How To Tell If Your Electric Service Needs Replacing

Insurance companies no longer accept electrical services with a smaller capacity than 100 amps. Do not rely on the nameplate on the electrical panel to make the determination of the service size. Often a panel is illegally (no permit or inspection from the Electrical Safety Authority) changed by an unauthorized person as a stopgap measure with no regard to the safety of the installation. Also, do not rely on the hydro meter as they are all rated at 200 amp regardless of the service size.

100 amp services have an incoming conduit size of 1-1/4″ with #3 AWG copper wire (#2 AWG aluminum) and 200 amp services have an incoming conduit size of 2″ with #3/0 AWG copper wire (#4/0 aluminum). If you have no idea what any of that means you need to consult a licenced electrical contractor to make the determination. Do not guess, because if you are wrong it could affect your insurance coverage.

Many insurance companies still accept fuse panels with some caveats. The minimum size must be 100 amps. There must be safety rejecters in place to make sure only the correct size of fuse for the associated circuit can be installed. A licenced electrical contractor or an Electrical Safety Authority inspector must inspect it and provide certification that the panel is correctly installed and safe for use.

Here is an inspection you can do yourself. Switch off the main switch for your fuse panel. Remove and replace the fuses one-by-one. You are looking for burn marks where the bottom of the fuse contacts the electricity distribution bars in the back of the panel. The connection point should be clean. If not, consult a licensed electrical contractor for replacement with a breaker panel.

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