New House - Load Center Wiring

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Old 09-22-09, 10:23 PM
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New House - Load Center Wiring

I just bought a new house and it passed inspection. But even so my concern is that the load center might have some no-no's. Can someone tell me if these are ok? The load center is qo116m100

1. Central Air unit has a 40 amp double pole with 14-2 running to the condenser outside and the white and black wires are used for 240vac hot.

2. Load center has four tandem breakers when the manual for the panel does not indicate tandem can be used.

3. A 60 amp double pole breaker is used for hot tub with no gfci. Shouldn't this be in a sub panel?

4. Five breakers are piggybacked.

5. There is no room left in the load center. No poles left


If you could answer each of these please. I am wondering if I should step up to a 100 amp 24 slot (this one is 16). Or do I need to go to a 30 position 200 amp box? How about a sub panel?

Much appreciated!Beer 4U2
 

Last edited by Ralph_T; 09-22-09 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 09-22-09, 11:14 PM
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I just bought a house in MI as well, past inspection, with alot of electrical no no's. But the inspector isn't an electrician, he was able to point out a few things, and tell me how they should or should not be, but basically told me to have an electrician inspect the system if I wanted. I know that doesn't really answer any of your questions, but I'm in the same situation. I think I know the answer to most of the questions, but I'm not qualified to give advise on your issues. Good luck though, hope everything works out for you without costing an arm and leg.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Ralph_T View Post
I just bought a new house and it passed inspection. But even so my concern is that the load center might have some no-no's. Can someone tell me if these are ok? The load center is qo116m100

1. Central Air unit has a 40 amp double pole with 14-2 running to the condenser outside and the white and black wires are used for 240vac hot.

Wires for hvac units are sized differently. You would need to check the nameplate for the proper circuit wire size. The white should have been re-identified as a hot conductor.

2. Load center has four tandem breakers when the manual for the panel does not indicate tandem can be used.

If the label says no tandems this would be an issue.

3. A 60 amp double pole breaker is used for hot tub with no gfci. Shouldn't this be in a sub panel?

GFI protection may be located closer to the tub. Is the tub inside or outside?

4. Five breakers are piggybacked.

Square D breakers can have 2 wires attached to the breakers in the smaller circuit sizes. Is this what you mean?

5. There is no room left in the load center. No poles left

Poor planning.


If you could answer each of these please. I am wondering if I should step up to a 100 amp 24 slot (this one is 16). Or do I need to go to a 30 position 200 amp box? How about a sub panel?

Much appreciated!Beer 4U2
Instead of changing out the panel for one only slightly larger I would opt for a subpanel if you have enough service capacity.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 06:16 AM
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Breaker

14 gauge copper wire should be protected by a 15 amp. breaker; definitely not a 40 amp. breaker!
 
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Old 09-23-09, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Wirepuller38 View Post
14 gauge copper wire should be protected by a 15 amp. breaker; definitely not a 40 amp. breaker!
AC are special. If the running load is less then 15a the 40 may be to accommodate the starting load. However I would be nervous with that big a difference. No pro though so maybe I'm off base. As suggested this is determined by the manufacturer.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 07:48 AM
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To Wirepuller38,

See Article 440 to get a better handle on wire sizing for AC units. The best source for proper wire and OCPD sizing is the unit nameplate.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 08:13 AM
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I think the A/C wires are undersized or the breaker is oversized. Even when you increase the breaker on a motor load, you can never exceed 250% of the running amps which would be 37A at most for #14 wire. So even in the most extreme case of motor starting the circuit is still improper. This one should be taken care of. As pcboss mentioned, look at the nameplate on the A/C unit for the correct electrical specs. The important ones are "min circuit ampacity" and "Max OCPD" or "Max Fuse/Breaker".
 
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Old 09-23-09, 08:17 AM
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Another possiible concern with a 15 amp conductor to the AC compressor circuit is that the mimimum ampacity of the conductor is required to be the full-load current X 1.25 .

#14 conductors for an AC compressor circuit suggests an inferior installation.For example , most electricians , when installing cables for window-type AC unit receptacles ,never use less than a 20 amp cable, now matter low small the unit is.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
To Wirepuller38,

See Article 440 to get a better handle on wire sizing for AC units. The best source for proper wire and OCPD sizing is the unit nameplate.
I will check the AC label and Hot tub tonight. The AC might be 12 guage wire. I will double check. The white wire is defintely not coded however.

I have an upstairs tub with a spa motor. This is run to a GFCI breaker on the panel.

If I remove the tandem cb's and replace them with regular cb's then I will need 22 slots.

What sub panel would work best in this situation? Obviously I do not want to overload the circuit by getting another 100 amp box. Just wondering what the best thing to do here is.

Thank you.
 
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Old 09-23-09, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ralph_T View Post
What sub panel would work best in this situation? Obviously I do not want to overload the circuit by getting another 100 amp box. Just wondering what the best thing to do here is.
I recommend a panel of at least 100A and 20 circuits; 100A panels come up to 30 circuits. You can get one with a higher rating if you want all 40A spaces as long as the feeder breaker in the main panel does not exceed 100A. The subpanel does not need a main breaker, although it may be cheaper to get one that comes as a package deal.

Brand doesn't really matter. Many people like to match the brand of their subpanel with their main panel so the breakers are interchangeable, but you don't have to do so if you find a better deal on a different brand.
 
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Old 09-25-09, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
I recommend a panel of at least 100A and 20 circuits; 100A panels come up to 30 circuits. You can get one with a higher rating if you want all 40A spaces as long as the feeder breaker in the main panel does not exceed 100A. The subpanel does not need a main breaker, although it may be cheaper to get one that comes as a package deal.

Brand doesn't really matter. Many people like to match the brand of their subpanel with their main panel so the breakers are interchangeable, but you don't have to do so if you find a better deal on a different brand.
Ok so I am pretty much sold on Square D. They appear to be a good choice over homeline and I am glad that I have one.

Are you saying that I can have a sub panel with up to a 100A feeder breaker because my main panel has a 100A breaker?

Edit: Looks like I found my answers in this thread.

http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...aker-size.html

Thanks everyone!
 

Last edited by Ralph_T; 09-25-09 at 08:05 AM. Reason: Found solution
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Old 09-25-09, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Ralph_T View Post
Ok so I am pretty much sold on Square D. They appear to be a good choice over homeline and I am glad that I have one.
Q0 is the higher grade, also with a higher price.

Are you saying that I can have a sub panel with up to a 100A feeder breaker because my main panel has a 100A breaker?
Yes, a subpanel feeder may not exceed the main breaker, but any size less than or equal to is okay.

Edit: Looks like I found my answers in this thread.
That thread is about a 60A subpanel feeder. You are installing a 100A subpanel feeder. It does show an example however of using a panel with a larger rating than the feeder.

If you run conduit between your main and subpanels, use 1-1/2" conduit and copper THHN wire in size #3 for the hots (black) and neutral (white) plus #8 green for the ground. If you run a cable like NM-B or SER, use copper #2 such as 2-2-2-8 or 2-2-4-8.

Another issue is that thread is from 2004. Normally searching the archives is helpful, but electrical code updates at least every three years, so in some parts of the country it may be two code cycles out of date. I didn't notice anything in that thread that was affected, but it's worth being careful with old information.
 
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Old 09-25-09, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
....
Another issue is that thread is from 2004. Normally searching the archives is helpful, but electrical code updates at least every three years, so in some parts of the country it may be two code cycles out of date. I didn't notice anything in that thread that was affected, but it's worth being careful with old information.
Excellent. Which brings me to another question..

Am I right in saying that I don't need a permit for this type of work because it does no involve any work with the mains prior to the meter?
 
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Old 09-25-09, 11:39 AM
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Most likely this would need a permit. Check with your local building officials.
 
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Old 09-25-09, 07:38 PM
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It does require a permit, but it does not require involvement from the power company. Check with your local building department for where to apply. Unless you're in one of the bigger cities, you will probably get the permit through the state inspector's office in your region.
 
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