It is important to note that electrical codes change, and that in some areas local electrical codes are not the same as the National Electrical code. The local authority having jurisdiction in your area may have different codes than the national code. It is important to find out if the local residential codes differ from the national code, your local authority having jurisdiction is the final judge and jury.
Home Electrical Service Panel
If you intend to replace your entire existing electrical service by doing it yourself there are some things you will need to consider before you start, let’s go through some of the things you will need to consider.
1) Before you decide to "do it yourself", check the local codes in your area to find out if you are allowed to do the wiring in your home. Some areas require that a licensed electrician do the work.
2) Check and see if a permit is required.
3) Call your electric company and schedule a power disconnect and reconnect for the day you plan to do the work. Also check with them for any special requirements they may have at the service connection point and meter base.
4) Find someone willing to help you with the project, you really want to get it done the same day and a little help would be nice.
5) Next you will need to get a parts list together, some parts will depend what type of service you have and how bad of shape your existing service is in. You will need to decide exactly needs to be replaced. If you are upgrading your service you will basically need everything.
Note: The New 2008 National Electrical Code requires combination Arc Fault Breakers for all 15 and 20 amp circuits in a home.
Every electrical service can be different but here are some ideas for your parts list.
Main Electrical panel – Make sure the ampere rating of the panel is the same as the ampere rating of the service cable providing power to the panel.
Circuit Breakers – Take the cover off your existing panel ( Be careful not to touch any live power!) and check that the size of wire going to each breaker is the right size for each breaker. Ex. 12g wire connected to a 20 amp breaker and so on. This is to make sure who ever worked on it in the past did things correctly. Now you should have a list of what circuit breakers you will need for your new panel.
Service cable – If needed.
Service cable straps.
2 8ft Ground rods 5/8” in diameter.
2 acorn ground clamps
2 pipe ground clamps
#4 bare ground wire
A meter base if needed.
Connectors for service cable
Hub for the top of the meter base
Noalox® Anti-Oxidant Compound
A junction box (just in case some of the cables are not long enough)
The above list are only suggestions for you to think about, without seeing the work that needs to be done it would be impossible for me to give an exact list.
Assuming you have taken care of everything above, let’s get some work done. Of course if you are replacing an existing service you will need to begin by removing everything that you are replacing. That is after the power has been disconnected.
More Do it yourself Electrical Service Tips
The new code requires 2 ground rods in certain situations, to make it easy just install two 8ft by 5/8” ground rods 8 feet apart, and run a #4 bare ground wire from one to the other and than to the electrical panel ground bar. Do not cut the wire at the middle ground rod connection, use a acorn clamp and have the ground wire pass directly through it without a break it the wire.