Load center is full!


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Old 08-12-08, 12:24 PM
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Load center is full!

Hey all, I'm new here.

My home was built in 1985. I have an ITE load center, and all of the slots are full. I am putting a hot tub in the back yard and need to free up space for 40 amp service. I don't want to put in a sub panel as the basement is finished and I don't want to tear up the walls. Can I use the "space saver" breakers in place of some of the standard ones to free up a slot? If so, what should I shop for?
I don't have a lot of electrical experience, but I did wire my garage for 220/60 and wired my basement.
Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 08-12-08, 12:56 PM
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What is the amperage of your service? Common sizes are 100A, 150A or 200A.

How many slots does the breaker panel have?

Can you identify a model number of the breaker panel? It's usually printed on the inside of the panel door.
 
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Old 08-12-08, 04:06 PM
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If your mfgr label is intact it usually tells you if CTL (Circuit Twin Limited aka Tandem) breakers are acceptable and which slots they fit in. However some local codes (like mine) prohibit CTL breakers in certain circumstances even if allowed by the mfgr.
 
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Old 08-13-08, 02:35 AM
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If I understand you correctly you asked if you could put what is called peanut breakers in a panel. There is no problem with this as it allows you to free up spaces you need in the panel. One thing to be aware of is if you have a multi-circuit homerun That has a shared neutral then both circuits must be on different phases
 
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Old 08-13-08, 12:44 PM
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Ok, here's what I have:

ITE EQ Load Center - couldn't find a model #
100 amp service
24 slots

The following was printed on the inside of the cover:

"Use ITE type Q1&2 pole, type QT twin branch breakers and QF GFI if required.
Suitable for CU/AL conductors including compact stranded."

"Branch circuits: 48 max."

There's actually a space saver already in there that I never noticed before!

So basically - if I can use these things - I need to free up space for a 2 pole, 40a breaker, correct?

I already have 30, 40 and 60 amp 2 pole breakers in the panel. Is that a problem? The 60 is for the subpanel in the garage.

Thanks again, folks!
 
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Old 08-13-08, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by scubakirk1 View Post
If I understand you correctly you asked if you could put what is called peanut breakers in a panel. There is no problem with this as it allows you to free up spaces you need in the panel. One thing to be aware of is if you have a multi-circuit homerun That has a shared neutral then both circuits must be on different phases
Please excuse my ignorance, but I don't know what that last bit means. Can you dumb it down for me?

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-13-08, 01:11 PM
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A multiwire circuit simply has two hots, but share the same neutral. Each hot must come from opposite supply legs, and may also have to both open with the one throw.
 
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Old 08-13-08, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Raven Lunatic View Post
Please excuse my ignorance, but I don't know what that last bit means. Can you dumb it down for me?

Thanks!
I never heard the peanut breaker term before, but with typical residential wiring you can do multiwire, where two hots on opposite poles (240 V between the hots) share a single neutral conductor. If you have any multiwire circuits, you must ensure that the hots are on opposite poles (Usually A or B on the bus in the load center). So for example if you took out two breakers that were on a multiwire, you could not just land those hots on the separate connection screws of a single tandem breaker module.

Also "CTL" on breakers & panels means there are only certain spaces where you can locate the tandem breakers. So you can't just put tandems where ever you want. Sometimes you can only use them in the bottom 6 or 8 slots on the load center. In other words between CTL and multiwire requirements, you may have a domino effect as you try to move stuff around. I've done it in planning .... and then ended up just replacing the whole load center due to code requirements!
 
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Old 08-13-08, 01:15 PM
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Yes you are free to use type QT (Siemens/ITE twin breakers) as long as you limit total circuits to 42 if you are in the USA. You can go up to the manufacturer rating of 48 if you are in Canada.

What scuba was trying to say is that a twin breaker (2x 120V) is not the same as a double-pole breaker (240V), so you can't use it for a 240V circuit or for a shared-neutral multiwire circuit.

What you'll probably have to do is to free up some space for the double-pole subpanel breaker by replacing some of the existing single-pole breakers with twins.

There is also a Siemens/ITE "quad" breaker which can supply 240V circuits, but you need to be careful to get the model with "common internal trip" on the 240V portion so it can be tricky to get the proper part if you want to go with the quad breaker option.
 
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Old 08-18-08, 01:36 PM
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Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the help. Now my only question is - for 40 amp service, what type of cable should I use?
 
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Old 08-18-08, 01:59 PM
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The spa changes many of the typically subpanel rules. Before we proceed, we need a little more information regarding the electrical requirements of the spa. Does the spa require 40A 120/240V (most tubs) or straight 240V? Do you have an installation manual or electrical spec sheet?

Where will the GFCI protection be? Will this be a subpanel or just an outdoor disconnect?

I will give you some general answers which can be narrowed down with the above info from you. A 40A spa would be installed with #8/3g NM-B "Romex" cable for the indoor portion of the wiring. Once the wire exits the house into the subpanel or disconnect box, you need to transition to PVC conduit with #8 copper THWN wire in the colors black, red, white and #10 in green. The conduit would be 24" deep for underground portions, and may switch over to liquidtight flexible conduit for the final 6' connection to the spa.
 
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Old 08-18-08, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by scubakirk1 View Post
If I understand you correctly you asked if you could put what is called peanut breakers in a panel. There is no problem with this as it allows you to free up spaces you need in the panel.
There are rules about whether the tandems can be used in the panel.
  • The panel must be listed for their use.
  • There is still a Code limit on the number of breakers in a panel. Maximum circuits cannot be exceeded even if the breakers physically fit.
 
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Old 08-24-08, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
The spa changes many of the typically subpanel rules. Before we proceed, we need a little more information regarding the electrical requirements of the spa. Does the spa require 40A 120/240V (most tubs) or straight 240V? Do you have an installation manual or electrical spec sheet?

Where will the GFCI protection be? Will this be a subpanel or just an outdoor disconnect?

I will give you some general answers which can be narrowed down with the above info from you. A 40A spa would be installed with #8/3g NM-B "Romex" cable for the indoor portion of the wiring. Once the wire exits the house into the subpanel or disconnect box, you need to transition to PVC conduit with #8 copper THWN wire in the colors black, red, white and #10 in green. The conduit would be 24" deep for underground portions, and may switch over to liquidtight flexible conduit for the final 6' connection to the spa.
Here's what I found on a label inside the tub enclosure:

40 amp service
230 volts
1 phase

the GFI will be about 10 feet away from the tub, directly in sight, on the wall of the house. It will be a disconnect.

I have the trench dug for the conduit, and will be able to plumb it directly into the panel inside the enclosure with conduit.

Does this help?
Thanks again!
 
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Old 08-24-08, 05:24 PM
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You will still need to provide whether the unit is straight 240 with only 2 wires and a ground or 2 hots, 1 neutral and a ground.

Also has someone performed a demand load calculation to see if your existing service can handle the increased load? I would hate to see this get installed and keep tripping your main breaker.

The wires from the disconnect to the unit would be individual conductors in the proper colors rated THWN. The ground wire MUST be insulated. Other methods like non-metallic cable can be run in the interior portion of the run.

PS, would that be the Baltimore Ravens?
 

Last edited by pcboss; 08-24-08 at 05:28 PM. Reason: added wiring notes
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Old 08-25-08, 12:27 PM
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"PS, would that be the Baltimore Ravens?"

Lol, no, but that would be a good name for a fan I guess. I'm a Canadian football kinda guy. Edmonton Eskimos.

"You will still need to provide whether the unit is straight 240 with only 2 wires and a ground or 2 hots, 1 neutral and a ground."

I'm not sure how to go about finding this... maybe written on the panel inside the tub enclosure?

"Also has someone performed a demand load calculation to see if your existing service can handle the increased load? I would hate to see this get installed and keep tripping your main breaker."

I would hate that too, lol. As near as I can tell - being a diyer - the panel should be ok. Here's what I found on the inside of the panel cover:

"Use ITE type Q1&2 pole, type QT twin branch breakers and QF GFI if required.
Suitable for CU/AL conductors including compact stranded."

"Branch circuits: 48 max."

ITE EQ Load Center - couldn't find a model #
100 amp service
24 slots


Once again... thank you so much.
 
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Old 08-25-08, 01:31 PM
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Just because you have space for breakers does not mean that the service can support all the demands placed on it. Conversely, a panel loaded with 20 20-amp breakers does not mean that you need a 400 amp service. What matters is the size of the house and what electrical appliances are in the house. A house with an electric dryer, heat pump with electric backup heat, elelctric water heater and a stove will use much more electric than the same house with gas appliances.

You may want to google the tubs part number to see if you can come up with a wiring diagram.
 
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Old 08-25-08, 01:56 PM
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you will run an 8-3 to the hot tub off of the 40a breaker, keep in mind that somewhere on the cover of your panel there should be a diagram of the internal busbar, where you can put the tandem breakers are designated by broken lines on that diagram. Typically they are near the bottom of the panel and since your have a 24 space 48 circuit max im almost sure thats the case.
below is an image of an example of how you would set it up granted its not near the bottom of the panel like i said but you should get the point and keep that in mind

http://photos-a.ak.facebook.com/phot...79424_9425.jpg
 
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Old 08-28-08, 02:34 PM
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Arg, I feel like a dumbass. I'm getting less and less confident that I can do this without burning my house down or cooking myself in the hot tub. Thanks everyone for trying to educate me, I really appreciate it. However - I've decided to hire an electrician. Water + electricity = if not done correctly. I'm thinking that the 500 bucks I would save by doing it myself is not worth the potential danger.

Thanks again, everyone!

David.
 
 

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