Installing new outlets, rearranging breakers

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  #1  
Old 09-07-12, 07:46 AM
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Installing new outlets, rearranging breakers

First - I'm located in Howard County, Maryland, USA. My goal here is to add a few outlets in my garage. The first is going to be a 240v outlet for a hot water heating element to brew beer with. I'd also like to add a 20A line for some additional 120v outlets, probably 2 pair. I've read a bit about residential wiring basics and have done a few light fixtures so I'm an electrical novice. I currently have one spot open in my breaker box but I think it's possible to rearrange some of the existing breakers to make room for what I need. Links to pictures of my breakers and the panel diagram are below. I would've included them in the post but they had to be large files to make the small text readable.

My current plan for wire runs
1) Run 30A, 10 gauge, 3 wire + ground for the hot water heating element. The neutral isn't needed so I'll just cap it on both ends with a wire nut and tuck it away. My thinking is that if I ever want this wire to be able to supply 120v, I've got a neutral available.
2) Run 20A, 12 gauge, 2 wire + ground for the other outlets

My current plan for rearranging breakers (Per the diagram, the bottom 5 slots on both sides can take tandem breakers)
1) Remove the 15A breaker labeled "Family Lighting + Receptacle" and install a 15A tandem breaker.
2) Remove the bottom 15A breaker labeled "Addition (Bump Out) Lighting" and move up the wires to the open slot on the tandem 15A breaker installed in step 1. This will free up the bottom slot on the left, where I'll install a tandem 20A breaker and use one side of it for the 120v receptacles that I've run wire for in the garage, leaving the other half unused.
3) Remove the 15A breaker labeled "Master Bedroom" and replace it with a tandem 15A breaker
4) Move the 15A wiring labeled "Bedrooms 2 & 3" down to the open slot on the tandem 15A breaker installed in step 3.
5) Move the 20A wiring labeled "Outside" up into the open slot created in step 4. This frees up 2 adjacent 1" slots on the bottom right where I can install a double pole 240v 30A breaker for the garage wiring.

The question I have for all the experts here is - do you see any problems or concerns with my plan? Also, from what I've read I believe I should be using Cutler-Hammer type BR breakers. If you need more info, ask away. I am happy to take more pictures or provide whatever I can to make sure I'm doing this correctly.

Thanks!
Colin

Arg.. tinypic urls were obscured by the forum. Here the pics are on flickr.
breaker_box_07.17.2012 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
IMG_0113 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 

Last edited by c01357; 09-07-12 at 08:41 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-12, 08:00 AM
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Welcome to the forums

Would it be less work to put a sub-panel in the garage?
 
  #3  
Old 09-07-12, 09:46 AM
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1) Run 30A, 10 gauge, 3 wire + ground for the hot water heating element. The neutral isn't needed so I'll just cap it on both ends with a wire nut and tuck it away. My thinking is that if I ever want this wire to be able to supply 120v, I've got a neutral available.
If you decide to use this cable to supply additional 120V outlets in the future, you will also have to replace the 2-pole 30A breaker with two single-pole 20A breakers connected with a handle tie. (Standard 120V circuits are limited to 20A, and both breakers supplying a multiwire branch circuit must have the means provided to open them both at once.) Given that, do you still want to install 10-3, or would you prefer to install the less expensive 10-2 and use the white wire, redesignated, to supply the second ungrounded phase?

Or you could just set a subpanel in the garage, as mitch17 suggested.
 
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Old 09-07-12, 06:33 PM
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I am not sure the BR breakers are listed for use with that panel.
 
  #5  
Old 09-09-12, 08:18 PM
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I decided to take mitch's advice and ran 6/3 NM-B romex from the main panel out to the garage for a sub-panel. Thanks for the suggestion - I had considered it but figured it was beyond my ability. I read some more about it and I think it's doable. I bought a 60A double pole breaker to go in the main panel to feed it. I'm pretty sure this panel takes BR breakers. Either way, I'll find out when I try to put the 60A in.

New question: How do you handle the wire between where it exits the drywall and where it enters the sub-panel? There's other stuff in the wall so I'm mounting the sub-panel on plywood on the outside of the wall. I was going to do a junction box of some kind screwed into the drywall with metal conduit going up to the sub-panel.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 07:48 AM
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How do you handle the wire between where it exits the drywall and where it enters the sub-panel? There's other stuff in the wall so I'm mounting the sub-panel on plywood on the outside of the wall. I was going to do a junction box of some kind screwed into the drywall with metal conduit going up to the sub-panel.
It sounds like you will be bringing the feed cable up from below.

Is there a reason to bring it out to the surface below the subpanel? Are the guts in your subpanel designed for bottom feeding? With most standard panels, I would want to bring it up through the wall and enter the panel through the back, near the top, using a 90[SUP]o[/SUP] cable connector.

If you do need to exit the finished wall below the subpanel, I would consider sleeving the cable into an LB, and extend the conduit high enough to go through an LR or LL - depending on which side of the conduit you want the panel on - in through the top of the side wall of the panel enclosure.

I'm thinking that 1-1/2" conduit would be a comfortable size for this. If you choose metal conduit bodies with threaded inlets, thread a chase nipple into the first opening, where the cable enters the conduit from the wall.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 07:36 PM
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When attempting to drill a hole to the inside of the garage wall from the basement, the drill bit popped right through the drywall of the garage. At that specific spot, there was only plywood and drywall with no interior wall space so I was going to just stick with the hole I already made. Also, complete inexperience led me to the idea Thanks for the tip nashkat, I should still be able to run the wire through the wall the way you are suggesting. That sounds like a better idea and a bit less hassle with the cable management.

For the 90 cable connector, do you mean putting something like this inside the wall to route the cable into the box? I'm thinking the threads/nut would be good to secure the elbow on the inside of the box.
 
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Old 09-10-12, 08:13 PM
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For the 90 cable connector, do you mean putting something like this inside the wall to route the cable into the box?
No. That's a 90[SUP]o[/SUP] Pull Elbow, or "pulling ell." Because it has a removable cover, it must be accessible, and can't be inside a wall.

What I meant was a 90[SUP]o[/SUP] cable connector. I'm starting to think that there isn't any such thing, and that what I was thinking of was a 90[SUP]o[/SUP] flex, or MC, connector. You can use that, but you'll also have to buy enough flexible conduit to run from the hole in the panel to the basement ceiling, plus a foot or so to turn out and be supported, plus a J-box, a 1-1/2" straight flex connector, and a second cable connector for your 6-3/G. This will let you feed the cable into the box and then into the flexible conduit, to go up the wall.

It'll work, but it's a bit of a PITA, I'm afraid.
 
  #9  
Old 09-11-12, 11:19 AM
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To clarify, I'm going to drill a new hole from the basement and into the garage wall and then the wire will not be running along the outside of any walls. Are you sure the conduit, box, and elbow is needed if the wire is inside the garage wall or between the ceiling joists of the basement for the whole run? I can take pictures tonight if my description is bad but here is how the wire is run:

1) The wire starts in the main panel, and exits the panel behind drywall
2) It runs from behind drywall up into the unfinished ceiling and runs through holes drilled in the ceiling joists
3) Halfway across the ceiling, it turns 90 degrees between two joists and runs parallel with the joists to get to the south side of the basement (it is stapled to the joist twice along this 8 foot run)
4) At the south wall it turns 90 degrees to run along the wall and through the joists again until it gets to the corner of the basement ceiling
5) In the corner of the basement, a hole is drilled in the ceiling between the wall and the closest ceiling joist. The cable will at that point be inside the garage wall behind the panel
6) The cable is fed into the new sub-panel from behind the drywall

So the only place the wire can be seen is in between joists in the ceiling of the basement. It's not running along the outside of any walls.
 
  #10  
Old 09-11-12, 12:15 PM
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Are you sure the conduit, box, and elbow is needed if the wire is inside the garage wall or between the ceiling joists of the basement for the whole run?
You're right. It isn't needed to protect the cable. I may have been over-thinking it.

Here's the thing: If the cable can be bent inside the wall to enter through a cable connector in the back of the box, then you're good. But the cable must be able to make that bend without compromising any of the conductors in it. Leaving a bit of extra cable in the wall often helps with that.
 
  #11  
Old 09-12-12, 12:49 PM
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I drilled through the drywall with a downward angle and made the hole pretty large so getting the cable through wasn't too bad. I need to widen it a bit so the cable clamp has room behind the panel but otherwise it worked out well. Thanks again for the advice
 
  #12  
Old 09-17-12, 11:30 AM
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I'm back with a few more questions.. I've also attached a picture of where I am currently with the garage sub-panel. The 6/3 feed wire is run through the wall behind the panel and comes into the back at the top left of the box. There is a cable clamp behind the box holding the 6/3. The feeder is connected at the sub-panel but not at the main panel so nothing is hot yet. I read in the other active garage subpanel thread that I should get the wires off the sides of the box. I'll plan to do that next. I decided to wire a 50A plug instead of 30A in case I want to upgrade my beer-brewing setup down the road. I'm still planning to only draw 30A so I'm going to use a 30A breaker for now. I will have a conduit strap in between the panel and box in the picture but haven't installed it yet since the conduit is a bit off the wall. I'm planning to just attach a 1x4 to the wall and then attach the conduit strap to that. I've got two questions that I'm not sure about:

1) I'm planning to strip the outer cable insulation off of my leftover 6/3 and use those three 6awg and ground wires to get 50A service from the subpanel over to the junction box in the picture. This receptacle will be a 30A/50A I bought. I'd also like to run 2 10awg wires through this same conduit to continue up a few inches to 20A GFCI receptacles in a separate junction box. Can 3/4" EMT rigid conduit handle 3 x 6awg wires, a ground, and 2 10awg wires? I think the ground is 10awg.

2) Do I need cable clamps at the ends of each conduit run for the receptacles? The set-screw connectors I bought to attach the 3/4" conduit between the junction boxes and panel do not have any cable clamps built into them.

Thanks,
Colin
 
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  #13  
Old 09-17-12, 11:38 AM
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Technically unless the individual conductors are labeled they cannot be used stripped out of a cable.

Number 12 would be fine for your 20 amp receptacle.

Conduit does not use cable clamps.
 
  #14  
Old 09-17-12, 05:25 PM
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I bought a 60A double pole breaker to go in the main panel to feed it. I'm pretty sure this panel takes BR breakers. Either way, I'll find out when I try to put the 60A in.
Just because a breaker fits in a different brand panel doesn't mean it has been U.L. Listed or is the proper breaker to use. In your case, however, the Cutler-Hammer BR series plug-in circuit breaker is the proper breaker for use in an existing Challenger loadcenter.
 
  #15  
Old 09-18-12, 11:12 AM
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Doh... the individual conductors inside my 6/3 cable are definitely not labeled, looks like I'll need to go buy some 6awg. I was going to use 10awg (instead of 12awg) for the 20amp receptacles mostly because a friend gave me a big roll of 10/2 romex.

I had incorrectly assumed if the breaker fit, it was OK to use in the panel. I actually did do some research on what breakers fit my Challenger panel to come up with that answer so I'm glad to hear I got it right. Thanks for clearing that up CasualJoe.
 
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