50 amp disconnect for 1600sf condo

Today while inspecting an 1600sf condo I noticed that the main disconnect was only a 50 amp disconnect. The condo was originally built in 1910 and the electrical system was updated with a new electrical panel in 2001. The panel and meter were both 200 amps. The condo had several plasma TVs, 2 refrigerators, washer & dryer, computer, and plenty of lighting/ canlights. It seems to me that a 50 amp main disconnect is not large enough for a 1600 sf condo. Any commits would be greatly appreciated.


I would agree with you. You may have a very unhappy client when his TV goes poof.

Did they upgrage the wiring too, or just the panel and meter.

What you are saying doesn’t add up. If the panel and meter were both 200 amps, where was this 50 amp disconnect? Are you sure it wasn’t for an AC unit? Or maybe the panel is a split bus with a 50 amp lighting main? Or could it be a sub panel disconnect? Could you give us more details or pics?


The 50 amp disconnect was located just above the meter in the basement of a 6 story condo building. There is the possibility that there was another main disconnect. The boiler room was locked and not all of the basement could be accessed. I am going to write up this one as “the size of the electrical system could not be determined at the time of the inspection due to inaccessible mechanical room.”

On minimum service sizes:

  • For a one family dwelling, the minimum service size is 100 amp
  • For a dwelling (other than one family) that does not have more than 2 branch circuits, the minimum service size is 30 amp
    *]For a dwelling (other than one family) that has more than 2 branch circuits, the minimum service size is 60 amp.
    Definition of a one-family dwelling: A building that consists solely of one dwelling unit.

A quick load calc comes up with 60a or so based on what you posted.