Answers to Electrical Questions About Troubleshooting a GFCI Receptacle and Upgrading an Electric Service
September 20, 2008
Don Allen asks:
I installed a koi pond in my yard and had a electrician run a wire to a GFI box on a pole which supplies power to my pump for the waterfall and pond circulation. Recently during two thunderstorms the GFI has tripped at the post outside but not at the breaker in the inside box. The lightning from the storms was not all that bad but it still causes my pump to stop running to circulate the water. Could it be that the GFI receptacle is not properly grounded at the receptacle outside? Really has me stumped. Appreciate any thoughts or help you may share.
Thank you in advance for your help.
If an electrician installed the receptacle, then it is probably properly grounded. I’m willing to bet that the problem is a ground fault caused by the lightning or static electricity from the lightning strikes. If it was a ground fault, then the GFCI is working properly. It is designed to trip when it senses a ground fault. A circuit breaker is used for overcurrent protection.
Lawson Williams asks:
Question: I have a 60amps and need to upgrade to 150amps it’s a single family house. What do i need to do? Where the existing fuse box is located, i do not have space for a 30/40 breaker box. In fact the available space is 16×22. and on the outside there is a meter socket and switch box (fuse box).
The first thing that you need to do is check with your local building codes department to see if you can legally upgrade your own electric service. Most areas do not allow homeowners to upgrade their electric services. You may need to hire a licensed or qualified electrician to complete this project.
If you are able to do this work, then you need to check with you local utility company to see what their specifications are. If you have an overhead electric service, your utility company may make you change to an underground service. You need to know this before you get started.
As for what you need to do to upgrade your electric service from 60 amps to 150 amps, you need to change the meter box outside, increase the wire size between the meter box and the breaker box and upgrade your breaker box. If you have an overhead service, then you need to increase the conduit and wire size. If you need to change to an underground service, then the utility company may require you to install the underground wire all the way to the power pole.
You also need to check your grounding and ensure it is in place and sized properly.
As for the space limitation for the new breaker box. There may be additional framing in the wall to accommodate for the smaller breaker box which may be easily removed. If not, then leave the old breaker box in place, remove all of the “guts” and turn it into a junction box. Choose a new location for your breaker box and install the needed cables between the 2 boxes to re-feed all of your existing circuits.
This is not a project that I recommend for a DIYer. This is definitely an advanced electrical wiring project. I highly recommend hiring a licensed or qualified electrician for this project.
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