Empty Slot in Breaker Box

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Old 06-19-08, 02:31 PM
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Empty Slot in Breaker Box

Is there an easy and safe method for a homeowner who knows very little about electricity to determine if one's breaker box has any empty slots?

Sq D Breaker box
14 circuits

11 20 amp
2 30 amp
1 50 amp

Thanks for your help

td
 
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Old 06-19-08, 02:58 PM
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Do you see the model number anywhere on the box?
 
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Old 06-19-08, 03:10 PM
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Sq D Breaker Box would be original to house apprx 40 yrs old.

QO Load Center
Cat # QOC20
Series L1
 
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Old 06-19-08, 03:43 PM
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Old 06-19-08, 04:07 PM
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Guessing by the model# 20 at the end it is probably a 20 space panel. I have never seen a 14 space panel. you can also tell by taking the cover off and seeing if there are anymore spaces to stab on breakers. This isn't too difficult. or if the cover has extra spaces that would be popped out and replaced by a breaker, although the covers can be misleading
 
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Old 06-19-08, 04:52 PM
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With SD they make a double breaker that turns a single slot into 2 seperate breakers.So you should have plenty of room.
 
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Old 06-19-08, 11:29 PM
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For majotry of the SqD products the spaces on the breaker box are 12, 16, 20 , 24 and 30 with 100 amp rated main breaker in there.

so I am thinking it possblty it is a 16 space box there but only way to find out is take the cover off and verify the number of breaker total on the lugs [ I useally don't bother count the cover much unless a legit catalog number stamped on cover otherwise the catalog numbers will be on the side of the breaker box tub ]

In most older home the 12 and 16 space is most common with it.

Becarefull some of the SqD box it will not take tadem breaker at all and they will come in two verison of twinner breaker one type is NON CTL and other is CTL verison one of them have cam on bottom of the breaker so watch out with it.

Merci,Marc
 
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Old 06-20-08, 06:54 AM
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Thank you for your responses.

This does appear to be 20 spaces/slots Sq D Breaker Box.

On my two 30 amp circuits and one 50 amp circuit, two spaces on each of these circuits are taken. Does this seem reasonable?

So with my eleven 20 amp circuits plus the six slots taken on the two 30 amp and one 50 amp circuit , it appears I have three spaces that are covered and would be available. Does this seem reasonable?

Now I will go back to original question from previous thread that left me hanging.

How difficult would it be to remove my dishwasher from one of the 20 amp circuits that is overloaded at times and place it on a separate circuit totally by itself. Dishwasher and breaker box are about twenty ft from each other.

I just would like some idea of the time and scope of work to get this accomplished.

Thanks again.
TD
 
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Old 06-20-08, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TigerDunes View Post
On my two 30 amp circuits and one 50 amp circuit, two spaces on each of these circuits are taken. Does this seem reasonable?
Yes that is correct. Circuit which use 2 slots are 240V circuits which feed large appliances (30A is probably water heater and cloths dryer, 50A is probably stove). Air conditioning is the another very common 240V circuit.

So with my eleven 20 amp circuits plus the six slots taken on the two 30 amp and one 50 amp circuit , it appears I have three spaces that are covered and would be available. Does this seem reasonable?
Yes that seems reasonable.

How difficult would it be to remove my dishwasher from one of the 20 amp circuits that is overloaded at times and place it on a separate circuit totally by itself. Dishwasher and breaker box are about twenty ft from each other.
Running the wire is usually the hardest part. Do you have access to the basement, attic or crawlspace where you could run wire?

I just would like some idea of the time and scope of work to get this accomplished.
Pulling a 20A circuit to the dishwasher is a pretty straightforward project. Materials should be maybe $40; an experienced person could do it in an hour or two; probably double that if it's your first time. The Black and Decker Guide to Home Wiring book is pretty inexpensive and covers this sort of project in picture-by-picture detail which is very useful for beginners. If you're more of a text person, the book Wiring Simplified also covers this sort of project more in depth but with fewer pictures and step-by-step.
 
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Old 06-20-08, 11:45 AM
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ibpooks

thanks so much for the great information.

I feel like I've received a quick primer and I know three times as much as I once did-although that's just a drop in the bucket. at least I can convert watts to amps-I think.

several more questions please. I thought breaker boxes had a pull handle in the box that would disconnect all power to the house. I don't see this. Am I mistaken? Or would this be at a disconnect on the outside? just wondering?

and as stated in previous thread, I have two common 120v receptacles next to the kitchen sink-one to the left,one to the right, both different circuits. I thought I should convert these to ground fault indicator receptacles. can you advise time and scope of work to accomplish this? and for new construction, what is code for using GFI receptacles? as stated my home is about 40 yrs old and I am certain has a few issues.

Thanks again. I expect to make these updates at time of kitchen remodel.

TD
 
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Old 06-20-08, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TigerDunes View Post
I thought breaker boxes had a pull handle in the box that would disconnect all power to the house. I don't see this. Am I mistaken? Or would this be at a disconnect on the outside? just wondering?
Usually the main disconnect is a main breaker either at the top or the bottom of the breaker panel. It's also reasonably common for the main disconnect to be outdoors near the electric meter.

GFCI can you advise time and scope of work to accomplish this?
Pretty easy. Just remove the receptacle, replace with a GFCI receptacle and connect only the LINE terminals. To provide downstream protection (if necessary), determine which cable is which and connect to LINE and LOAD properly.

and for new construction, what is code for using GFI receptacles?
All general-purpose 120V receptacles in the following locations: kitchen, bathroom, unfinished basement, crawlspace, outdoors, pool/spa/whirlpool/sauna, garage, shed, workshop, all similar locations.
 
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Old 06-20-08, 12:45 PM
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ibpooks

again, thanks for your response.

just to be clear, all receptacles in the kitchen should be replaced with GFI receptacles even those away from the sink? I have about three others on a wall and normally they are used for a vaccuum cleaner. what about the receptacle for a double door GE fridge?

and these GFI receptacles can use existing wire-nothing special here other than hookup and the GFI receptacle itself?

Thank you so much.

TD
 
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Old 06-20-08, 01:51 PM
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GFI receptacles can provide protection to receptacles located downstream if the outgoing wiring is connected to the LOAD terminals on the GFI. One would be used for each circuit that you wanted to protect.

Under currect Code GFI protection is required on receptacles that serve countertop areas.

No wiring changes are needed to install these GFI's. However, if you desire to protect more than where you install the GFI you will need to figure out which pair of wires is electrically closer to the panel. These would attach to the LINE terminals. The downstream wires would go to the LOAD terminals.
 
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