A new electric panel?


Old 01-12-06, 08:15 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 44
A new electric panel?

I in the process of finishing my upstairs. It will be a total of 900 SF.
Getting ready to do the electric. I have had some tell me that I should put a separate panel upstairs. Others say to tap into the one downstairs. The one downstairs has five openings for breakers. What are the pro's and con's of each method? Is the decision mostly preference?

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Old 01-12-06, 08:35 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
First you need to determine what your electrical needs are upstairs.

Determine the number and type of circuits you need.

If you are in the US then you will need:

At least one 20 amp circuit for any bathrooms.
At least one AFCI circuit for the bedrooms. Depending on the number of bedrooms you will want two or more.
If you are planning on an office of any type you may want one circuit just for that room.

Once you know your requirements you can plan accordingly.

Is it a straight shot to the upstairs, or do you need to run some distance to avoid first floor wall damage? Do you have a place upstairs for a panel? Can you get AFCI circuit breakers for the panel you now have? Is the downstairs panel in good shape?

The advantage to an upstairs panel is that you can easily find the right breakers since you are buying all new. You run one cable (larger in size, but one cable) to the upstairs panel. The upstairs panel is easier to wire since you can leave it completely disconnected from the main panel until you have it completely wired. Any tripped breaker is a shorter walk to reset.

Disadvantages to an upstairs panel are that you have to put the panel somewhere. Since it can't go in a bathroom or a clothes closet, you may have trouble finding a suitable location.

Advantages to using the main panel are that all breakers will be in one spot. You donít have to route a large cable upstairs.

Disadvantages include that you may run out of space and that you have to run all cables upstairs, perhaps finding multiple ways to route the cables.

There are things I have missed, so start by posting back with your list of circuits so we have an idea what you need upstairs.

Last edited by racraft; 01-12-06 at 08:47 AM.
Old 01-12-06, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: port chester n y
Posts: 2,117
A Feeder to a subpanel (S-P) requires one 2-pole C-B in the "Main" panel, an arrangement that leaves 3 spaces in the "Main" panel for future circuits. This allows, if needed in the future, the insertion of a 2nd 2-pole breaker for another S-P directly next to the "Main" panel, so you are not limited to only 3 breakers for future circuits.This is the best way to provide for future circuits without extensive changes in the wiring of the "Main" panel.A Feeder requires only one Equiptment Grounding Conductor compared to the 4-5 EGC"s you may need if the new Branch-Circuits extend from the "Main" panel, and you may find that there are in-sufficient terminals for connecting both 4-5 Neutrals and 4-5 EGC"s.

Depending upon the proposed connected loads, 5 single-pole breakers may not be sufficient for the required Branch-Circuits.If you modify you'r design, and find you need another B-C, you will have provisions in the near-by S-P.

Good Luck, & Learn & Enjoy from the Experience!!!!!!!1

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