no room for more breakers

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  #1  
Old 01-09-14, 04:03 PM
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no room for more breakers

Need to add three 20 amp circuits for bath remodel. 100 amp Panel is full it has 8 20amp singles, 2 double pole 20amp, 2 double pole 30 amp, 1 double pole 50 amp and 2 tandem 20 amp breakers. Would it be code to switch 3 of the 20 amp singles to 20 amp tandems or is it time to add a sub panel. 1970's construction. I read somewhere the limit was 42 circuits but would think the amount if amps that the circuits can provide would be relevant too.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 04:41 PM
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Would it be code to switch 3 of the 20 amp singles to 20 amp tandems
That depends on the make and model number of the panel. Post that info (not the cover model number) and one of the pros here should be able to tell you.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 05:58 PM
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As Ray said, certain panels will allow tandems in certain slots. For instance, slots 1-4 may not take them. We can tell better with your panel numbers. I have one question, though. Why do you need 3full 20 amp circuits in a bathroom. Curious.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 11:20 PM
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is this the info that identifies the panel or is it stamped in the metal somewhere?
 
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Old 01-09-14, 11:59 PM
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The house was originally wired with 2 full baths and a half bath with all lights fans and outlets on 1 circuit.

In redoing the master its getting a tub with jets and a heater that call for separate circuits, a fan with heat and light need another circuit. I suppose they don't all have to be 20 amp other than the fan/heat/light combo. Maybe they shouldn't?

I was also thinking since all the candidates for switching from single to tandem are currently 20 amps I would keep them as 20's not wanting to have reduce the amps on any existing circuits.

This house has had a few special electrical surprises. Yesterday when demoing I found a live wire nicely coiled up to the last staple inside a wall.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 12:45 AM
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Do you also have a circuit for the receptacles? The three circuits sounds like you need at least that many.
 

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Old 01-10-14, 05:56 AM
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is this the info that identifies the panel or is it stamped in the metal somewhere?
All I see that is useful is that this is a GE CTL panelboard. Move over to the left and get a picture of the rest of that label. If this is the original panel from the 1970s construction, the panel is already overfull. It is a 20 space, 20 circuit 100 amp main breaker loadcenter, the biggest available at the time with a 100 amp breaker. Tandem breakers were not allowed in any GE panel of that vintage (GE didn't make a tandem breaker). If you pull the two existing tandem breakers, I think you'll find a label on the side of them that will say something like, "For Replacement Use Only In Pre 1968 Panels". Also it will probably say "Non CTL". OR......they could have been altered to work in this panel illegally. I am sure you'll also find them to be some brand other than GE. I don't believe GE allowed other manufacturer's breakers to be used in their panels. Depending on the existing actual load and calculated additional load, you could possibly remove the two tandem breakers and install a 2 pole breaker to feed a subpanel. Another option would be to remove this panel and replace it with a modern 30 circuit 100 amp main breaker loadcenter. This is the preferred option in my opinion.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 01:02 PM
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Here is a better shot of that sheet.
For what its worth the panel is as installed, but back then in this area there was only code, no code enforcement.



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Old 01-10-14, 07:51 PM
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100 amp Panel is full
What you have is not a 100 amp panel. It is a 200 amp rated 20 space 40 circuit main lug only panel wired as a subpanel. If this is original to the house, it also has aluminum bus. What you were calling tandems are actually separate thin GE Type THQP circuit breakers. The full sized breakers are Type THQL. This panel will accept either 20 Type THQL or 40 of these thin Type THQP breakers. It appears the panel is wired with 100 amp rated aluminum SER service cable (4-wire feed) and probably is being fed by a 100 amp breaker outside at the meter. You need to verify there is a main breaker outside ahead of the panel. You could feed a subpanel from this panel, but I would still replace it with a modern 30 space, 30 circuit panel, preferably with copper bus. IF you decide to keep this panel and feed a subpanel from it, I would replace the thin breakers with a 2 pole Type THQL full sized breaker to feed the subpanel and move those circuit connected to the thin breakers to the new subpanel.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 11:59 PM
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Thanks joe, that matches with what I found when I opened it up
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The breaker at the house meter outside is a 100 amp. In the panel I also found a 50 amp double for a stove/oven that is now a gas unit and a 30 amp double for a dryer now also gas.

So, with what is now 4 full open slots would it be unreasonable to use them for powering the master bath and leave the rest alone?
 
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Old 01-11-14, 12:45 AM
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The open slots should be good to power your bathroom. I hope the breakers are the correct size on the newer circuits like the stove.
 

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Old 01-11-14, 08:39 AM
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So, with what is now 4 full open slots would it be unreasonable to use them for powering the master bath and leave the rest alone?
It would be reasonable to assume that, but the second best thing would be to get rid of the thin THQP breakers. THQP breakers and aluminum bus GE panels are a known fire hazard, I can provide pictures if you'd like to see them. I believe if you could eliminate the thin breakers and use only full size breakers you could get a few more years from that panel. In my opinion, the best thing to do would be to replace the panel with a 30 circuit copper bus panel.
 
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Old 01-11-14, 11:59 AM
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I hope the breakers are the correct size on the newer circuits like the stove.
It appears that the gas stove and dryer where just plugged into available 110 outlets on 20 amp breakers.
 
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Old 01-11-14, 12:19 PM
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just plugged into available 110 outlets on 20 amp breakers.
I doubt you have any 110 outlets so probably 120 "outlet" which is fine since a gas stove can be used on a counter top receptacle circuit and a gas dryer can share with a washer.
 
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Old 01-11-14, 01:11 PM
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uh, yeah... that's what I meant
 
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Old 01-11-14, 01:14 PM
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the second best thing would be to get rid of the thin THQP breakers
Would a third best be to at least replace the thin ones with new thin ones or is the issue more with the combo of thin with the aluminum bus?
 
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Old 01-11-14, 06:46 PM
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is the issue more with the combo of thin with the aluminum bus?
Yep, that's it. .................................
 
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