Finding amperage on a house

When I was trained it was to find amperage by the shape of the meter, I read elsewhere this isn’t true. So which is true on finding the correct amperage on a home?

To make it simple, use the lesser of the SEC (service entrance conductors), service disconnect amperage and the panel board amperage size.

The meter belongs to the POCO (power company)…don’t get caught up with that. :smile:

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Is there a way to know if 1. I’m not taking off dead cover 2. The panel has no info?

Don’t guess or you may be buying a service!

Describe why you are not taking the dead front off.

What is the main breaker amps?

No. You could guess by the size of the service disconnect (main breaker). But it would be just that, a guess.

The amps are usually on the main breaker.

True. But it could have an undersized SEC. I see that often.

Why is the cover not removed for a complete inspection?
(not you Chris)

I would disregard this advice. This is not good training.

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Angela, why don’t you remove the dead front? Also when I go to your website it says error 404

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My mentor makes a great point and states that even if you see a panel etc that should be X, don’t assume but rather inspect it since someone can add or tamper with it to make it appear a certain way.

Also, I am instructed to mark it as a repair if no amperage is listed. I am also instructed to remove the dead front unless it looks unsafe or is raining out. It is amazing that these new(er) houses in California (I consider 2000+ new) have so much variation and almost make shift like installations- especially at the main service panel. The majority of water heaters in these homes have improper installs or missing expansion tanks etc. Being said, the most common areas I see issues at are in fact the main/sub panels and water heaters.

Not everyone pulls them. I find too many that are heavily painted over or with drywall screws holding them in place. Had one arc on me once and I haven’t opened another up since. Non-invasive. I’m the son of a master electrician, grew up working with. But for the purpose of a home inspection along with the potential liability and risk to my own personal safety due to the ignorance of others I’ve chosen to sign off on anything electrical that I cannot visually inspect without removing cover or ceiling tiles.

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Understood Robert thanks!
I have no electricians in the family but if ya wanna say stuff like that I was a purchasing agent for GE Supply Corp.
Recently there was a panel cover super-heavily covered with paint. I suspected there may be paint inside, so… they contacted the owner who gave me permission to attempt to remove the cover knowing there may be wall/paint damage.
Glad he allowed me to go further. :cowboy_hat_face:

Alberto xxxxxxx
xxxxxxx Regency Lake Drive #xxxx
Boca Raton, FL 33433
Return visit for circuit breaker panel evaluation on February 7, 2020.
Upon removing the panel cover, heavy paint contamination was observed on
the neutral bus bar, connections and various parts. Possible hidden
paint may exist on the main bus bar behind the circuit breakers that
cannot be viewed.
There is no approved method to safely remove the pant without
further compromising the mechanical strength of the equipment.
Recommend a licensed electrician’s further evaluation for scope of
repairs and exact costs. The parts can possibly be replaced, but due to
the age of over 30 years, they may not be available and replacement
would be required.

I was just trying to say that even being highly comfortable with electricity given all those hours of child labor growing up, I still don’t go in them for inspections.

But yeah, things like you’ve found are the reason for doing so. I don’t trust other people’s work though and I’d hate to have their ignorance end up being my electrocution. :rofl::rofl::rofl:

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Wise man. It is dangerous to remove a dead front cover.

Fella that my dad worked with happened into the bus bars, both of them while working in a panel. Blew out the toes of his boots, threw him across the room, sleeves burned off his shirt where they come into the shoulder, and left him hospitalized for a couple months. I learned respect young. :slight_smile:

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That’s being smart Robert pecar :+1:t3:

I understand that taking the inside panel off is risky but it must be done to perform a thorough inspection. Once pulled, you need to describe the contents and the condition of the service branches. For example, what if there is a double tapped breaker or an arched wire and you did not report it and after acquisition of the home the buyer experiences issues with the system. I understand that an agreement may have been signed but do them a favor and inspect what you can. Besides, what if they require a Four-Point inspection as well? You must report on these issues if any as noted on the form. Inspector outlet use to sell the magnetized handles for safe removal.