring and did not size the conductors accordingly, not using AL rated devices for switches, receptacles, etc and not using proper AL wire nut splices. I would highly recommend that a qualified licensed electrician inspect these.
Otherwise, don't forget to rate me before you log Off.
The next time you have an electrical question, you can also request for me at:http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-your-electrician ..........Thanks..............Kevin!
Syed...... thank you for the excellent service rating as well as the bonus............much appreciated!
Take care and have a great evening...............Thanks again............Kevin!
Thank you for your professional advice. I may consult with you more as I progress further on this project.