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60 amp service on a breaker panel ?


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Hey everyone,

I am clueless when it comes to electrical so I need all the help I can get.

We have 60 amp service (to be upgraded this winter) but there is a 100 amp breaker panel that it's connected to.

Is this safe ?

Secondly, anyway to figure out which breaker turns off what when they're unlabled ... besides switching it off and going on a hunt to see what isn't working ?

Thanks everyone =o)

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You can't have more panel than service. Electrical is figured on potential, meaning, you have the potential for 100 amps going through a 60 amp service causing overheating which can lead to all kinda things happening. None of which are good.

I see this alot in older homes that have gas appliances and heat. As time goes by people add a dishwasher or disposal, other things get added and before you know it the panel is full. So instead of doing a service change and upgrading to 125 or 150 amps someone takes the old panel out and puts in a panel with more capacity but leaves the old 60 amp meter and service wire. Usually because if they don't change the outside sevice they don't have to get a city inspection.

It needs to be upgrade and thats what I tell my clients when I find this situation.

Buster

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Originally posted by newhomeowner

Hey everyone,

I am clueless when it comes to electrical so I need all the help I can get.

We have 60 amp service (to be upgraded this winter) but there is a 100 amp breaker panel that it's connected to.

Is this safe ?

No. If you really have a 60-amp service and if you really have a 100-amp panel connected to it, then you've got a situation where the 100-amp panel can draw too much electricity from the service and overheat the wires. On the other hand, the loads that are connected to the 100-amp panel might not total 60-amps.

However, and I mean no offense, you may not really know what you have or haven't got. I strongly recommend that you pay an electrician $100 or so to tell you what you have and what you should do to make it better. While he's there, he can tell you what it'll cost so that you can plan accordingly.

Secondly, anyway to figure out which breaker turns off what when they're unlabled ... besides switching it off and going on a hunt to see what isn't working ?

Thanks everyone =o)

There are circuit tracers that would help with that, but they're spendy -- not the sort of thing that a homeowner would want to pay for. In addition to your plan, you might try the opposite -- turn off all circuits save one, then go hunting; it might be easier that way. Do one or two circuits per day and reward yourself each day. The tedium will pass.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by homnspector

Listen for quiet?

I did not think I would have to actually take the time to explain what that means. I really hope that you are kidding with me. In case you were serious I will explain it with more detail.

What I meant was that when the radio is playing loudly, and you can hear it from where the breaker panel is located, if you turn off a breaker and the radio stops playing (and it becomes quiet [:-banghea[:-dunce]) it means that you shut off the breaker that controls that particular outlet and you will be able to use the information to map out the circuits.

The visual light circuit method works well as long as you are able to see the room from the breaker panel. In my house the electric panel is in the garage and I can only see about 10% of the light circuits from where the panel is located.

Here is a way to use your light method [;)]. Get a really long extension cord, run it from the breaker panel area to the room where you want to evaluate the outlets, plug a lamp into the extension cord near the breaker panel side and then plug it into the outlet you want to test. Watch the lamp, turn off the breakers (one at a time so you know which one is controlling the outlet) and when the lamp turns off you know that you are controlling that particular outlet. Just make sure that you don't face the extension cord the wrong way because then you will have to take the time to switch it around the other way.

Working with a partner, a small plug-in night light, and walkie talkies is still the best method if you don't want to purchase any special tools.

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