Details and Photos About The Replacement of a 4 Gang Electric Meter Base
Dear Mr. Electrician: I live in a condominium community. While walking my dog I took notice of my 4 gang electric meter base on the side of the building. It has a lot of rust and looks very old. Is this something that I should contact my property association about?
Answer: Yes absolutely contact your association or property manager to have this looked at. The problems that you see on the outside may indicate more severe issues inside of the electric meter base. Below are pictures of a 4 gang electric meter socket base that I was called to look at and then replace. NOTE: Text links go to products on Amazon.
Labor to Replace a 4 Gang Meter Base
I installed a Siemens 5 gang meter socket to replace the rusted four gang, single phase, electric meter base socket on a residential condominium building. The electrical service was 120/240 volts, with a four hundred amp underground feeder.
For the entire job I figured about 40 man hours of labor which included driving two new ground rods with a new grounding electrode conductor and intersystem bonding termination, permit application, electrical inspection, call for a property markdown, arrangements with the power company to have meter locks removed ahead of time and to disconnect power when needed, pre-cutting and painting of the new meter base back board, advance notification to all of the dwelling unit occupants about the power outage due to work being done, labeling of existing tenant load wires, removal and disposal of the old multi-gang meter socket, and installation of the new multi-gang meter socket.
When I submit my permit application I include a short one page typed “Scope of Work” statement briefly explaining what work will be done. This gives the electrical inspector a better idea before hand of what is going on. If something is not right it is better to find out before work commences.
The actual time spent just removing the old meter base and installing the new Siemens 5 gang meter base was approximately 3 hours using three experienced electricians.
Temporary power for our tools is usually derived from another nearby electric meter base circuit breaker or from a willing homeowner. A portable generator could also be used for temporary power, but they tend to be noisy.
To help preserve the new meter socket installation I caulked the top where it meets the building with clear outdoor gutter and flashing silicone caulk. I also caulked around the top hub covers. Those are the two areas I have found that water is likely to enter. The 23/32″ CDX plywood backboard was primed and painted to help it last longer. I always cut the board and primed and painted days before the replacement so we could focus on getting power restored as quickly as possible.
Tools Used to Replace a Four Gang Meter Base
Tools on hand for the meter base replacement included a hydraulic knockout punch set, hole saws, reciprocating saw, circular saw, oscillating saw, cordless pistol drills, cordless angle drill, caulk gun, impact driver. Also needed was a socket set, ratchet, and torque wrench to tighten the electrical connections. Allen wrenches were also needed in addition to lineman pliers, Knipex high leverage diagonal cutters, screw drivers, Channellock pliers, Half round files, knife, four foot ladder, and a work table. Also used were a shovel, 4″ trench shovel, pick ax, pry bars, paint brushes, wire brushes, sandpaper, painter’s scraper to remove old caulk, extension cords, GFCI portable outlet box, goggles, gloves, and a hand truck. I also had bolt cutters and a large crimper available.
Materials Used to Replace a Four Gang Electric Meter Base
Materials for this job included one 5 gang meter socket – Siemens #SP4511RJB,
four 2 pole 100 amp Siemens circuit breakers, exterior primer, exterior paint, 23/32″ plywood, 2 ground rods, two ground rod clamps, #4 copper grounding wire, #2 aluminum THWN, aluminum rated split bolt connectors, rubber tape, black vinyl electrical tape, aluminum anti-oxidant compound, four 1 1/4″ chase nipples with locknuts and plastic bushings, one 3/4″ chase nipple with locknut and bushing for the ground wire entering the rear, 2″ and 2 1/2″ deck screws, 1 1/2″, 2″, and 2 1/2″ x #12 sheet metal screws, GE silicone 2 Gutter and Flashing caulk, intersystem bonding termination, small cable straps for ground wire, a button Romex connector for the ground wire, green electrical tape, white electrical tape, fender washers, stick-on numbers, foam backer rod, cheap plastic tarp, pieces of wall insulation to stuff into the wall, and duct seal to fill the chase nipples to reduce the amount of cold air going into the wall. I also had a can of Rust-OLeum industrial gray spray paint on hand for touch-up.
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