Installing a new main circuit panel

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Old 05-27-08, 05:17 AM
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Installing a new main circuit panel

My main circuit panel got damaged, and I am going to be switching it out. I have a cutler hammer 100 amp box. How do you determine which circuit panel to get? At Home Depot, they have a 100 amp box with a side mount main breaker, and 20 positions-40 breaker max, and a 30 position box. I want to put in a top mount main breaker. I need to either put a sub panel in or use slim line, double breakers, because I am out of room, and there are 2 circuits that have double loads going to them. If I go with a sub panel, how do you determine how big of a breaker to put in? If I am going to just add a few low load lines into the sub panel, would a 50amp breaker do? I have 2-220, breakers in my main box now, an electric stove, and my ac unit. How many 220 lines can you run in one panel? I mean if I add up all of my breakers, it far exceeds 100 amps???
I would like to upgrade my service, but the power company said that I have to bring in my electric service into another part of the house, due the fact that a pool was put in the back yard to close to the existing service entrance, which means major reworking of the basement, and I would have hard wire smoke detectors in, and I just don't have the time right now to do all that. Thanks for your advise....
 
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Old 05-27-08, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by kskier View Post
My main circuit panel got damaged
What is the extent of the damage?

How do you determine which circuit panel to get? At Home Depot, they have a 100 amp box with a side mount main breaker, and 20 positions-40 breaker max, and a 30 position box.
If there's room, I would recommend a full 40 space panel. The bigger the better -- you'll never regret having too much space. Personally I prefer either Siemens, Cutler Hammer CH series or SquareD Q0 series. The lower cost lines like Homeline, Murray, Cutler BR, etc are okay but not my favorite.

If I go with a sub panel, how do you determine how big of a breaker to put in?
Size the main panel to avoid the need for a subpanel.

How many 220 lines can you run in one panel?
20 if the service can handle the amps.

I mean if I add up all of my breakers, it far exceeds 100 amps???
Do a "demand load calculation" to determine if your 100A panel is still adequate. You can find a few procedures using Google.
 
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Old 05-27-08, 06:00 PM
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water dripped down the main service line into the service panel, and shorted out the main breaker, and 2 of the breakers underneath it on that same side buss. the buss looked okay, and I changed out the bad breakers, but now looking back, I should have changed out the whole panel then!
 
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Old 05-28-08, 08:29 AM
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The lowest cost and labor option is to find a rebuilt kit that will fit your existing panel. You're allowed to just replace the "guts" of the panel without having to pull all of the wires out and replace the box. If you go to an electrical supply house with the make/model of your existing panel and the appropriate measurements, they can probably find one that will fit. Of course, finding and fixing the leak is the first order of business.
 
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Old 05-28-08, 08:59 AM
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What does local code require?

If you are replacing damaged service equipment you may be required to upgrade the service equipment and possibly the entire service to current standards, and many jurisdictions in my area now require a 200A service at residential properties.

In my area some local AHJs also prohibit half-width breakers, not all panels are listed for half-width breakers, and those that are listed for them often restrict their number and/or specify their allowable bus bus positions.

I call such problems out frequently at homeowner installed (and sometime "professionally" installed) electrical panels, and the usual response from the seller or their agent is "But they sell them at Home Depot/Lowes/Menards!".

Unfortunately, the "big box" home improvement stores sell some items absolutely prohibited in the NEC/IRC/IBC, and/or commonly prohibited by local codes - the only certain way to determine what's acceptable to a local building department is to ask them.

Finally, there is a reason why code restricts the location of service drops in proximity to pools, driveways, baloneys, roofs and the like, and once the electrical utility has put you on notice that your arrangement violates current standards, your insurance company may deny coverage if for example someone using a long-handled pool net contacts the service drop.
 
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