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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3

    Default Panel w/too many breakers

    I recently purchased a 130+ year old home, and in the inspection we found the main panel had too many breakers (and Fed Pacific ones at that) than the panel recommends. Can I fix this problem or defray some of the electrician costs on my own?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lakeland ,MN
    Posts
    356

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by erjohns007 View Post
    I recently purchased a 130+ year old home, and in the inspection we found the main panel had too many breakers (and Fed Pacific ones at that) than the panel recommends. Can I fix this problem or defray some of the electrician costs on my own?
    42 circuits is the maximum in an electrical panel. If it is more then that amount then you have too many. Keep in mind the main breaker if you have one counts as two in a residential single phase service.
    Now older Federal Pacific panels have bad reputation of the breakers not locking in the panel buss bar. The breakers also are know not to trip in an over current condition or a short circuit condition. I have personally put a wire on a grounded steel pipe and the breaker never tripped on Federal pacific panel. I suggest if you value your property to have this replaced immediately. This is not a job for a homeowner but maybe you can offer to the electrician to be his helper and defer some cost.
    Harry

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    Thanks for the response. I will defintitely call the electrician.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by erjohns007 View Post
    I recently purchased a 130+ year old home, and in the inspection we found the main panel had too many breakers (and Fed Pacific ones at that) than the panel recommends. Can I fix this problem or defray some of the electrician costs on my own?
    What exactly did the inspector find in regard to too many breakers? Now that is a new one.
    I agree with R53, ditch the Fed Pac load center ASAP.
    And hire out, it is not a job to do if you have to ask. Stay safe...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    I may have misspoken....there were 10 disconnect handles and the panel manufacturer's specification per the wiring diagram is 6.
    Does that make sense?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    Yes, makes sense. By code you can only have six throws of the hand to disconnect all power to a residence. That means at most you should have six breakers that control all the power to your house. More than likely you have an FPE panel without a main breaker but instead it is a split bus panel. The top half has room for five two pole breakers and a 60 amp breaker that controls the bottom half of the panel. If you have 10 breakers on the top half then your panel is in violation of the six hand rule. It probably could be solved by setting a subpanel next to that panel and feed it with a 40 or 50 amp breaker and take some of the 10 out of the main panel and put them in the subpanel but all of that effort is wasted considering you have the poorest of the poor in reguards to panel boxes. Best and safest bet is to have a service upgrade.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by erjohns007 View Post
    I may have misspoken....there were 10 disconnect handles and the panel manufacturer's specification per the wiring diagram is 6.
    Does that make sense?
    Yes it does, thanks for the info...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Panel w/too many breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by gktapper View Post
    Yes, makes sense. By code you can only have six throws of the hand to disconnect all power to a residence. That means at most you should have six breakers that control all the power to your house. More than likely you have an FPE panel without a main breaker but instead it is a split bus panel. The top half has room for five two pole breakers and a 60 amp breaker that controls the bottom half of the panel. If you have 10 breakers on the top half then your panel is in violation of the six hand rule. It probably could be solved by setting a subpanel next to that panel and feed it with a 40 or 50 amp breaker and take some of the 10 out of the main panel and put them in the subpanel but all of that effort is wasted considering you have the poorest of the poor in reguards to panel boxes. Best and safest bet is to have a service upgrade.
    It think I posted this before, but I believe Cutler Hammer also produced such a beast at one time.

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