question on adding an outlet

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  #1  
Old 03-25-05, 06:51 PM
tony44
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question on adding an outlet

I have a sub-panel that is maxed out on breakers.

I want to add a new outlet. The location is several feet under the sub-panel box itself. I want to add the new outlet to an existing circuit that has five outlets.

Here is the question: Can I run a wire down the wall to the new box, and in the sub-panel box detach the 5-outlet circuit wire, wire nut it with the incoming black wire along with another short black wire (three wires are wire-nutted inside the panel box), then attach the short wire to the breaker.

In other words, I have a wire nut connection in the sub-panel. Is that OK? It sure would be easier than to try to attach the 5-outlet circut to the new outlet box and then run a single wire up to the sub-panel breaker.

Of course, the new incoming neutral and ground will be attached to the (neutral?) bar.

Related question: If this wire-nut arrangement is OK, do the new incoming neutral and ground have to be attached to opposite ends of the neutral bar?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-25-05, 11:07 PM
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No you can not do this, the main panel cannot be used as a junction box. You would also be creating a branch circuit using two different neutrals, this would be a code violation. A better solution would be to see if your panel will accept tandem breakers which would allow you to place the existing circuit and your new circuit on one breaker. See this link....http://www.acehardware.com/sm-q0-tan...i-1297999.html
 
  #3  
Old 03-26-05, 04:40 AM
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There is nothing wrong with what you propose. Some breakers even allow you to attach two wires to the breaker, but that depends on the breaker.

The only exception would be if the existing five receptacles are for a bathroom, kitchen, dining room or laundry.

As far as the neutral ground bar is concerned, the neutral and grounds can be connected tight next to each other on the bar if you wish, as long as this is the main panel.

It would be better to install a twin or tandem breaker, if the panel accepts them.
 
  #4  
Old 03-26-05, 08:43 AM
tony44
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questions for roger and racraft

roger, I wrote that it is a sub-panel box not the main panel box. Does this change your answer? The electrician that installed used tandem breakers for all available 20 and 15 amp breakers and said that it could not accept more breakers. So I have to add this outlet to an existing circuit.

racraft, regarding your advice "As far as the neutral ground bar is concerned, the neutral and grounds can be connected tight next to each other on the bar if you wish, as long as this is the main panel,"

This is not the main panel but a sub-panel. It's the old main panel. New main is outside, other side of house.

"It would be better to install a twin or tandem breaker"
Can't, if my electrician was correct.
 
  #5  
Old 03-26-05, 11:16 AM
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If this is a sub panel then you need separate neutral and ground bars. The neutral goes to the neutral bar and the ground goes to the ground bar.
 
  #6  
Old 03-26-05, 10:00 PM
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Tony sorry I havent replied sooner. I understood this to be a sub-panel but for some reason stated in my reply it was the main panel. but it doesnt change my answer. But I should clarify my answer, first Bob is correct about some breakers accepting two ungrounded conductors, though I dont think this is very commonly done, even if they do, its not a preferred method IMO. I believe that the manufacturer requires that the two conductors be connected on the breaker and not spliced in a wirenut then landed on to the breaker. the statement about two different neutrals wasnt correct as I reread your first post, my mistake...sorry. I have always been taught that when a panel is full...ie...all circuits have been used then Art. 373.8 1999 code applies. Any additional wiring would likely violate the cross sectional area fill rules. Considering it would be down right hard to calculate this it simply is best to consider the box "maxed out". So this is a grey area IMO. I would agree with Bob that you probably will be fine just adding this one circuit considering his other points provided your breakers will allow two wires. Otherwise I would consider using a differently configured panel or larger subpanel. If you have a panel that accepts tandems however you are probably at the max now.
 
  #7  
Old 03-26-05, 10:08 PM
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Tony, your original plan is fine, if, as Bob said, the circuit does not currently serve receptacles in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry or dining room.
 
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