Subpanel or new main panel?

Old 08-30-04, 07:27 AM
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Subpanel or new main panel?

I'd like to add some lighting to my house. Rather than run these new lights off of existing (possibly overloaded) circuits, I'd like to start about 4 new circuits and just run new wiring to the new fixtures. My main panel has the old and expensive Zinssco(?) breakers, and doesn't seem to have much extra room for new breakers.

Would you just pay the $700(?) to install a new service panel? Or run a small subpanel from the service panel?

Old 08-30-04, 07:40 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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You have not provided enough information to answer this question.

What size is your existing main panel? What size is your incoming main service? Are you likely to need other circuits in the future, or do you have most of the basic circuits needed in a residence?

One other comment. Four circuits for lighting sounds like a lot. Unless you are talking about quite a few lights or high current lights, you may well be able to get away with fewer than four circuits.
Old 08-30-04, 09:05 AM
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Main panel seems to be 230 V/100 A. Is that enough info? I'm assuming main service is the same, but do not know.

Central A/C has its own box. House is 2100 sqft, with many gas appliances (oven, range, water heater). So I'm guessing that the existing circuits are not terribly strained, but would need to verify.

I was thinking probably 2 circuits for lighting, and perhaps another 2 for electrical outlets, as the house doesn't have enough.
Old 08-30-04, 02:47 PM
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As you know you do have multiple option available to you. The first thing i would do is verify the load on your existing circuits with ammeter and try to reuse the existing circuits as this would be the most economical. remember your going to be more concerned with with your new lighting fixture loads rather than recepticles, if the recepticles are going to be general purpose recepticles. If you find you cant add to your existing circuits then you have to check the load of the main panel to see if possible to add sub-panel. It might not be possible to do any of those things because it sounds like you might be undersized or close to it at you main panel according to nec standards
2100 sq ft x 3 vA = about 50 amps for lighting and general purpose recepticles not including your a/c and other required loads. but i suggest to try your other options before upgrading your service

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