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I have to upgrade my electrical service panel from knob & tube to current grounded code. The house is on bedrock and ground is the water pipe entry in the garage more than thirty feet away. Now it appears the service panel may need to be relocated due to the proximity of the gas service meter. The house was built in 1956, in San Mateo County, California.

What should I do about this situation?

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    Relocation could make sense, that's a crazy super stupid small panel for a modern California household. That's like what, an 8-space full of double-stuff's/tandems? A panel that small leaves you hamstrung, you can't even do simple smart things like put a GFCI/AFCI on the knob & tube to mitigate its risks. Find a spot you can fit a panel with 40 actual spaces, sure isn't there. You could feed it as a subpanel from that panel, then switch circuits over one at a time at your leisure. – Harper Nov 26 '17 at 21:49
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    Also, 1955 is a bit new for K&T -- you probably have cloth/rubber NM... – ThreePhaseEel Nov 26 '17 at 23:15
  • K&T went on to 1969! and it is cloth insulation on red and black wires with ceramic insulator buttons and ceramic tubes spaced 8-10 inches apart no grounds! – Paul B. Nov 27 '17 at 23:28
  • Relocation may make the job easier since the panel is recessed, not having to upsize the conduit going up through the roof or making room for a modern panel then updating the old wiring going to the new panel as Harper suggest. Old nm that many folks confuse for K&T started in 1928 most all the old track homes that I updated as an apprentice (northern Calif.) were built in the late 40' s and early 50' s and these all had the old cloth wrapped nm. But you posted that the conductors are 8-10 apart so I believe you but it would be rare. – Ed Beal Nov 30 '17 at 21:04
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I would contend that the gas meter was installed in the wrong place. It clearly was installed long after the house was built and the original electrical panel installed. I would first ask the gas utility to move their mater. I would state that a 'home inspection' found the situation a hazard and are now asking to have the gas meter moved out of safety concerns. In fact, 'my' home owners insurance may become void without reparations. It doesn't hurt to try. They certainly have more resources to make this kind of a change than you do; not to mention the fact that they are the ones that put the meter is a hazardous and non-code compliant location. If you wanted to get hard nosed about it, I am sure you could find a lawyer who would love to help.

  • How is it obvious that "it was clearly installed long after"? – Tyson Nov 26 '17 at 23:04
  • I appears to me that the gas meter is somewhat newer. However, I may be wrong. That does not change the fact the the installation is non-code compliant and constitutes some level of hazard. – Paul Logan Nov 27 '17 at 8:53
  • I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the "meter", and anything on the end of the pipe fed from the street, may have been replaced one or more times in the past 60 years. My gas meter in Boston was replaced twice in the past fifteen years, as they upgraded remote reading equipment. – Upnorth Nov 30 '17 at 14:11
  • You might approach the gas company with a request to help you upgrade the safety at your location, and maybe let their own engineer come to the conclusion that they could have done a better job initially and then they offer to help by moving it a few feet for a minimal cost. – Upnorth Nov 30 '17 at 14:25
  • I'll go along with that. – Paul Logan Nov 30 '17 at 23:42
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You'll want to ask PG&E to inspect. They'll come out with a simple phone call for just about anything, this included. Let us know how this turns out.

A different utility writes this as their policy:

Meter Installation Requirements Peoples Energy recommends that meters supplied from medium pressure service pipes be installed outside of the building. Gas meters shall be located: 1. In a ventilated and readily accessible area. 2. At least 3’ from sources of ignition (including electrical circuit breaker boxes, meters, and receptacles) or any sources of heat that may damage the meter for inside installations. 3. A minimum of 12” above ground for outside meter installations. 4. Away from obstructions, such as downspouts and windows.

  • Bryce, it has been three weeks of hell dealing with the bureaucracy at PG&E, even sent them pictures still no inspection no replies just business as usual, evidently their sub-contractor did this when converting to a SMART meter! – Paul B. Jan 3 '18 at 23:57

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