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Old 10-31-2013, 04:59 PM   #41
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Putting additives in the oil is not really "restoring" to the original condition. Re-ringing the engine would be.

The OP's wiring worked for 40 years. Restoring it may mean fixing the disconnection, or replugging something back in. Or if the wiring deteriorated, that may mean restringing new wires in its place.

Actually, if the original repair job was properly priced, the OP would not make the jump to trying to replace the panel, then to relocate it, and having to face all the ensuing costs.
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Old 10-31-2013, 05:12 PM   #42
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Putting additives in the oil is not really "restoring" to the original condition. Re-ringing the engine would be.
Again, not quite. Rings come closer than Bardahl, but at a much greater cost. In many cases it is better to bite the bullet, pull the engine, get it re-bored, install new pistons, etc. Of just sell it and buy a new car, or trade for a factory rebuilt engine.

Once gain, I am happy that the homeowner is happy, but without knowing a lot more that is all I could say.

Over and out
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Old 10-31-2013, 06:02 PM   #43
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It is a gas furnace, and I think it might be the blower or something that is electric? Maybe the ignitor as ha ha said.

The wiring was never hanging or missing as the original electrician said. It is covered in a think rubber ? tubing. The gas part of the furnace was working though. I do not have electric heat.

I know I have some sort of animal visitor, not mice, as this electrician also noticed evidence of a larger animal, as had the plumber who went under the house years ago to fix the ice maker line - he thought it was a cat. The electrician said he thought a racoon might jump out at any moment. I have never seen a raccoon in real life but do have lots of cats in the area. That is all I can think that happened, unless one of my neighbors really hates me or a kid from the Jr High down the block decided to explore one day?

I am going to have the electrician redo the wiring to someplace more accessible in the spring - before it gets too warm as he doesn't like spiders.

The plumber I used was not just some fly by night guy. He is licensed and fast and prompt, and wonderful. I don't think just because I didn't have to pay him $5,000 that he is a worse electrician than the other one. It's true I do think he is better. And I am very happy.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:24 PM   #44
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Replaced my panel last year. It was a Federal Pacific panel. If yours is a Federal Pacific, you may want to have it replaced regardless of whether it is working now or not. My cost was around $2000 total but included new wire to the weatherhead ( the spot that defines where the electric company is responsible vs. the property owner) and new ground wiring. Other estimate was $2500 and it seemed high.

Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers: Investigation Finds Decades of Danger | NBC Bay Area
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:48 PM   #45
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Wow! I looked at the video, and the problem was with the breakers, not the panel per se. The panel is a passive component with bus bars to support the breakers, the latter being the active devices to trip when the load current gets too high.

If my premise is correct, then apparently, no better breakers have been made to go into the same panel. That would be a better deal for the home owners.

Perhaps no other companies want to get involved and to step up to make a breaker that is mechanically compatible to go into the Federal Pacific panel.
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Old 10-31-2013, 07:56 PM   #46
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Once gain, I am happy that the homeowner is happy, but without knowing a lot more that is all I could say.

Over and out
Agreed. There is a lot of missing info here. Hard to say much of anything.

-ERD50
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Old 10-31-2013, 09:10 PM   #47
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@ohfrugalone:

Good outcome, you have bought yourself something very useful here: time. Plus, having a capable and thoughtful electrician in the rolodex is very nice.
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:54 AM   #48
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Zinsco is another dangerous panel that was installed int the 1960's. I recently replaced it with a Square d panel. I feel much safer now.
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Old 11-01-2013, 06:51 AM   #49
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Wow! I looked at the video, and the problem was with the breakers, not the panel per se. The panel is a passive component with bus bars to support the breakers, the latter being the active devices to trip when the load current gets too high.

If my premise is correct, then apparently, no better breakers have been made to go into the same panel. That would be a better deal for the home owners.

Perhaps no other companies want to get involved and to step up to make a breaker that is mechanically compatible to go into the Federal Pacific panel.

Excellent point, NW - the breakers are the problem. And I believe you are correct that no one makes a breaker to replace all of the FPE breakers, enabling the re-use of the panel. That said, I believe most of the cost of the equipment is in the breakers, so there might not be much in the way of cost savings. I just wanted the whole thing out of there. New panel and breakers are from Eaton.
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:17 AM   #50
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In spite of all the twists and turns of this thread, it sounds like you simply need a new wire run from the service box to the furnace. Any competent electrician who is willing to wipe away a few spider webs can do this. Don't get railroaded into buying a lot more repairs than you need.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:20 AM   #51
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Around here, 200 amp service is pretty much the standard.
Also, that will save you a lot of grief in the future, not to mention the issue of trying to sell the house someday with the old box.

Absolutely the following:
1. Find an electrician who will explain exactly what the problems are so that YOU understand it completely. Otherwise, you're just setting yourself up to be fleeced.

2. Get at least three bids to be sure they are in the same ballpark, then choose the one you're most comfortable working with.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:39 AM   #52
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There are quite a few different breaker makers on the market. I do not remember which I have, but the last time I bought a replacement, I took the old one to Home Depot to match up.

I overstressed the one feeding the outlets in my garage. After several trippings of the breaker due to running an air compressor along with other tools, I weakened the breaker until it could not even hold against a single load, and tripped too early.

That's the right failure mode, compared to the Federal Pacific breaker that gets red-hot and still won't let go.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:30 PM   #53
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My electrician did explain the issue. The plug was not in the socket. It was not plugged in!
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:38 PM   #54
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Mostly I only use about 160 killowatts a month. that will double in the winter because of being dark and using the furnace. Thinking of getting a LED light in front of the garage, but will ask about that later. It can't be more expensive than the Mercury one I had.

But I think I will start a fund for an upgraded panel - it was something I had on the horizon because of getting new heater in the future, but don't want to make a definite decision. But a new panel and move everything way far away from it's current location will have to be a savings project.

Actually those Federal Pacific breakers are still sold at Home Depot, which I discovered when I googled them.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:54 PM   #55
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My electrician did explain the issue. The plug was not in the socket. It was not plugged in!
There exist clips that can be put on plugs so that something can't be unplugged just by tugging on it. One way this is done is with twist lock plugs, but that does involve changing the plug and the socket. An alterative is a piece of metal so shaped to require that it be removed to unplug the cord.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:11 PM   #56
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Wow! I looked at the video, and the problem was with the breakers, not the panel per se...

Perhaps no other companies want to get involved and to step up to make a breaker that is mechanically compatible to go into the Federal Pacific panel.
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Excellent point, NW - the breakers are the problem. And I believe you are correct that no one makes a breaker to replace all of the FPE breakers, enabling the re-use of the panel...
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...Actually those Federal Pacific breakers are still sold at Home Depot, which I discovered when I googled them.
Though my panel is not Federal Pacific, this inquisitive mind must know the truth. So, here's what I have found.
Federal Pacific has been out of business since the early 80's. The current breakers being sold at Home Depot etc, are NOT manufactured by Federal Pacific since that company no longer exists. They are made by aftermarket companies. The FPE problems are not associated with the newer products.
That makes sense, as Home Depot would not sell a known bad product.

See: What circuit breaker will interchange with federal pacific.

This article goes on to say that the existing panel can be used with the new breakers, but needs inspection.
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