Subpanel / Permit / Inspection question

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Old 01-23-03, 11:07 AM
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Subpanel / Permit / Inspection question

I am hoping to get an answer to my subpanel / more breaker question, but since I suspect that I am out of room in the main panel, I think I might need to go the subpanel route.

I have read through a bunch of the archives regarding subpanels, and think I have a good idea of what I would need in order to add a 100A double pole breaker to feed a 12 space or more box.

My real question is whether I can go ahead and do this work (add the sub and breakers) and then get that inspected at the same time as the rough-in inspection for my lighting / receptacle project (the reason for needing more space!). Or do I need to get another permit?

Should I go with a Siemens panel at HD so that I can re-use some of the existing Murray/Seimens breakers in the main panel when I move stuff over? Are they decent quality?

Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 01-23-03, 11:21 AM
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You can use the murray/siemens breakers and I was reading that you were told to feed the sub with a 100 amp breaker ..not necessary!
just feed with a 30-40? amp 2=pole breaker and you will be fine for
4-6 15-20 amp breakers
 
  #3  
Old 01-23-03, 11:24 AM
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On all permit questions I suggest you call your building department. They may be willing to work with you on that. If you don't have the first permit yet, I see no reason why all this work can't be on the same permit.
 
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Old 01-23-03, 11:36 AM
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EddieVolts-

That is kind of what I thought. The only stuff going on the sub is a about 10 general purpose recepts and 3 lighting circuits. Nothing huge like a 5 HP compressor or anything. I think I will go with a 60A breaker though, just to be on the large-size. (anyone else concur with that idea?)

John-

I already have the permit, but the building dept was pretty happy that I bothered. I think they would be okay with it. The inspection is done by a 3rd party company, so I will call them in the am and make sure they don't mind.

If I go with 1 60A double in the main panel, what size / type wire would I connect it to the sub panel with? #6? Also, if it is in an unfinished basement, conduit is not required, right? (none of the romex in the basement is covered by anything - just stapled to the joists.) The sub panel will only be a few inches from the main.
 
  #5  
Old 01-23-03, 11:53 AM
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how remote is your sub from the main?
40 amps will be plenty and a #8 with four conductors will solve your needs
additionally you could look at the depot for a murray 100 amp main breaker panel with 30 slots..just an Idea . I do about 25 of these type a year and the panel is 59 dollars at the depot here in boston, maybe there also? just pull the meter and reuse the feeder cable and re-attach the ground and away you go!!!
 
  #6  
Old 01-23-03, 11:59 AM
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Sub will onle be a few inches from the main panel...

As for replacing the main panel with a larger capacity one, I don't think I would want to do that myself... And $100-150 for a subpanel installed by myself is likely cheaper than what a pro would charge in upgrade to a 30-space panel, right? How much might something like that cost? If like 200-300, I might consider calling around for some estimates.

Thanks guys!
 
  #7  
Old 01-23-03, 12:38 PM
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Rip off?

Just talked to a local electrician - he said essentially "if the 100A service is 30 years old, it should be replaced anyhow, as that is how long they last..." and "Upgrading to 200A is about $1000". I got the feeling he was trying to persuade me to do the 200A upgrade, rather than upsize the existing box (he said they don't make 30-circuit 100A boxes...?) or add a subpanel (he said ~$350).

I think since my demand calc is only 73A, I might as well just add the subpanel myself for $100.

Is there any truth to the "service" only lasting 30 years?
 
  #8  
Old 01-23-03, 01:34 PM
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winkleal
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The house I am currently living in has a 200A service SQ D QO series box that is approx. 30 yrs old. I have no problems with the panel. As long as the box is not corroding away, and parts are still available, I see no reason to upgrade the current box. Adding a sub-panel is the way to go. The only reason that I can see to upgrade is if your load calc. is higher than your current panel can handle.

Tony
 
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Old 01-24-03, 06:10 AM
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Going for the Service Upgrade

The wife and I had a long discussion on the pros/cons of getting the 200A upgrade now rather than just installing a subpanel.

The kicker that sealed the deal in favor of the upgrade was when I was going to install a hard-wired smoke detector in the basement last night, and realized that the 15A "basement circuit" is double-tapped to run a few outlets in the living room, as well as EVERYTHING in the basement! Obviously I need to correct that asap!

Plus, since the boss wants a hot tub / spa by next winter, the extra capacity will certainly be nice, and it will also allow us to get a new dual-power range (since I am the cook, this has more priority than the spa!)

I called my local inspector and got a list of 3 local electricians that he "recommends / doesn't have problems with" and then made 3 appointments for next week to get estimates. From what I have read in the archives, I imagine that the 100A to 200A upgrade will be somewhere in the 1000 to 1200 range... Sound right?

I think I will go with a 30/40 space QO panel. (I can specify right?)

One last question - when the pros come in to look at the panel, they shouldn't have a problem with the fact that I am doing the wiring for my addition myself, right? (I pulled a permit, and it is just a few receptacles and lighting circuits).

Thanks for all the help guys.
 
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Old 01-24-03, 06:31 AM
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As long as the pro doesn't have to be responsible for your work, he won't mind. Your work is all going to be done after his work is completed, right?
 
  #11  
Old 01-24-03, 06:40 AM
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Thanks John. Essentially, I will do all the rough-in wire of the addition (almost already finished) but not connect anything to the panel until after the upgrade is finished. I can get the rough-in inspection done prior to the upgrade, right? Just tell the inspector that the panel will be upgraded prior to me connecting my new circuits...

I need to get the addition work finished ASAP -- with insulation down in spots and no sheet rock, it is colder than a witch's you- know-what in there! :-)
 
  #12  
Old 01-24-03, 07:51 PM
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Chances are the inspector will not have a problem with that.
It is good to see you have decided to upgrade. If the time ever comes to resale then the
new owners will fill confident to see one panel, I believe it looks like some people have
scabbed on to add sub-panels, and not just do a upgrade.
 
  #13  
Old 01-25-03, 05:38 PM
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aphares-

Yeah - I think the inspectors will be okay with it - they have been really helpful and straightforward thus far. I have 3 pros coming out this week, so I will post the estimates.

Just wired up a new bath fan, and reworked the wiring to the 1/2 bath. Quick question - I put in a ceiling box for an AC powered smoke detectors and ran the power as follows - breaker - > 14/2 -> ceiling box w/ pig tails for detector -> 14/2 to switch box for bath fan / light -> from that box 14/2 to another switch box for 6 cans for adjacent room.

That should be okay right? I am going to have a dedicated 20A GFCI in the bath as well, so NEC says I can share the light / fan circuit with another room.

Definitely agree on having extra panels as looking sloppy - I already have 2 because of the off peak. 3 would have looked suspect!
 
  #14  
Old 01-25-03, 06:54 PM
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Yes, comgenboy, that's fine. But double-check with your inspector to verify that he'll allow you to have a smoke detector that isn't wired to the other smoke detectors in your home. This isn't an electrical code question, but a building code question.
 
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Old 01-27-03, 05:39 AM
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AFAIK hard-wired detectors are only required in new construction... I would think I would get "bonus points" by having atleast one hard-wired one in addition to the battery powered ones elsewhere in the house. :-)

That being said, it would be easy for me to run some 14/3 from this one into the basement to power an additional one and link them.
 
  #16  
Old 01-27-03, 06:17 AM
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Post bathroom circuit

[qoute]That should be okay right? I am going to have a dedicated 20A GFCI in the bath as well, so NEC says I can share the light / fan circuit with another room.[/quote]
The required 20 amp circuit for a bathroom may be used for lights or fans only in the bathroom in which it originates.
A receptacle circuit in a bath may serve receptacles in other baths,but not the lights or fans in the other bath.
 
  #17  
Old 01-27-03, 07:55 AM
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That doesn't seem right to me Texsparky - the bath has a dedicated 20A circuit just for the GFCI and then the lights and fan are on a circuit that is shared with the adjacent room... How is that a violation?
 
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Old 01-27-03, 08:36 AM
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My bad!
I was reading the sentence by itself and not putting it with the statement above it.I thought you were sharing lights in the other rooms with the bath circuit.

Sorry about that.
 
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Old 01-27-03, 09:22 AM
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No problemo Tex.

I setup my rough-in for this Friday, and confirmed with the inspectors that it wouldn't be a problem to have this inspection finished prior to the 200A upgrade.

Yet another question - how much $ do you think it would add to the 100A -> 200A upgrade job if I also wanted them to put a 50A sub in the garage? There is already conduit run from the house to the garage, so I think they would just need to pull the new cable through.
 
  #20  
Old 01-27-03, 12:20 PM
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All we see, is this computer screen, and not your back yard. I believe speaking for
everyone here, it would be impossible to give you a good standard to go by. Maybe with
measurements and existing pipe size somebody might take a stab at it.
 
  #21  
Old 01-30-03, 06:30 AM
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Well, got the first of the 3 esitmates for the 200A upgrade.

This one doesn't specify brands of equipment (I would like to go with Square D for the panel) but the total comes out to 1210.00 with the permits / inspections.

It also includes removing my off-peak service, but the sparky that I met with last night said I might as well leave it, and then hook my hot tub up to it. The guy I spoke to last night also thought it wouldn't be worth it to put a 40 amp panel in the garage - reason being that the "conduit" I thought I had running to the garage is just to risers with UF cable in between.

The proposal I just received listed adding the 40A sub in the garage as costing 565.00.... Probably not worth it. I might just run some 10/3 to the garage and install a 30A sub myself sometime when it is warmer!

Does 1200 sound reasonable for the Philly Burbs?
 

Last edited by comgenboy; 01-30-03 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 01-30-03, 10:06 AM
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Anyone care to comment on the price?

Oh, and I found out that the 1200 included a Square D, 42 circuit panel (I assume the 30 space, 42 circuit panel, but am not positive).
 
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Old 01-30-03, 10:21 AM
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The price sounds in line with the prices around here. IMO...
$300-$400 worth of material and about 8 hrs labor is probably what the estimate is based on.(includes drive time and time spent at supply house)THough most jobs will be completed much faster.Let us know how long it takes just out of curiousity.
 
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Old 01-30-03, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Tex!

I am still waiting to hear back from the other two contractors before I make a decision. I will post those results once I get the estimates.
 
  #25  
Old 01-30-03, 08:51 PM
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I would be cautious about any estimate that didn't specify the type of panel that would be installed and be extremely careful of the words... "or equilivant".

A case in point of a contractor trying to pass off a Federal Pacific panel when the contract called for a "Square D QO panel or equilivant." The contractor tried to explain that the Federal Pacific panel was just as good as the QO panel!! LOL

IMHO the Square D QO panel is the best made. It may be one of the more expensive panels, but then you always get what you pay for. Whether paying for the best... or paying the cheapest and getting the worst.

Now I am sure to get a comment or two from people who favor other panels, but what the heck! (chuckle)

OH!.. Is that the Square D QO or Homeline panel??
 
  #26  
Old 01-31-03, 05:18 AM
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I would expect it to be a QO, but I would obviously find out the exact model before accepting the bid.

Still waiting to get the other 2 bids...
 
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Old 02-04-03, 06:48 AM
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Last quote came in -- $1618.00!!! That is like 400 over what the other two were for.

I am now debating on doing the subpanel route, and leaving the off-peak for the hot-tub...

What size THHN wires would I want for a 60A sub? 6/6/6/8?
 
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