Do I need to upgrade my electrical service?

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Old 12-22-07, 11:06 AM
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Do I need to upgrade my electrical service?

Hello, I am in the process of finishing my basement. Moved into the house 5 years ago, with the intention of doing this but have not had the money or the time to start until a few months ago. I
have framed all my walls and had heat pump and air handler installed. Plus have installed lift station. Oh, I replaced all the plumbing in the house while I was at it.

As it stands right now I am adding 2 small bedrooms, a full bath and a living room to my one story home. This will add 800 square feet to my 1300 square foot home ( I am leaving a storage room in the basement unfinished).

Ok, here is my situation. I believe that I have a 150 amp service, at least that is what it says on the main breaker. My main breaker has the following. The panel model is GE tm3015c

2 40amp breakers
3 30 amp breakers
9 20 amp breakers (one can be decommissioned if needed, as I added it as an outlet in my garage).
7 15 amp breakers.
4 empty slots

I plan to add a sub panel in the basement which will contain the following.
1 15 amp arc fault breaker for both bedrooms (7 outlets and two overhead lights)
1 20 amp breaker for bath (GFCI)
2 20 amp breakers for living room outlets and lighting and 1 outlet in bedroom on the far wall).

The storage room and already has 15 amp service to it. Smoke alarms will be battery powered.

First question, am I skimping on the number of breakers for my project and second how do I know if I need to upgrade my service. I have seen a few equations, but I just can't quite make sense of them.

Note, that my father's friend is a non-practicing electrician, he will be hooking up my subpanel once I run the trunk (or whatever its called...what it it called anyway?). So I am not exactly flying solo on this one.

Thanks for any info or advice.
 
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Old 12-22-07, 11:09 AM
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Oh, not sure if its worth mentioning, but right now its only my wife and myself in the house.

Also, my house is all electric. Stove, Heat...etc.
 
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Old 12-22-07, 11:39 AM
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Just a couple more breakers

Put the two bedroom lights or all lights on a 15 amp breaker,

I would(personal preference) put each bedroom on its own 20amp breaker.

Otherwise so far so good. Might want to check on the smoke alarm codes and see if they need to be hardwired in.

BOB
 
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Old 12-22-07, 12:11 PM
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The receptacle you are adding to a bedroom can't be on the living room circuit unless it is AFCI protected.

Do not use a GFCI breaker for the new bathroom. This will make the lights go out in the event of a trip. Instead use a GFCI receptacle and leave the lights non-GFCI protected.

Put the new bedrooms on a 20 amp circuit. AFCI protected, of course.

The smoke alarms most likely need to be electric.

Keep the lights separated from the receptacles, at least in the living room.
 
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Old 12-22-07, 02:31 PM
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I would wire for baseboard heaters (as you have electic heat anyway) if you think it will get cold down there.
 
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Old 12-22-07, 04:04 PM
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Actually, everything in the bedrooms is supposed to be on AFCIs:

http://www.adairinspection.com/xsite...Files/AFCI.gif
 
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Old 12-22-07, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
Actually, everything in the bedrooms is supposed to be on AFCIs:

http://www.adairinspection.com/xsite...Files/AFCI.gif
Correct, which may include replacing the breaker that is running your existing smokes with an AFCI one. (unless your city forbids it) Although this may not apply if your city is fine with battery smokes.
 
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Old 12-22-07, 06:01 PM
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he will be hooking up my subpanel once I run the trunk (or whatever its called...what it it called anyway?).
It's called a feeder. You need four wires: two hots, one neutral and one grounding wire.

Don't skimp on circuits. You can add an extra circuit now for about $10 each. Doing the same thing later when you decide you don't have enough will cost you hundreds.

It is criticial to decide now whether or not you'll need supplemental heat in the basement. That decision will make a huge difference in your design.

how do I know if I need to upgrade my service
Do a google search on "demand load calculation". Follow the instructions.
 
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Old 12-23-07, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for all the replies.

Regarding the bedrooms, I ran 12/2, but the outlets that I installed are only 15 amp rated. I read another post that said this does not matter. Am I safe to use a 20amp breaker?

I will investigate if the smoke alarms need to be hard wired.

Regarding heat/air, I had a three ton heat pump/air handler installed, its larger than my upstairs unit. Plus in the south it does not get that cold.

Several posts mentioned putting lights on a different breaker, is this so that you don't end up in the dark if you blow a breaker?
 
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Old 12-23-07, 08:56 AM
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BTW, I found this link.

http://www.zenfixit.com/load_calculations.shtml

If its what I am looking for, please let me know. Sure looks like it.

Probably would not be a bad resource to add as a sticky to the top of the forum...
 
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Old 12-23-07, 09:36 AM
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That load calculation looks to be just what you need and easy to use also.
 
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Old 12-23-07, 08:12 PM
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15a receptacles on 20a circuits is ok for houses in the US. Putting the lights on a different circuit will keep them on if you trip a breaker; and if you use something like a vacuum, the lights won't dim (which really bothers some people).
 
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Old 12-23-07, 09:51 PM
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creedog, please put your city and country in the Location field of your profile. Some of the questions you are asking have location-dependent answers.

Several posts mentioned putting lights on a different breaker, is this so that you don't end up in the dark if you blow a breaker?
Putting lights on a different breaker than receptacles saves the annoyance of having the lights dim when you turn on the vacuum cleaner or hair dryer. It's not a safety issue, but your spouse will think you incompetent if the lights dim, and she'll worry about the house burning down no matter how many times you tell her it's okay.

Some people worry about that "end up in the dark" problem, but I don't. If you wire it properly, you'll only trip the breaker once every 20 years. And even when you do, I'm sure you can find your way out of the room in the dark anyway.

I will investigate if the smoke alarms need to be hard wired.
I'm betting you'll find that they do.
 
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Old 12-24-07, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
creedog, please put your city and country in the Location field of your profile. Some of the questions you are asking have location-dependent answers.
Auburn GA, Barrow County


Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
I'm sure you can find your way out of the room in the dark anyway.
I would hope that I can. Nonetheless I will put lighting in living room on different circuit. And I will hardwire the smoke alarms.
 
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