mis-placement of meter socket on a custom built home.

ShmomeyJune 20, 2012

We are currently going through the electical install phase of our new house. I drove up to the property to notice a very large out door electrical box being hooked up right next to the front door entrance. I was really annoyed that we are building a custom home with a large electrical box next to the front door. Is that common? The electrician quoted us a $1000 bucks to move it next to the garage. We were not told of this flaw prior to the construction phase. Should some one eat the cost on this other than the home owner? I think the builder should of been aware of this flaw and quoted it in the original price of the home. It feel it will make the front entrance look pretty crappy. The electrician told us he had no other option as it relates to placement.


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Posted by bevangel (My Page) on Wed, Jun 20, 12 at 11:56

By "out door electrical box" I assume you mean the main distribution panel that contains the main breaker (which will cut service to your entire house) and then a bunch of double and single breakers circuit breakers for the individual circuits.

I don't think I have EVER seen any house, whether a large custom house or a small tract home, that had the main distribution panel located right next to the front door. Those things are UGLY...but you don't want to disguise or hide them in any way because, in case of a fire, you want the firemen to be able to easily locate the main breaker to cut power. I can imagine that it might even be against the law to "hide" the panel so having it right next to the front door is totally unacceptable.

I think the main circuit breaker does have to be within a certain distance (probably a few feet) from where ever power enters your home but it seems really odd that they would bring power into your house right next to the front door. Even when the nearest utility pole is in the front yard, the house power line is run to the side or back of the house.

Why don't you try cross-posting your question on the "Electrical Wiring" forum here on Gardenweb? Perhaps there are experts over there that can tell you what your options might be. And some pictures, including one showing where the power line comes into your home might help.

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It is called a meter socket with disconnects. I am very frustated that we have to pay an extra $1000 to make our house look better due to a design flaw. I do not feel that I should pay the money.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:54PM
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If the service is underground, then the meter box can
go anywhere on the house that you wish. Is there a problem trenching to another part of the house?
Also, meters can be put on 'pedestals' out away from
the house. By pestal I mean a 6 X 6 timber.
You should find another contractor.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Is the box really "misplaced," or is this the location that is specified on the plans? If it is, then the electrician did no wrong. You'll have to hash out with the general contractor who pays to move it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:06PM
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I will hash it out with some one. I will go nuts if I have to walk past an electrical box every day to go into the house. I am thinking of ways to approach the builder like " this is your fault.. you should eat the costs" . That might not go over too well. That is what I want to say...

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:17PM
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From your post, it is difficult to determine if your "custom built" home is truly a custom built home or is it custom upgrades to a tract built home.

If it is truly a custom built home, somebody, somewhere, would have looked at, and signed off on the plans. If so, then what does your architect have to say?

If this is a tract built home, with custom upgrades, then the model homes should have had this upgrade pointed out - time to pull out the contract.

While I don't disagree that this is obviously very tacky - it's difficult to say where you should start in order to getting this corrected, but maybe talk to the general contractor first in order to gain some perspective.

Then find out whose butt you need to light a fire under!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:30PM
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There were more than one opportunity to fix this before the electrical work began and when it began. Anyone who had eyes on the plan could have said, "hold it, the owner is not going to like having the meter right next to the front door".

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 4:17PM
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... including the owner, who could have said "Umm, I don't like that there."

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Wow. That is really messed up! That makes me wonder what else that hack did to your house. Did he put the washer and dryer in the dining room?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Well , I talked the Electrician down to $600 bucks to move it unde the stairs of our walk out basement. Our house is built on a hill of a 5 acre lot. The builder just responded.. "You don't want it at the front door". In order to cut costs I had to give up our $600 dollar generator install option and $450 dollar pre hot tub 220v intall. I guess I can hire my own electriction to do the extras I cancelled.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 10:02AM
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Well , I talked the Electrician down to $600 bucks to move it under the stairs of our walk out basement.
I had to give up our $600 dollar generator install option and $450 dollar pre hot tub 220v intall.

Sounds like this is still costing you OVER $1000.00 !

My first question as to who is to blame-
- Did YOU sign off on these plans "pre-construction"?

When I built, I went over every single sheet of the plans, (finding several "mistakes" and omissions), and having the architect/builder correct them and I signed off on each revision and sheet of plans prior to the first shovel of dirt being turned.

If it is shown on the plans in that location, and you signed off on it, it is your "nickel" to move it.
If it is shown in another location, and the GC/Electrician put it there for "convenience" then it is their "nickel" to move it.
You may want to talk to the local Chief Electrical Inspector or the Chief Building Inspector before all the final hookups are made-something does not sound right about having the meter socket at the front entrance, not only aesthetically, but for safety reasons, blocking/delaying egress from the structure in an emergency, if the panel should catch fire!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Steve_fl, It appears these good folks were asleep at the wheel. This is a common thread through many of the gardenweb threads. The other common thread is folks who pay up front for work and never see the "contractor" again or get questionable work if he/she does show up.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 9:32AM
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