advice on adding amps to service: tandem 20 amp breaker

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Old 04-12-07, 07:05 AM
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tzz
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advice on adding amps to service: tandem 20 amp breaker

i have the need to add several hundred watts of light to an already maxed out lighting system for artwork.

when looking at my service panel of breakers with a friend who is an apprentice electrician, he explained the following:

1. you can only use 80% of the panel breaker space
2. so in order to get more amps on that line, we can use a tandem QP 20 amp breaker
3. there does not appear to be any space left beyond the 80% already occupied

my concern is overloading the circuit and causing a fire.

the wires do seem to be the thick type [10ga i think].

does this seem like a safe approach?

any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

thank you.
 
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Old 04-12-07, 07:12 AM
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btw: i did read the current thread abt tandem breakers. it's informative. i guess i'm hoping for someone with knowledge to say, "yes, you can add one tandem and get more watts for your lights without endangering your family"

or "be careful because......"

thanks
 
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Old 04-12-07, 07:15 AM
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This is one of the wackiest things I've heard recently. I'm guessing you misunderstood what he said. There are a lot of 80% rules in the code, but this isn't one of them. You can use all the spaces in your panel.

But before you touch anything, obtain and read three books on home wiring. You've got a lot to learn before you start.
 
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Old 04-12-07, 07:22 AM
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As John stated, you can use 100 percent of the spaces in your panel. I hope you misunderstood your friend.

As for the second comment, that too is incorrect. You cannot "get more amps on that line." The maximum size a general purpose circuit can be is 20 amps. If that circuit is maxed, then you need to add a different "line", commonly referred to as a circuit.

If you have unused spaces in your panel, then a new 20 amp breaker can be added and a new circuit run. If you do not have unused spaces in your panel then tandems can be used if they are allowed by the panel manufacturer and you if you have not already maxed out your panel (some panels cannot take tandem breakers, others can accept them only in certain locations).

But, also as John stated, you need to read a book or two on home wiring before you attempt anything like this.
 
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