Adding hot tub service

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  #1  
Old 12-06-05, 04:06 AM
braphael
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Adding hot tub service

I need to add 220v, 50 A service for a outdoor hot tub. The panel in my garage is full. Can I replace 2 of the existing breakers with dual circuit breakers in order to free up room to add a new 50 A GFCI breaker for the hot tub? Or do I need to add a subpanel?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-06-05, 05:31 AM
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Whether you can use tandem breakers epends on whether your panel allows them or not. Check the information on the panel.

Is this your main panel? Is this a sub panel? If at all possible, you should run a load like this from your main panel
 
  #3  
Old 12-06-05, 05:55 AM
braphael
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Re:

THanks for the reply! This is my main panel. I checked, and the panel is a 30 space/30 circuit max. It is full. How do I proceed from here? I imagine that I need to add a subpanel in the garage next to the main panel. Does it need to be recessed, or can it be mounted to a piece of plywood screwed to the wall? Can the subpanel feed wire come through the sheetrock to feed the sub if I mount it to plywood? I guess I would need to move something from the main panel to the sub in order to free up space for a new breaker to feed the sub. Any suggestions? Also, what size wire do I need to run to feed 220V/50 Amp service to the hot tub if it will be about 80 feet from the panel?
 
  #4  
Old 12-06-05, 06:10 AM
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Your panel is full, as you figured that out. You can add a sub panel or you could replace your main panel.

One option would be to add a sub panel right next to to your main panel. Feed the sub panel from a breaker in your main panel and move a minimum of four circuits to the sub panel, freeing up four spaces in your main panel. Two of those spaces hold the breaker to feed the sub panel and the other two would hold the breaker for the hot tub.

You have many options for mounting a sub panel. It can be recessed or surface mounted. It sounds like your main panel may be recessed. If so you will have to remove some drywall to get at it to run a feeder to the main panel, so either plan on drywall repair or on constructing some kind of removable cover to get at the wires in the wall.

Your inspector won't allow wires exposed in the garage (except perhaps in the roof joists), so do plan on running wires in the walls.

As for your hot tub, you probably will be installing an outdoor panel to feed the tub. Remember that you need a regular circuit nearby as well, so plan on adding one if there isn't already one there. Also be aware that hot tubs (and pools) have very specific electrical rules that need to be followed. You will not get them all unless you read up on them first. it also helps to get your plans approved first. Most electrical inspectors will be glad to listen to your plans and let you know if those sound okay before you start.

You may want to get quotes to have an electrician do all this work for you. I especially recommend this if you are unsure about working in your main panel.
 
  #5  
Old 12-07-05, 05:41 AM
braphael
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RE: Adding Hot tub service

My main panel is a SquareD 200 Amp 30/30 panel.The panel is physically the same size as a 30/40 panel. Instead of adding a subpanel, can I replace the internal workings of the main panel with the internal workings of a 30/40 panel? This would allow me to replace 2 of the existing breakers with tandem breakers and free up space for a new 50A breaker for the tub. Also, looking at the current power distribution, I see that there are several circuits that can be combined. For instance, I have a small study with a 1/2 bath next to it. Each has its own circuit. The study has three receptacles and the bath has one GFCI receptacle. I also have 2 other bathrooms that have their own circuits. I believe I can combine these also. How do I go about combining these legally. Can they be combined in the main panel, or do I have to combine them in a box in the attic, and just use single feeds into the panel?
 
  #6  
Old 12-07-05, 05:55 AM
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No you cannot replace the guts of one panel with the guts of another. The manufacturer does not intend for this to be done and, since you would be using the panels in way not intended by the manufacturer, you would be violating code.

Bathrooms have specific codes. If the circuit that powers any bathroom powers both lights and receptacles in the bathroom then you cannot combine it with any other bathroom circuit, or any other circuit period.

There are ways that you can combine bathroom circuits, depending on the specific wiring, but we shouldn't even go there. Count yourself lucky that your bathrooms are wired separately. Many people don't have such a setup and are tripping breakers when the hair dryer and curling iron compete for power.

Why are you looking for shortcuts? Do this job the right way. Either completely replace your panel or add a sub panel right next to the existing one.
 
  #7  
Old 12-07-05, 06:13 AM
braphael
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Re:

Thanks for the sound advice. I will add a subpanel and move some of the existing circuits over to it. Then, as you suggested, add the tub circuit to the main panel.
 
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