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Question DetailsAsked on 11/2/2016

install out side a disconnect under meter so power to house can be shut off out side if needed

My home dose not have a disconnect out side.I need one installed.So i can get into the breaker box with out it being hot all the time.

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Depending on current local building code requirements, that might be OK - or if you have a breaker panel with built-in main breakers, some areas are now requiring rework on the main feed to include separate main breakers at/right next to the meter panel. For only about $50 more you can install a disconnect and main breakers in one combined box there if you wish - that is my personal preference, but is rarely done on single-unit residential jobs. The advantage of the disconnect plus the breakers is you don't have to turn off the breakers to disconnect the power to the breaker/distribution panel - an advantage because old breakers sometimes fail when you turn them off, meaning you have to replace the breaker(s) to get power back on, which can take many hours to find an electrician availalbe and commonly gets into overtime rates. Changing the breakers out involves dealing with live wires in the box - not a normal DIY job. A disconnect rarely fails unless used many times under high load load.

Be sure to check for main breakers either in the bottom half of the meter panel, or in a box right alongside - you may have them and not know it. usually behind a metal door with a small lever with a padlockable hole through it - slide the lever open and open the door. Just don't go sticking your fingers or anything inside the door, and if it has a crimped wire seal on it then the utility has sealed it and you would have to ask them if there are master breaker slots available in it. if there are, the meter panel would be substantially larger than the meter itself below the meter and usaully two distinct sections - roughly square forthe meter box, then a second part about the asame size or a bit larger below that for the master breakers. I(f no master breaker positions in it, will typically be roughly 10 to 16 inches square face with meter roughly in the center.

It is also possible (especially if older house) you have them as the top breakers in your breaker box - electric electric dryers and water heaters and furnaces and ranges typically have from 30-50A breakers (almost always twinned breaker for each) - your main breakers (2 individual or twinned) likely (unless a very old system) 100A or more - 125A and 150A and 200A are probably the most common in more or less modern houses. Looks like this - the pair in the middle at the topo are the "main breaker", which shuts off the power to the rest of the breakers in the breaker slots along each side of the panel -

Depending on your layout and local labor costs, installing a disconnect or main breaker in or next to the meter panel would commonly run $500-1200 - around $600-800 would probably be "normal". The greatest expense would probably be in a case where the main feed to the house comes right out of the back of the meter panel directly through the wall to the breaker panel - so running a new lead wire to the breaker panel through the wall would be needed. Lower end would be low labor cost area and where the meter panel has slots already for main breakers (usually in lower half of panel if you have it) or there is a feed to the breaker panel that runs along the outside wall from the meter panel that can just be cut (or disconnected from the meter) connect the disconnect or main breaker to, then run a new short run to the meter from the disconnect or main breaker panel.

Electrical is of course your Search the List category to find highly rated and reviewed contractor for this work.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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