200 amp main disconnect outside with a 150 amp main inside

Hi I did an inspection today and noticed a 200 main disconnect outside and the service panel inside was 150 amp. Also outside there were additional circuit breakers under the main. I’ve never seen a setup like this before is this allowed. Thanks for the help guys.

With what I can see, you have a 200 amp service disconnect and a 150 amp remote distribution panel, if wired properly.

Happy inspecting. :smile:


What Larry said. ^^^^^

I also question the improper fit of the breakers and dead-front cover, also the lack of (two) seals.

1 Like

Thanks Larry, wasn’t sure if this setup was ok or not.

Thanks Jeffrey, I did mention that in the report the panel is loose and doesnt fit right. Thanks again

I hope you’re good JJ! :smile:

1 Like

Seals are there, just falling out.

1 Like

Why do I see at least 2 white colored conductors landing on the grounding buss bar in the sub-panel?

1 Like

Good point , nice catch! If this is considered a sub panel as the other as Larry and Jeffrey stated this wouldn’t fly.

Hey Larry, Simon just pointed out that it looks like there are some neutrals in the ground bar behind all that crap on the right hand side. This is now considered a sub panel though so does this become a bonding issue?

I would guess the installer didn’t know what he/she was doing. :smile:

1 Like

I think the 200 amp was upgraded outside and that 50 amp is for the hot tub they added on. But I guess the guy who did the work wasn’t an electrician

Where do the cables for the suspected remote distribution panel originate? I don’t see an OCPD in the service panel to feed the distribution panel.
Any pictures of the service panel with the deadfront off?

This is the only other picture I personally have. The guy i work with did the majority of exterior he may have one. The other panel is on the opposite side of this wall in the home

Many have seen me post this in the past, but it seems to be necessary to repost occasionally…

Lose the term “main” from your vocabulary - at least until you have a firm understanding of its meaning.

You have “service equipment” and you have “other equipment.” Nothing else exists.

“Service equipment” is where the “service” disconnect is located.

“Other equipment” consists of everything else - distribution/sub panels, breakers, equipment-disconnects, etc., etc…

“Main” and “service” are synonymous, so you can’t have a “ main” in one location and the “service” in another.

If the interior panel was actually a main or service panel, the neutrals would have to be bonded to the enclosure and GE. Look at your picture - the neutrals have been properly isolated from the enclosure as this is a “sub” panel.

So again - don’t use the term “main” for anything related to the electrical system until you have a firm understanding of the difference between service equipment and other equipment.


Ok, thank you very much for simplifying it for me. Great explanation

Mr Pope, great explanation.

1 Like

That is why he is the Pope. :smile:

1 Like

Also check that there is no bonding screw, strap, or other bonding jumper in the sub-panel. The only bonding jumper should be in the service panel, which is always the first point of disconnect, which is an easy way to identity the service panel.


The second “leg” of our job is communication. For unknown reasons, that might be worthy of investigation by a student of communication, much of the terminology of the NEC has never found common usage among the general public. I have never…not even once…heard anyone refer to the service equipment as the “service equipment” and that includes the many electricians that I’ve interacted with. I only read the term in forums like this and code references. The commonly used descriptive term is the “main panel.” Everyone knows what the “main panel” is, including electricians who, in my experience, use the same term.
I’ve heard the argument that we should use correct terminology because part of our job is to educate. That’s a good argument. Each of us find that we draw a line where we end educating and continue to communicate. That line will be drawn differently for each of us. For me, there is plenty of education without trying to change a client’s terminology that isn’t wrong to begin with.
For instance, just because the NEC uses the term “grounded conductor” doesn’t mean describing that as the “neutral” is wrong. Most people will know what you mean when you say, “neutral wire” and will stare into space as you describe “grounded conductor” and “grounding conductor” and will be thinking about dinner by the time you explain that there is no “ground wire.” Ditto for “service equipment” and “main panel,” and never mind the disagreements over “sub-panel.” If you think your job as a HI is to tell everyone how they are using incorrect terminology over and over (like “cinder block” vs. “CMU”), then you and I will disagree.
If you have a client who loves the dive into the minutia of terminology, then indulge yourself. But I don’t think you do most clients or yourself any service by using terminology that they don’t understand when the common terms suffice.
Conclusion: Our job can (but doesn’t have to) include educating our clients on terminology, and using commonly recognized terms is still good communication. The OP can be forgiven for using the term “main” because we and his clients all understand him.

1 Like