Questions about adding subpanel

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Old 07-29-06, 09:02 PM
W
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Questions about adding subpanel

I'm starting to gather information for adding a subpanel for my basement and have a few questions.

1. How can I tell what size my main panel is? I looked it up and down tonight and cannot find anything on it that would indicate it is 100 or 200 or whatever. I'm leaning towards 200 since there are a couple of 60 amp breakers in it.

2. My main panel does not have a main breaker in it. Can I install one? My house is new and still under the builder's warranty, so should I have him install it?

3. Does the subpanel have to be next to the main panel? I am making a wiring closet underneath the stairway to the basement which is only about 10 feet from the main panel and would like to locate the subpanel in there if possible.

What is the average size subpanel to be used for a basement? I plan to completely finish the basement with rooms such as a media room, kitchen, office, bathroom, and small shop.

Thanks
 
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Old 07-30-06, 04:48 AM
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1. Look outside near the meter. It sounds like you found a sub panel, and you have a meter main combo outside.

2. If your main panel has more than six breakers in it, it is required to have a main breaker. If what you are saying is true, ask the builder to send the electrician by one evening to explain to you what you are not understanding.

3. A panel can be almost anywhere in the house that you like. Not in a bathroom or cloths closet. If someone is likely to be hanging coats in that closet do not use it for the panel.
 
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Old 07-30-06, 06:27 AM
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It does sound like you have a main breaker outside at or near your meter. If this is true then you may have two choices. You may be able to install a second panel feeding from your meter, or you can install a sub panel from the panel you have.

The panel should say on it's label what size it is. You can also look when you find your main breaker.
 
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Old 07-30-06, 07:12 AM
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You guys are correct. There is a main breaker outside by the meter and it is a 200A breaker. It will be much easier to feed the sub from the existing panel instead of bringing it in from outside. The outside meter is, obviously, outside on one end of the house and the existing panel is in the basement on the other end of the house.

jwhite: Should my panel still have a breaker in it since there is a main breaker outside?

I think I will probably put a 100A in as my subpanel. I'd like to segregate things a little more than my builder did. It never made sense to me why the master bathroom and kitchen island are on the same circuit.

Is it common practice to put each room on its own circuit or to lump them together by location? For instance, I have some outlets upstairs on the same circuit as a room downstairs because they are directly above/underneath one another. I'd prefer to put each room on its own circuit and also separate the lights from the outlets if at all possible.

Thanks for the responses
 
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Old 07-30-06, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by wakebdr
It never made sense to me why the master bathroom and kitchen island are on the same circuit.
Assumin you are in the US, this should not be the case. However, the age of the house may have allowed for this.
 
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Old 07-30-06, 10:05 AM
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If your main breaker is outside, in electrical speak that IS your main panel. The other panel is a sub panel and does not need a main breaker.
 
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Old 09-12-06, 02:10 PM
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question about a sub panel

Since his house panel is a sub panel. How would he add a panel. Could you put another panel down line off a sub panel.
 
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Old 09-12-06, 03:56 PM
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Ronald,Yes.

More importantly.

Is this a "New" home or new to you?
important difference.
What style (if you don't mind).
Don't confuse this with unsafe.Not even implied.

Just some more detail, it is after all still under the builders warranty.

Please for acurate info, disclose your location, (in general, State Etc.)This will help tremendously.
 
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Old 09-12-06, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jwhite
If your main breaker is outside, in electrical speak that IS your main panel. The other panel is a sub panel and does not need a main breaker.
So the 'having more than 6 breaker' rule only applies to a -main- panel, not a sub panel?

I've seen people mention the same 6 breaker rule when talking about a separate garage. I assume you need a main breaker in a separate garage if there are more than 6 breakers because it counts as the main panel for that building. Is this correct?
 
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Old 09-12-06, 06:43 PM
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Depending on the electrician yes it is common to "lump" like ckts together (15amp req with 15 amp...20 amp req with 20 amp) So it would be common for your bath lights to be on with your kitchen island lights. Usually, electricians stay to one floor (as in plugs upstairs stay on a ckt with plugs up stairs but it is not unheard of for plugs to be divided b/w floors) The "umping" is due to the fact that you only have so much space in the panel yes it would be nice to have just on room be a ckt but sometimes that doesn't work out (actually alot of times) so we split it up and put 80% of that ckts max on one breaker where ever it comes from Study w/ powder w/ dining room light w/ nook light whatever as lng as you don't mix 15 amp required ckts with 20 ampo rquired ckts.
 
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