To-do list for electrician to update 1966 house 60-amp panel!

14 Replies

In a rental rehab I am doing, I just want a vector check with what I intend to do so I don’t have to have the electrician out more than once. I need criticisms and suggestions because this is my first go at it. Also, I am choosing to convert the range from gas to electric, but leave the furnace and hot water heater as gas (house is in Missouri – it gets cold here!). Through asking other landlords, investors, and Home Depot & Lowe’s people whether gas vs electric, I’ve overwhelmingly found that gas is better for the furnace and hot water heater, but electric is better for the range. Reasons are that while more expensive to buy a gas furnace and hot water heater, the furnace and hot water heater will cost less to operate, which is a plus to tenants. Electric range is better for tenants because there is not the kaboom factor that comes with a gas stove. So here are the tasks I have for the electrician. Anything I should change or add?

  • -Upgrade to 200-amp, 40-circuit panel
  • -Install 220V dedicated line to where range will be
  • -Install dedicated 20-amp line for refrigerator
  • -Install dedicated 20-amp for above-range mounted microwave
  • -Install 2 separate dedicated 20-amp circuits for kitchen countertops
  • -Install GFCI for dishwasher on dedicated 20-amp circuit
  • -Install 2 separate dedicated 20-amp circuits for each bathroom
  • -Ensure 220V circuit for dryer is functional and compliant
  • -Wire ceiling lights for two smaller bedrooms
  • -Test all circuits in house for functionality

Did not see your A/C power listed but 200 amp is the way to go.  at least R-30 insulation and obviously separate units if it is a multi-family.  Good luck.

Originally posted by @Charlie DiLisio :

Did not see your A/C power listed but 200 amp is the way to go.  at least R-30 insulation and obviously separate units if it is a multi-family.  Good luck.

 What does R-30 insulation have to do with electric? 

@Paul Winka ,

As you know, your part of the country can get quite warm. Charlie didn't see AC on your check list, so he's assuming it would be an upgrade to the house. Proper insulation is key to effective cooling and efficient use of electrical power.

That said, a dedicated circuit for a microwave / range hood may be overkill, but could be viewed favorably by prospective buyers.

You'll probably want GFCI breaker protection for the kitchen outlets, as well.

You mentioned the house has oil heat. So, I'm thinking there's no gas to the house. Gas would be better for heat, cooking and hot water in some folk's preferences (including mine). Even in an extended power outage, you can still cook on a gas stove if you have matches or a lighter, a traditional gas hot water tank does not need power so you'll still have hot water and it only takes a small generator to power a gas furnace, although Missouri winters are fairly mild compared to here (Chicago area).

My $0.02...

Seems like a reasonable starting list.  I would ask the electrician to verify that the rest of the house is up to code, as replacing the panel may open you up to having to do other stuff as well -- like GFCI in the kitchen/bathrooms, etc.  All depends on local codes and how stringent the inspectors are, but an electrician who has done work in that county should be able to tell you pretty quickly whether any additional work would need to be done.

Originally posted by @David Dachtera :

@Paul Winka,

As you know, your part of the country can get quite warm. Charlie didn't see AC on your check list, so he's assuming it would be an upgrade to the house. Proper insulation is key to effective cooling and efficient use of electrical power.

That said, a dedicated circuit for a microwave / range hood may be overkill, but could be viewed favorably by prospective buyers.

You'll probably want GFCI breaker protection for the kitchen outlets, as well.

You mentioned the house has oil heat. So, I'm thinking there's no gas to the house. Gas would be better for heat, cooking and hot water in some folk's preferences (including mine). Even in an extended power outage, you can still cook on a gas stove if you have matches or a lighter, a traditional gas hot water tank does not need power so you'll still have hot water and it only takes a small generator to power a gas furnace, although Missouri winters are fairly mild compared to here (Chicago area).

My $0.02...

Thanks, David. Yes, the A/C condenser, coil, and furnace will replaced; those will be done by a separate HVAC company. As far as what Charlie was implying, where would I want to be putting in that insulation? I won't be opening the outside walls, so did he mean putting insulation in the attic? 

Oil heat? No, it will be gas. I am OK with that. I have a colleague, a landlord with 40 years of experience in St Louis that INSISTS on using electric for the furnace and hot water heater. I might agree if in Florida. But not in Missouri. 

Originally posted by @Paul Winka:
Originally posted by @David Dachtera:

@Paul Winka,

As you know, your part of the country can get quite warm. Charlie didn't see AC on your check list, so he's assuming it would be an upgrade to the house. Proper insulation is key to effective cooling and efficient use of electrical power.

That said, a dedicated circuit for a microwave / range hood may be overkill, but could be viewed favorably by prospective buyers.

You'll probably want GFCI breaker protection for the kitchen outlets, as well.

You mentioned the house has oil heat. So, I'm thinking there's no gas to the house. Gas would be better for heat, cooking and hot water in some folk's preferences (including mine). Even in an extended power outage, you can still cook on a gas stove if you have matches or a lighter, a traditional gas hot water tank does not need power so you'll still have hot water and it only takes a small generator to power a gas furnace, although Missouri winters are fairly mild compared to here (Chicago area).

My $0.02...

Thanks, David. Yes, the A/C condenser, coil, and furnace will replaced; those will be done by a separate HVAC company. As far as what Charlie was implying, where would I want to be putting in that insulation? I won't be opening the outside walls, so did he mean putting insulation in the attic? 

Oil heat? No, it will be gas. I am OK with that. I have a colleague, a landlord with 40 years of experience in St Louis that INSISTS on using electric for the furnace and hot water heater. I might agree if in Florida. But not in Missouri. 

 Thanks, J. Do you think it would be overkill on the dedicated circuits for the microwave above the range, and would you even include a microwave/range combo on a low-to-mid rental rehab? 

I think it is. You are missing some things, gfcis are not in place. 40 cb box is an overkill as well. is this only for one house? Why do you need so much power as 200 amp? Just curious.

Originally posted by @Paul Winka :

 Thanks, J. Do you think it would be overkill on the dedicated circuits for the microwave above the range, and would you even include a microwave/range combo on a low-to-mid rental rehab? 

Definitely not overkill.  Most new mount-in-place microwaves (in my experience) call for a 20A dedicated circuit.  Can you get away with a shared 15A or 20A circuit?  Maybe.  But, the time/costs/risk of having to have the electrician come back out and run a new circuit later is much worse than just spending an extra $100 now.  I always run a new circuit when I install an above-range microwave, and most electricians I know would recommend it.

As for whether the microwave is needed, that's a tougher question.  In my low-end rentals, I generally just put a countertop microwave...in the nicer rentals, I always put an above-range one.  For the mid-level, it will really depend on what the rentals around me have (or don't have).

BTW: There's not one professional kitchen using Electricity - - they are all gas.

Here in Calif, there was a craz (promoted by SCE) for the 'all electric home' and these ALL bring lower prices - - electricity costs more than gas AND the conversion from electric to BTU is poor efficiency.  It doesn't matter (LPG vs Natural Gas), they all convert to BTU heating better that the electric.

Thought you might like to know...

Originally posted by @Manolo D. :

I think it is. You are missing some things, gfcis are not in place. 40 cb box is an overkill as well. is this only for one house? Why do you need so much power as 200 amp? Just curious.

Hi Manolo, Why so much power? Well, a colleague I met at a REIA meeting says he puts 200-amp & 40 circuits in all his rentals. This house is 1322 s.f., and has an unfinished basement. Gas furnace and gas stove. The same fellow swears by electric for the stove and furnace too. I am a newbie so if this is a waste of money or overkill, that's what I come to the forum for -- to be enlightened.

What type of panel would you put in? And for the others here, what do you do for an electric upgrade?

Originally posted by @Jeff B. :

BTW: There's not one professional kitchen using Electricity - - they are all gas.

Here in Calif, there was a craz (promoted by SCE) for the 'all electric home' and these ALL bring lower prices - - electricity costs more than gas AND the conversion from electric to BTU is poor efficiency.  It doesn't matter (LPG vs Natural Gas), they all convert to BTU heating better that the electric.

Thought you might like to know...

 If this was a flip in a high end area, then no question I would keep the gas stove. Do you believe it's a mistake to convert to electric in the kitchen? I'd have to run a 220V line that's not there and cap off the gas. I have not bough a range yet, so I could go either way with this. 

Originally posted by @Paul Winka :
Originally posted by @Manolo D.:

I think it is. You are missing some things, gfcis are not in place. 40 cb box is an overkill as well. is this only for one house? Why do you need so much power as 200 amp? Just curious.

Hi Manolo, Why so much power? Well, a colleague I met at a REIA meeting says he puts 200-amp & 40 circuits in all his rentals. This house is 1322 s.f., and has an unfinished basement. Gas furnace and gas stove. The same fellow swears by electric for the stove and furnace too. I am a newbie so if this is a waste of money or overkill, that's what I come to the forum for -- to be enlightened.

What type of panel would you put in? And for the others here, what do you do for an electric upgrade?

 Why not stick with your old breaker? I don't think you can use all 100 amps. Unless your old breaker is 60 amps. Are you sure that the line from your pole to your main will cater 200 amps? That's a pretty darn small house for a 200 amp. lol.

Originally posted by @Paul Winka :
Originally posted by @Jeff B.:

BTW: There's not one professional kitchen using Electricity - - they are all gas.

Here in Calif, there was a craz (promoted by SCE) for the 'all electric home' and these ALL bring lower prices - - electricity costs more than gas AND the conversion from electric to BTU is poor efficiency.  It doesn't matter (LPG vs Natural Gas), they all convert to BTU heating better that the electric.

Thought you might like to know...

 If this was a flip in a high end area, then no question I would keep the gas stove. Do you believe it's a mistake to convert to electric in the kitchen? I'd have to run a 220V line that's not there and cap off the gas. I have not bough a range yet, so I could go either way with this. 

 Yes IMO it's a long term mistake AND it takes extra effort to implement it too.

Hi Paul!

I stick with gas for cooking, as the temperature is more easily controlled. I like a separate line for frig and microwave also. Not so much to worry about spoiled food if one of the other breakers trips. I have had a tenant continue to trip the breaker when using the microwave along with any other appliance. Rather than rely on the tenant managing their electrical capacity, just put in a separate line. Remember, GFCIs in all baths and kitchen per code.

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