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#42073 09/23/04 12:41 AM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
I've often wondered why so many resi EC's (around me at least) use 30 circuit loadcenters with stabs allowing twin breakers, then use the twins to fill the last 10 spaces to get all their circuits in. The loadcenter isn't that much cheaper than a 40 circuit, and the use of twins run their cost over what a 40 with standard breakers would be. One day I'll get brave and ask one of them at the supply house why. I mean really, just how cheap and bottom line can we get?

We also often trace under-used circuits down to tie together, so that we have a available space for an added 20 amp circuit. It's either that, or the sub-panel route, which takes finding TWO spaces just to add the breaker feeding the sub.

#42074 09/23/04 06:34 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 449
NJWireman, I resent the inference to "ripping off" anyone. I don't worry about getting undercut. I have walked away from more than a few jobs where the customer/GC insisted on gutting the electric down to bare minimum. What I think is the true rip-off is a new installation that leaves no room for the inevitable expansion without spending 100s of dollars to add a couple of new circuits when $25.00 extra spent on a full-sized panel or another $50.00 on a sub at the time of construction would have cut the customer miles of slack. If another $25-50 on a $7000 job is going to make/break the EC he's not long for the business. And you're right about one thing in your post, word gets around. I haven't advertised for years and I turn down more work than I take on because there's only so many hours in a day. I've watched dozens of ECs who did whatever it took to cut the price to get a job come and go around here in the last 25 years.

#42075 09/23/04 08:58 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 186
Ok, i will have to agree after waking up this morning and having some time to think about it further, i will say i take back what i said about ripping it off and your last post puts it more in perspective. I just dont know if the ec i work for would allow us to do it. It must be a hard sell? BUT i do totally agree with always being ready for the future, hell i have done jobs where i pulled two spare circuits to the attic and boxed them off just for future use. Regardles i apoligze for the term ripping off that was a little harsh. Im sure you do great work for a great price.

#42076 09/23/04 09:06 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
i thought piggy back breakers were for existing work only?

you can not use piggy backs on new construction where i am from and get a sticker...

i do not even see a reason why on a new home with a 200A serv one would not install the largest panel available (within reason)

i always leave room for expansion..


[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-23-2004).]

[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 09-23-2004).]

#42077 09/23/04 09:11 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Per Article 90.1(B) paraphrase..following the NEC will result in a safe installation, but not necessarily adequate.

I'm all for leaving spaces in new installations. I just did a 200-amp upgrade that I thought was around 25 circuits. I installed a 40-circuit panel rather than a 30-circuit. As it turned out, with splitting up some circuits and adding some I ended up around 30 circuits.

In the "to each their own" category, I rarely research circuits to find space (unless I've wired the circuits with my usual over-kill), or use half-sized breakers in a full panel. In my opinion, it's time for a sub-panel or service upgrade.

For every customer who can't or won't go for the expense there are three that appreciate it being done right. Researching and half breakers only delay the problem of an inadequate service, and often these services are 100-amp that should be upgraded to 200-amp.

In this area, many of these 100-amp services have an ancient, worn, cloth-covered service entrance cable barely hanging on the house (thanks to the siders). Researching, mini-breakers and sub-panels aren't my idea of a good solution.


#42078 09/23/04 12:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
I disagree about upgrading to 200 amps without doing any load analysis. I have found that in most all cases, the electric service is underloaded not overloaded. It has become a point of macho pride to some homeowners about the size of their electric service; "mine is bigger than yours" has grown to include the electric panel too.
It is true that some homes have old, worn out services, and it is true that it does not cost all that much more to install a 200 amp panel and riser. But, if the service and panel are still in good shape, I feel that a load analysis is good sense.

#42079 09/30/04 11:31 AM
Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 18
Let me get this right, in Chicago land residential wood frame new construction requires EMT throughout?

I'd have to see it to believe it, my eyes would be as big as saucers.

1/2" stick of emt about $2-$3 a stick

#42080 09/30/04 04:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 174
bot540 Offline OP
Yes, houses have to be piped in Chicago.

Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3
#42081 10/01/04 10:28 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
My house was built to Chicago code in the 30's.

The whole thing (well, 95%+) is piped in rigid. Makes you have a lot of respect for our ancestors in the EC biz... back in the day when bit and brace, linen covered rubber wires, and soldered splices were the norm.

(no offense, but give me EMT, THHN, and Milwaukee power tools!)

#42082 10/01/04 02:24 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 29
Chicago and most of the surrounding counties require conduit, EMT for interior, GRC or IMC for exterior, PVC allowed sometimes for underground. New residential all conduit, no MC cable or BX or NM cable. Smurf tube not allowed either in most areas. You gentlemen from other planets (cuz Chicago can be so weird it is almost a separate planet) would be amazed at how fast an experienced crew can rough a wood frame house - I believe our res guy said a typical 3 bedroom 2 story gets roughed in about 24-30 man hours... 3 guys usually a day or so.
Doug, my mom's house was built in the 1920's, we still have the original blueprints... was a big help when I did my first 'side job' rewiring the whole house. Got bit hard by my first 'Chicago 3-way'

Even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then
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