240V Air Con vs 120V house

qcroanoke

Sometimes I don't know if I'm the boxer or the bag
Location
Roanoke, VA.
Occupation
Engineering
why is that harsh? every professional hvac company I have ever worked with always made sure the service was sufficient before selling a homeowner equipment.

The homeowner should have known that they would need a service change and upgrade before buying the equipment and imo the hvac company should have been professional enough to inform them of that.
Maybe, But I wish I had $5.00 for every time I've seen a central a/c unit stabbed in front of the main with a 30 amp fused disconnect installed to feed it.......
You can't sell an a/c unit if you tell the customer they need to upgrade the service too. Just have the HVAC tech stab it in front of the main......
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
This is CA.
The Homeowner should call the AC contractor and Raise Hell. The Homeowner should contact the CSLB. They will be all over this for Elder abuse.
The AC contractor should have verified the conditions no if and or butts. I don't know a single responsible A/C contractor who would not verify conditions prior to sale and installation. They should have contacted thier own Electrician that they work with. This AC guy appears to be a scum.

I would like for the OP to post a picture of the original service. I would bet it is a 30 amp edison fuses with a A base meter. Cloth coverd wires and all. You cannot just add A/C to one of these. This requires a permit and so does the A/c install.

If the OP plays it right the A/C guy will be paying for a new service. Maybe it will be last time he does that scam. Sounds harsh but the A/C guy needs to cease this type of abusive practice.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
Hi guys, I am new to this forum.

My grandma's house is an old house that runs 120V.
Recently she had an AC installer come out to install two AC units.
The AC units run on 240V. Doh!
How do I get the AC units to work? I've got varying responses from different people.

The AC Installer said: the line coming from the the utility line is 120V, get LADWP to come out to change the line to 240V and we should be good.
DWP rep said: need to upgrade the service panel + change the line
Friend who's not an electrician said: just need to upgrade the outlets that the AC units plug into to 240V

I don't know what to believe...

Pls help!

Thanks for reading and I hope I can help out in the future with any Solar PV questions as I am in the Solar industry.
It seems hard to believe the AC guy did not look close enough at what was there already to not realize that this was an issue.

I don't see a good way to avoid a service change or switching to multiple smaller 120V units. But with a 120V service, there may not be enough juice to run them.

I knew a guy had an old farm house that had 30A 120V service. It would barely run the well pump. Cost him almost $10k to get it upgraded to something useful.
 

Daja7

Senior Member
This is CA.
The Homeowner should call the AC contractor and Raise Hell. The Homeowner should contact the CSLB. They will be all over this for Elder abuse.
The AC contractor should have verified the conditions no if and or butts. I don't know a single responsible A/C contractor who would not verify conditions prior to sale and installation. They should have contacted thier own Electrician that they work with. This AC guy appears to be a scum.

I would like for the OP to post a picture of the original service. I would bet it is a 30 amp edison fuses with a A base meter. Cloth coverd wires and all. You cannot just add A/C to one of these. This requires a permit and so does the A/c install.

If the OP plays it right the A/C guy will be paying for a new service. Maybe it will be last time he does that scam. Sounds harsh but the A/C guy needs to cease this type of abusive practice.
could not agree more, We as service providers have a tough enough time making consumers think we are not all out to rip them off. Any contractor of any sort will or should cover all the bases that has to do with their install. If you cannot sell an A/C install if it requires an electrical upgrade then you do not sell it. I have never seen someone that wants A/C not do it because they need an upgrade. Intergity and knowledge a tool every contractor must have.
 

David.Solar

Member
Location
Los Angeles
This is CA.
The Homeowner should call the AC contractor and Raise Hell. The Homeowner should contact the CSLB. They will be all over this for Elder abuse.
The AC contractor should have verified the conditions no if and or butts. I don't know a single responsible A/C contractor who would not verify conditions prior to sale and installation. They should have contacted thier own Electrician that they work with. This AC guy appears to be a scum.

I would like for the OP to post a picture of the original service. I would bet it is a 30 amp edison fuses with a A base meter. Cloth coverd wires and all. You cannot just add A/C to one of these. This requires a permit and so does the A/c install.

If the OP plays it right the A/C guy will be paying for a new service. Maybe it will be last time he does that scam. Sounds harsh but the A/C guy needs to cease this type of abusive practice.
Meter + Service Panel (in the house by backdoor!)
VXAsRH8h.jpg

Close up of main panel
UfvChHLh.jpg

Main breaker? This is above the service panel
bs2nsAEh.jpg

Wire coming in from LADWP line
TTjDhNdh.jpg

LADWP Line coming into house (meter is right behind the door)
T1l7QIbh.jpg


All the neighbors seem to have 240V service. Just ours isnt.
 
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Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
Well it looks like the system has ben modified from original.
I wonder if permits were pulled when the fuses were replaced with breakers.
The breaker panels must have a and b phases jumpered together. I don't see how this passed inspection of the modifications. ( it probably never had a permit.)
I can see how a A/C guy could have messed up but they still should be responsible for checking this out.

Yes this needs a complete new service.
New service panel with meter outside.
New point of attachment for service drop
New service riser
New Grounding and bonding.
PERMIT!
Oh and mabe strip the drywall from the wall with the panels, I am sure there is conductors buried just under the plaster that should not be.

sorry for the news
 
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cowboyjwc

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Simi Valley, CA
Well it looks like the system has ben modified from original.
I wonder if permits were pulled when the fuses were replaced with breakers.
The breaker panels must have a and b phases jumpered together. I don't see how this passed inspection of the modifications. ( it probably never had a permit.)
I can see how a A/C guy could have messed up but they still should be responsible for checking this out.

Yes this needs a complete new service.
New service panel with meter outside.
New point of attachment for service drop
New service riser
New Grounding and bonding.
PERMIT!
Oh and mabe strip the drywall from the wall with the panels, I am sure there is conductors buried just under the plaster that should not be.

sorry for the news
I would agree with all of that. Looks like a typical 1920's install, maybe a little later. By the look of those service conductors, I would think now would be a great time to upgrade. And see if LADWP will let you keep that meter, they make really cool lamp bases. You run the wires through the meter and when the lights on the meter will spin.
 

David.Solar

Member
Location
Los Angeles
Well it looks like the system has ben modified from original.
I wonder if permits were pulled when the fuses were replaced with breakers.
The breaker panels must have a and b phases jumpered together. I don't see how this passed inspection of the modifications. ( it probably never had a permit.)
I can see how a A/C guy could have messed up but they still should be responsible for checking this out.

Yes this needs a complete new service.
New service panel with meter outside.
New point of attachment for service drop
New service riser
New Grounding and bonding.
PERMIT!
Oh and mabe strip the drywall from the wall with the panels, I am sure there is conductors buried just under the plaster that should not be.

sorry for the news
I would agree with all of that. Looks like a typical 1920's install, maybe a little later. By the look of those service conductors, I would think now would be a great time to upgrade. And see if LADWP will let you keep that meter, they make really cool lamp bases. You run the wires through the meter and when the lights on the meter will spin.

Thanks guys for the insight..much appreciated
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I still say give the A/C man a break. How many times out of 1000 installs of the same equipment do you think he runs into new service needing installed to be able to run it? I bet less than 1%.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
I still say give the A/C man a break. How many times out of 1000 installs of the same equipment do you think he runs into new service needing installed to be able to run it? I bet less than 1%.
are you kidding me, A A/C contractor never needs to check the service to see if it will work. Please tell me that all the installations you do there are plenty of extra spaces in the panel for extra work.

In the OP's situation the A/C guy should have noticed something wrong. and said he needed to have a Electrician check.

On a last note I wonder what is up with the bouble pole breaker. I wonder if there is a breaker on the nuetral wire. Those installs had fuses on both the hot and the grounded wire.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
On a last note I wonder what is up with the bouble pole breaker. I wonder if there is a breaker on the nuetral wire. Those installs had fuses on both the hot and the grounded wire.
Since we cannot see the wiring in the panels, it is equally possible that the L1 and L2 buses of the panel are connected in parallel to the L1 feed from POCO.
That would mean that the (newly installed?) double pole breaker would provide a 0V circuit rather than a 240V circuit. Which would explain why the new A/C installation was never completed. :)

If the person (licensed or not) who installed those double pole breakers did not use his meter wisely and did not inspect the service entrance, I could see him just going ahead and installing the breakers.

Now as for what appears to be the Main breaker, if that is also paralleled instead of just using one pole and leaving the other unwired, then you have 120A OCPD on a 60A service. Not very nice either.

BTW, from the limited view of the outside photo, I cannot make heads nor tails of what is going on with the service. Two weatherheads, as well as outside-mounted conduit with individual wires going into it as well as a lighting outlet. I would really like to see the schematic of that.
I also cannot tell whether we are seeing three service wires or just two wires and a (grounded?) messenger wire. Or maybe some abandoned service wires left in place?
 
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Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor


I keep trying to decipher this picture.

It appears as if there are 3 wires coming to the house from POCO (240 volts??).

It also looks like the wires in the conduit (and feeding the flood lamp) are jumped off of the service wiring and have no overcurrent protection.
Yea, also there appears to be two service conduits. If you look not one of those has three wires in it.
looks like free power to me. Or it could be fused power to the garage.
 

GoldDigger

Moderator
Staff member
Yea, also there appears to be two service conduits. If you look not one of those has three wires in it.
looks like free power to me. Or it could be fused power to the garage.
Looking more closely at the angles of the three visible overhead wires, I think that the upper two, which are parallel to each other, are the service wires, one insulated (ceramic cylinder) and the other not as much (just an eye bolt?). And the third wire below them both, also not very well insulated from the wood, is going in a different direction.
That would result in the hot and neutral going into different weatherheads and one possibly fused and switched wire coming back out the upper weatherhead to feed the outside lights and other structure (outside lights for garage area or driveway security, on same switch as porch light). Which would put service and branch conductors in the same raceway.
My SWAG is that the outside lights were also added later, although not as recently as the breakers and new meter.
 
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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Yea, also there appears to be two service conduits. If you look not one of those has three wires in it.
looks like free power to me. Or it could be fused power to the garage.
Need to know more about the installation. If this were a farmhouse around here, none of what you are looking at would be POCO owned/controlled - the meter would be on a pole somewhere else on premises, third wire could be switched wire to a yard light on the pole or other structure.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
Need to know more about the installation. If this were a farmhouse around here, none of what you are looking at would be POCO owned/controlled - the meter would be on a pole somewhere else on premises, third wire could be switched wire to a yard light on the pole or other structure.
Actually we do not need any more information. The person said the dwelling is in Los angeles and in DWP teritiory. Here in CA the POCO does not own the equip. The Owner is always responsible for it. Why this place was not tagged and disconnected already is a mystery.
 
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