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Old 09-25-2017, 12:46 PM   #1
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Default Exterior service panels

We don't do exterior service panels in my neck of the woods too much -- at least I've never had to work on one yet.
The ones I have seen don't seem to be too waterproof. Are they really? Obviously they are used in some parts of the country, so it has to work, I just can't understand how the panels and the breakers survive being outside.
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Old 09-25-2017, 12:57 PM   #2
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They aren't water proof, instead they try to limit water from coming in above the internal parts and they have holes to let out any water that did manage to get inside.

I assume they won't last long in some areas, while being perfectly fine in others.

I personally don't see the point. In just about every situation you can install a disconnect and run a feeder to a panel somewhere in the house, even if in a hallway. The owner can cover it with a picture.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:11 PM   #3
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Waterproof, no. Rain tight, yes. They have holes in the bottom to exit any moisture that finds it's way in.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:25 PM   #4
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There are time when they are necessary. We do not have to many slab on grade homes but every once in awhile they come in handy. Never really had any issue with one other than they look like ****. Yea the outside disco sounds all nice and everything but in real life I is just to expensive.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:40 PM   #5
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There are time when they are necessary. We do not have to many slab on grade homes but every once in awhile they come in handy. Never really had any issue with one other than they look like ****. Yea the outside disco sounds all nice and everything but in real life I is just to expensive.
This is a good quality Square D QO 200A disconnect for $140: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...0NRB/100210055

You'll then need some aluminum 4/0 SER.

It does raise the price, but having a panel in a central location makes the homeruns shorter and the labor a bit less than when the panel is on the far side of a house.

To me it just seems better to have the panel inside and easy to get to instead of outside.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:51 PM   #6
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I just can't understand how the panels and the breakers survive being outside.
Animals survive outside. Your vehicle survives outside. Your house survives outside.

It is dry as a bone in my area and I've seen 50 year old panels in pristine condition. Obviously there are places with more harsh environments, especially cosatal regions, but things are designed to be outside.

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I personally don't see the point
Two reasons.
1) Ease of installation. One box to install. $$$
2) It doesn't take up any interior real estate.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:05 PM   #7
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This is a good quality Square D QO 200A disconnect for $140: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...0NRB/100210055

You'll then need some aluminum 4/0 SER.

It does raise the price, but having a panel in a central location makes the homeruns shorter and the labor a bit less than when the panel is on the far side of a house.

To me it just seems better to have the panel inside and easy to get to instead of outside.
OH I agree haxer but on some little 700 square foot home sometimes the outside panel is the ticket. your way your are talking at least $500 more than just slamming one up on the outside when the clearances are fudd up.
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Old 09-25-2017, 03:56 PM   #8
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Sounds like a beach bungalow, had many in NJ a place to stay a week or two but not to live, no heat or ac. did a bunch of remods and use outside panels cause no place on inside. Was able to build a cabinet around panel with a door that made it look nice and prevent tampering. Siding it to match house.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:55 PM   #9
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Animals survive outside. Your vehicle survives outside. Your house survives outside.

It is dry as a bone in my area and I've seen 50 year old panels in pristine condition. Obviously there are places with more harsh environments, especially cosatal regions, but things are designed to be outside.



Two reasons.
1) Ease of installation. One box to install. $$$
2) It doesn't take up any interior real estate.
Same here, it's really dry, even when it does rain, it's usually a lot in a short time.

I think just about every tract house that's been built around here in the last 40 years has an outdoor panel.

Around here, we usually run the NM into the panel using 1 or 2 - 2" KOs in the back. Most of the time, the panel is set on the service riser (3" PVC), and is energized after the stem walls are poured but before framing begins. Yes, it just sits there on top of a 3" PVC.

There is a GFI in a Bellbox below the panel for construction power. We screw the ears on and the framers will usually screw it to the siding.

And like 220 says, the vast majority of them are still in good condition regardless of age. Other than an inch of dust in the bottom of course.....lol.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nutmegger777 View Post
We don't do exterior service panels in my neck of the woods too much -- at least I've never had to work on one yet.
The ones I have seen don't seem to be too waterproof. Are they really? Obviously they are used in some parts of the country, so it has to work, I just can't understand how the panels and the breakers survive being outside.
I see a lot of them in Denver. Must be a local requirement.
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Old 09-25-2017, 10:35 PM   #11
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I see a lot of them in Denver. Must be a local requirement.
Been spending time in Colorado?
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:32 AM   #12
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All the times I've visited AZ and NV, it was all outside panels. I'd say 99 percent here is indoors. Then again, we have basements.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:15 AM   #13
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All the times I've visited AZ and NV, it was all outside panels. I'd say 99 percent here is indoors. Then again, we have basements.
All panels are indoors here, even without basements. There is always a place to put a panel.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:34 AM   #14
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Been spending time in Colorado?
Sister in law lives in Denver. We visit occasionally.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:38 AM   #15
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Same here, it's really dry, even when it does rain, it's usually a lot in a short time.

I think just about every tract house that's been built around here in the last 40 years has an outdoor panel.

Around here, we usually run the NM into the panel using 1 or 2 - 2" KOs in the back. Most of the time, the panel is set on the service riser (3" PVC), and is energized after the stem walls are poured but before framing begins. Yes, it just sits there on top of a 3" PVC.

There is a GFI in a Bellbox below the panel for construction power. We screw the ears on and the framers will usually screw it to the siding.

And like 220 says, the vast majority of them are still in good condition regardless of age. Other than an inch of dust in the bottom of course.....lol.
I just got dinged for that very thing. Apparently the wires need to be clamped to the panel.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:39 AM   #16
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Sister in law lives in Denver. We visit occasionally.
Convenient!
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:41 AM   #17
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I just got dinged for that very thing. Apparently the wires need to be clamped to the panel.
Yup. You know how awesome panel changes would be if we could bring all the cables in thru a single hole?
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:41 AM   #18
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Convenient!
Denver is OK but you should head north to Ft collins. Awesome area. Just don't let your kid got to college there unless you want to refinance your house.
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:25 PM   #19
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You know how awesome panel changes would be if we could bring all the cables in thru a single hole?

Yes, I do
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:35 PM   #20
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When I did our electric service I decided to do a meter main outside and use the feed thru lugs to feed the panel in the basement on the other side of the house. Like having an outside disconnect. That is where I plan on doing my transfer switch for a future generator install. And I can also switch to underground feed when I am able to run the conduit without changing the meter main since its made for overhead or underground feed.

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