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Located in the PNW.

So something weird is going on with the panel on my house. I pulled the permit records and they had a permit for 200A service installed to the house

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but it appears to be spliced into a 125amp panel and the wire guage is reduced with electrical tape covering the splice.

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Is this a safe install or is that a warning sign? Also could I rectify the situation by having the panel replaced with a 200amp panel or just have the breaker replaced with a 200amp breaker? Thanks!

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  • This is just an observation and I'm sure others will weigh in here soon, but yes, I would be concerned. What is the wire size between the main breaker and the splice? It looks small for 125 amps, but we'd need to know the gauge size to be sure. Next, why are there empty spaces and so many tandem breakers? I suspect several changes over the years. Lastly, what's up with the top left double pole breaker? I looks like only one pole is connected, I doubt that's physically possible, so maybe it's just not connected right now? Enquiring minds want to know. – George Anderson Mar 24 at 23:16
  • If you are concerned because the splices are covered with electrical tape, don't be, that is how split bolt connections are insulated. Done by a pro it's not going to be a problem, and fancy-pants insulated large wire connectors were not at all common (and many pros still would not bother with them - they cost a lot, though they do save some time on the insulating process). Looks like you have room (and wire) to swap to a 200A panel with the main breaker on top if you want to lose the spliced wire and smaller main breaker. – Ecnerwal Mar 24 at 23:36
  • Yes, what is the wire gauge of both the incoming service wire and of the jumper from the splice to the hot lug? – ThreePhaseEel Mar 24 at 23:44
  • The wire out of the conduit looks like #2 AL THW which is only good for 90 amps. The wire after the splice could be #3 or #4 CU which would be OK to splice to 2 AL (if spliced correctly) but not for 125 Amp breaker... Somebody didn't get what they paid for. – JACK Mar 25 at 0:01
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I can’t see the gauge or type of wire in the wire coming in or to the breaker.

If the splice is a compression listed for copper / aluminum this may be what they did to extend the wiring with the feeder being aluminum (possibly).

I do not like panels being put in with the main at the bottom , there was no reason for it in this case. If the wire is sized correctly this could be totally legit because the main breaker is the protection for the system.

If the feed is copper and just downsized for the 125 a standard crimp would be ok but if aluminum to copper I would want to verify a listed crimp or bolt and deox or anti oxide compound was used If my home. Oregon and Washington have slightly different codes but use the NEC for services so without some other issue the 200 amp permit means whoever did this was Penny wise pound foolish as a 200 amp panel would have only costed a few dollars more.

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