DIYER’S dilemma

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES -

their elec­tric­ity for the amount of time it takes to in­stall a new panel, usu­ally a few hours. To my un­der­stand­ing, there is no charge for this ser­vice as it is in­cluded in the per­mit fee. At the end of my re­search, I de­cided it was eas­ier to hire a cer­ti­fied elec­tri­cian to swap my 100-amp ser­vice for a newer and larger one. As a ded­i­cated DIYer, this de­ci­sion was not easy for me to make. How­ever, at the same time, I was not pre­pared to jump through all the hoops re­quired to ob­tain a per­mit. More­over, I’m get­ting too old to climb a 10-me­tre lad­der to dis­con­nect the #3 wire from the pole to the house and connect a new length of #3/0 wire re­quired for a 200-amp ser­vice. Also needed would be a larger mast and con­nec­tors to re­ceive the heav­ier wire at the house. Though I couldn’t get Hy­dro to con­firm it, I be­lieve the switch and wiring on the pole may have needed to be up­graded as well. My story has a bit­ter­sweet end. Though my DIYer’s ego re­ceived a shock­ing blow, the elec­tri­cian I hired did save me a lot of time and, as it turned out, money. He pointed out that a 125-amp ser­vice was more than suf­fi­cient to meet my home’s power needs as I don’t have an elec­tric fur­nace, air con­di­tioner, dish­washer, hot tub or any other power-suck­ing ameni­ties that re­quire a 200-amp or larger ser­vice. Also, the new 125-amp panel did not re­quire the #3 over­head wire to be re­placed by #3/0 ca­ble, and the mast did not need to be re­placed by a heav­ier one. The happy re­sult was I saved at least $1,000 on ma­te­rial costs, and the elec­tri­cian pulled the per­mit with no prob­lem. In spite of this, I re­main a ded­i­cated DIYer... if only I was 20 years younger.


To up­grade from a 125-amp to a 200-amp ser­vice, the wire from the hy­dro pole to the house must be in­creased in size to han­dle the ex­tra power load. In the coun­try,

many hy­dro poles in the yard have a switch lo­cated be­low the me­ter (en­closed by small grey box) that will turn off the power to the ser­vice panel in­side the

house. A DIYer must en­sure this switch is in the off po­si­tion be­fore he un­der­takes any work

on his home’s breaker box.

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