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Service Panel Question

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by zendiagrams, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. mikeyny

    mikeyny Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    upstate ny
    I have seen a lot of big house's in my day that have every gadget under the sun, electric heat, multiple refrig's electric gates, hot tubs, etc,etc, and have never even approached using 200 amps all at once. That on demand water heater sounds like it use's way too much, and would cost too much just to run it . Put it on e-bay and get a gas unit or better yet some solar stuff.
    Mike

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  2. burnham

    burnham Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
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    Loc:
    central massachusetts
    That's 100% correct. Forget about the Bosch unit, there are way cheaper ways to make hot water.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Agreed, I didn't want to be a wet blanket, and I considered one of these heaters, for about 15 minutes.

    But the plan to upgrade the Zinsco panel is still a good one.
  4. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    Nov 23, 2005
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    northern massachusetts
    the electric unit is not worth it. that 125 draws almost 112 amps every time someone turn on the hot water. if someone is taking a 15 min shower thats drawing 112 amps for 15 mins. if you had a electric water heater tank it draws it's load for about 20 mins and that is 4500 watts which is 18.75 amps alot less on the meter. if you talk to the tank manuf. they say that the 50 gal tank is usually the way to go. someone early said that a water tank is 7000 watts. no, not a residential tank. the residential tank has at most 4500 watt elements top and bottom. they are on only one at a time. how that works is the top on goes on and heats the top portion of the tank, when it is up to temp it shuts off the top element and turns on the bottom so only 18.75 amps draw. def. not worth it.
    as far as your service goes i don't remember if you said that you are the original owners of the house. so if you are not maybe someone before you had a main breaker that had gone bad and the only thing that was available at the time was a 150 amp breaker. usually the panels that hold 150 amps can hold 200 amps. that would be on the sticker inside on the panel door. you can't physically fit a breaker larger than 125 in a 100 amp panel if it is a residential panel. so like what was said earlier if you have 4/O aluminum or 2/O copper you have a 200 amp cable. if it were me i would leave it alone. if that company that made that panel had problems and you are running all electric everything i would change the panel in the near future just to be on the safe side.

    that is what i would recommend to my customers.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
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    8,807
    Loc:
    base of Mt. Rainier on the wet side, WA
    Hi Fbelec, it was me that used the 7000 watt figure for the tank heater only as a conservative figure and based on the 30 amp circuit breaker. Apples to apples since we were looking at the 3-40 amp breakers on the bosch unit. The bosch unit certainly doesn't actually use all 120 amps since as you know, the breakers are not meant to be 100% loaded.

    Look at the bright side, the Zinsco breakers are very difficult to find if you need to replace one. You will need to replace one when they arc out and fail to reset. The old breakers in your panel that are still good are marketable. Check ebay. You should be able to sell them off and help pay for the panel swap.
  6. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,659
    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    hi
    there are very very few of those panels around here left, but we do have a bunch of federal pacific panels around here in the northeast still up and running. that company has gone south do to the many times they were in court settling cases to which their panels failed and took the house with it.
    the way i like and the way i make my hot water is thru a boiler that burns at 90% eff. and has a aluminum core with a stainless storage tank. very fast and i almost never run out of hot water and my tank is only 45 gals. we run the dishwasher, clothes washer and i take a shower all at the same time.

    sorry that's not what this thread was about.
  7. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    6,205
    Loc:
    Carver, MA.
    Hello fbelec,
    I don't know about you but my experience with FPE service panels and breakers are the worst equipment I have ever seen! I have seen FPE 20 amp breakers loaded to 35 amps for an hr. and NOT trip! I used to dread opening FPE panels because when you took off the cover all the breakers would just fall out of the panel under load! What has your experience been with FPE?

    Ray
  8. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    Nov 23, 2005
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    northern massachusetts
    hey ray
    same thing here. at the very least you shut off a breaker or four. bad design all around. i've got to a panel once that the breaker never popped and the bad connection that the breaker had to the buss bar melted the breaker and the buss bar itself. they were lucky that i got there before it continued to outside the panel. if anybody out there has a federal pacific electric panel get it changed.
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