Split Bus panel question

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Old 02-14-14, 04:44 PM
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Split Bus panel question

Hello all
So I've read somewhat through this forum and I hope I'm not repeating an early thread but here she goes.

I apparently have a split bus panel. Top 6 control the whole panel no main breaker and probably other trade tells that I'm not aware of.

My house was built early 70's. It started with an electric furnace and when gas came to the area the switch was made to NG. Since natural gas was put in all appliance were switched. So, my top "6" were furnace, range, dryer, water heater, and "lighting main". Now my panel looks like a hockey player. Only 2 pole breakers are for lighting main and dryer. I would like to wire for a welder in the garage but that's, that. So with the missing spots do I fill these as 120's and pair em together to comply with the 6 rule or move everything up? I guess I should mention everything below the top 6 is as I believe it supposed to be. 20a breakers for all lights and outlets. I am definitely not diving into this without someone who knows what they're doing, I am just trying to forecast.

Thanks in advance for any input.
 
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Old 02-14-14, 05:10 PM
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I would like to wire for a welder in the garage but that's, that.
Is it an attached garage? What is the voltage, amps, and duty cycle of the welder?

Some one will say it so I will say it. Best would be to replace the panel. If you don't want to do that I would suggest installing a subpanel for your new 120s using one of the open 240 spots in the top of the panel.
 
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Old 02-14-14, 05:14 PM
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A new breaker could replace an unused on in the top six positions. The top can only have a maximum of six so do not add single poles in the top portion.

Breaker filler blanks can fill in unused spots.
 
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Old 02-14-14, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for the responses. To be honest I haven't looked too far into the welder. It was my grandfathers old stick welder and I'll have to do some research before throwing power at it. Surprisingly enough I have room for more 120 on my panel without a sub and I don't have any plans to add. I might be opening a can of worms on this but why wouldn't 2 separate say 20a breakers with a connecting piece on the switch suffice with the top 6? Do they have to be 2 pole? If I'm messing up the verbage then just forget it, I about jumped off my roof rewording my switches for my hallway 3 way with a diagram and help so I'm lost before getting started ha. Thanks again
 
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Old 02-14-14, 06:54 PM
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why wouldn't 2 separate say 20a breakers with a connecting piece on the switch suffice with the top 6?
You could do that, but it isn't normally recommended. You have to remember, no more than 6 throws to turn off all power in the house. If you start putting single pole breakers up there it'd be easy to end up with 8 or 10 throws. If you see this as an inconvenience, you can understand why the split bus panel was so cost effective (cheap) and so widely used to help reduce the cost of building the house in the first place.
 
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