breaker box upgrade .which route to go.

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  #1  
Old 02-07-14, 01:06 AM
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breaker box upgrade .which route to go.

To first start off just want to make sure you guys know ahead of time i am not a newb on home electrical. I do know plenty and have done this stuff a lot . Safety is important to me and i wouldnt touch it if i didnt have prior knowledge and experience.

I am just not sure on which route i should take in my situation.What i dont always know is when to do it this way instead of that way when there are a few legit options. A crappy contractor we had who was fired for other reasons installed a new load center/breaker box in my home before he was fired but never finished doing all the electrical work. I have ran the rest of the wires for appliances etc myself but now seeing everything that we needed to run the contractor put in too small a breaker box. Not only would we be short a few spots for breakers (no tandems on the box installed) buy also if i did finish hooking everything up the box would be overloaded with a few appliances running together.

Heres all the stuff i had so you guys can go off of.

-Its a SquareD homeline 100A breaker box with 20 spaces (tandems wont work in this box i believe since i think its a 20-20 )

-The service entrance wire is copper AWG2 ( this would be rated for up to 125amp?Is that correct or is 100amp the max i could go?

-The meter socket is rated for 200Amp with a outside disconnect switch panel

-The breaker sizes i have for appliances/etc are a
-220v 50amp for electric range,
-220 50amp for garage/workshop,
-dedicated 20amp microwave,
-dedicated 20amp fridge,
-dedicated 20 amp dishwasher,
-dedicated 20 amp washer(not dryer which is a 30amp on the upstairs seperate service and nothing to do with this box)
-20 amp kitchen outlets
-rest are 15amp breakers for lights etc

I know some of these dont really need 20amp breakers. Anyway to hook up everything i am about 2 spots shy and with the 2 50 ampers thats already a lot for the 100amp box right?

So now whats best to do to set things up nicely and if possible a cost effective solution. Do you think i can get away with all this on the 100amp box or will it be tripping. Im not sure how often id have all the big stuff running at the same time but it may happen sometime. If you guys think it will suffice to have it on the 100amp box should i change to a box with more slots,or add a subpanel for the extra breakers needed or change to a box that accepts tandems? If the 100 amps wont suffice would it be ok to change the main breaker from a 100 to a 125amp? or if not change to a 125amp box? Then theres the last option(not cost effective which id wouldnt like to do is upgrade the service entrance wire size to a 2/0 or 4/0 and put in a 150 or 200amp box?

What do you guys think i should do ? Let me know if im missing any needed info?Thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 02-07-14, 03:38 AM
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Just a couple of observations. You didn't mention anything about HVAC. Is there any provision for a heat pump, or air conditioner? What size entrance cable does the POCO have installed. I would opt for the larger panel (200 amp), if the infrastructure would handle it. With what you have, you leave little, if any, room for future expansion.
 
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Old 02-07-14, 05:20 AM
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A demand load calculation will tell you the size service you need. Based on those results will help determine the course of action regarding a subpanel or a larger service and panel.
 
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Old 02-07-14, 06:03 AM
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Like has been stated, a load calculation will tell you exactly where you are, but just based on the loads I see and assuming this is a somewhat normal one family home, I don't see a problem with the 100 amp service. If this home is not a typical and is somewhat larger, I'd want to see the load calc. Chandler asked a good question, where is the A-C load? You mentioned another service, what's that all about? Is this something other than a typical one family home?

The service entrance wire is copper AWG2
Yes, #2 copper (or 1/0 aluminum) is good for a 125 amp residential service.
 
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Old 02-07-14, 10:37 AM
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heat is oil boiler hydronic baseboard ,electric is off upstairs service. No hvac or A/C. The reason for two services(two meters) is many many decades ago the house was a 2 family home.Not anymore though but the two services was left in. dryer 30amp is also on the upstairs.

As far as demand loads i think the range which is the biggest thing would be around 38amps with all burners on high if im correct. The garage probably wont see the whole 50amps either. The main thing in the garage would be like my metal lathe which i have ran fine off a 20amp breaker. I just wanted the 50amp in case i do add things in the future but probably still wont reach near 50amp.

I am thinking of going with a new 125amp breaker box for the solution. Want to get a square D QO intstead of the homeline but do they make a 125 QO with more then 20 slots/circuits. I need about 24.
 
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Old 02-07-14, 05:51 PM
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I am thinking of going with a new 125amp breaker box for the solution. Want to get a square D QO intstead of the homeline but do they make a 125 QO with more then 20 slots/circuits. I need about 24.
I don't think you need 125 amps, but that's your decision. The disconnect at the meter and the wiring from the meter to the disconnect will have to be rated for 125 amps too. The subpanel can be a main lug only loadcenter. You can have as many circuits as you want, the subpanel can be rated for 125A, 150A 225A, it makes no difference as long as it is rated at least 125 amps. Here's one with 30 circuits:

QO Load Centers - QO -

Here's one I like better, 200 amp rated, standard copper bus, 30 circuits and it has the plug-on neutral feature for easy installation of AFCI breakers and it's affordable.

Square D by Schneider Electric QO 200 Amp 30-Space 30-Circuit Indoor Main Lug Plug-on Neutral Load Center with Ground Bar-QO130L200PG at The Home Depot
 
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Old 02-07-14, 06:54 PM
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reason i say 125A is because thinking about it ,i may want to add a air conditioner in the future (maybe a mini split) so the extra 25A should be enough for future additions. Also i would need a subpanel either way so might as well just go for the better box and not need a subpanel. Also i wanted to clean up the wiring anyway since the crappy contractor didnt do a very neat job in the box.

The 30 space QO's are pretty pricy . I found a QO 125A with 24 space which should be perfect and a bit more affordable. There is one other option. They have a 12space 24 circuit 125A QO as well for 1/3 the price.Do you think that would be a good idea since it would be mostly tandem breakers? Im not sure of the cost of tandems so it may turn out to cost the same ,no?

Also another question . They have a Square D Qo124L125G and and Qo124L125GBD.As far as i can see they have the same specs .Do you know what the difference is? Both are 125A 24space .These are also conversion main lug. That means i have to install a main breaker in it correct?

I still have to check the outside disconnect and see what they put in there. Iv never looked at it since it was installed. This is the meter socket they installed.

Square D by Schneider Electric 200 Amp Ringless 2-Position Overhead/Underground Meter Socket-UT2R2122B at The Home Depot
 
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Old 02-07-14, 08:09 PM
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I would stay away from the 12/24 panel. A two pole breaker will eat up four of those spots and tandems are more than twice the price of a single.
 
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Old 02-07-14, 09:53 PM
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Also is it possible to buy a 150amp or 200amp convertable main lug box with more spaces and just put a 125 main breaker in it? The 150 and 200 amp boxes have much more choices then 125amp boxes.
 
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Old 02-08-14, 06:04 AM
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Also is it possible to buy a 150amp or 200amp convertable main lug box with more spaces and just put a 125 main breaker in it?
Maybe, but you'd have to consult a Square D distributor. I doubt the big box stores have the capability to find out. But......if you have a disconnect at the meter, you don't need a main breaker in the panel which is a subpanel after the main disconnect.

They have a 12space 24 circuit 125A QO as well for 1/3 the price
I also lean away from panels that take a lot of tandems. Not only are they more expensive, but the working space in the box is cramped and it's extremely difficult to do a nice neat job. The exception for me is occasionally a 30-40 panel.

I don't have time to research the socket now, but I was interested in the rating per position. All I see so far is the total amperage rating is 200 amps. If they are 100 amps per position, you cannot use the 125 amp disconnect/panel.
 
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Old 02-08-14, 09:11 AM
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If the #2 copper wire is in a cable (NM-b) it is only good for 100 amps.

Whole houses are run off 100 amp services with the equipment you have listed, IMO you will be fine. If anything, I would look for a way to get the 50 amp garage feed off of that panel rather then pulling in a new feeder. If you need more spaces just add another sub next to this one.
 
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