new subpanel

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  #1  
Old 06-14-06, 09:01 PM
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new subpanel

I need to install a new subpanel in my attic. the primary service panel is in the basesment. My problem is that the house I just bought has one circuit that trips when there is too much draw from the main entry lighting (exterior and interior), foyer lights, hall lights (upstairs and downstairs), stair lights, and the fan, heater, and lights in two bathrooms... as well as a few outlets in one bedroom. Yikes! Whoever did this wiring 30 years ago was an idiot! I intend to place a new subpanel in the attic and break up the service to the various draws on the second floor.

How do I determine which is the correct gauge/type wire from the primary service panel to the new subpanel?

I intend to fish the wire through the walls from the basement to the attic with minimal sheetrock removal, should the cable be armored?

My service is 150 amp... can I place a 150 amp panel in the attic?

I'm not going to do this myself but I do want to know what to do before I hire someone so that I what to look for when it is done.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-15-06, 03:40 AM
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Location: New Bern, NC
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Originally Posted by srj96
I need to install a new subpanel in my attic. the primary service panel is in the basesment.
This could be done with individual circuits and may be cheeper to do that way.
Originally Posted by srj96
How do I determine which is the correct gauge/type wire from the primary service panel to the new subpanel?
Table 310.15 (B)(6) of the NEC 100 amp is number 2 aluminum, 150 amp is 2/0 aluminum
Originally Posted by srj96
I intend to fish the wire through the walls from the basement to the attic with minimal sheetrock removal, should the cable be armored?
This depends on your local building codes. By national code no. You need to check with your local building department.
Originally Posted by srj96
My service is 150 amp... can I place a 150 amp panel in the attic?
Sure you can use a 150 amp panel, but finding a 150 amp breaker to fit into your existing 150 amp panel could be hard to do. You also probably do not need 150 amps for the second floor, unless you are planning to build a small workshop upstairs. If you post details about what all you have upstairs we could help with some load calculations, but just a quick guess is that you are using less wattage upstairs than a 60 amp panel could handle.
 
  #3  
Old 06-15-06, 05:32 AM
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Location: Central New York State
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Don't blame the person who wired the place 30 years ago. While it is true that what you have would not be wired as is today, back then it was fine. My guess is that the heaters in the bathrooms were not there originally. And of course there were no AFCI requirements 30 years ago either.

Before you think about a sub panel, think about dividing that circuit into three (or more) circuits. You may very well be able to leave some of the circuit as is and simply split the heaters to their own circuits(s), or something similar. The best plan would depend on access and present wire routing.

On the other hand, if you need plan on other additions to the electrical system, then perhaps a sub panel is in order. However, the attic may not be the best spot for it. Panels have specific requirements for space in front of the panel. An attic may not allow enough room for a sub panel. An upstairs hallway (covered by a picture) may be a better location.

A good electrician should be able to help you decide what is most appropriate. Then get at least two other opinions and prices before doing anything.
 
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