Some screwed up my wiring...

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  #1  
Old 03-04-14, 06:38 PM
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Some screwed up my wiring...

Iím in Columbus, Ohio. My house was built in 1956. Garage was added 1988. Attic was renovated in 1973.

There are a few issues i have with my wiring.

My fridge is not on a dedicated line - it is shared with 7 outlets(which host a small heater, a microwave, disposal, TV/stereo/dvd/cablebox) and 9 lights.

Everything is mostly on two 15A breakers. I have to shut off the heater when using the microwave. I have to shut off the dehumidifier when using the toaster oven.

I have xmas lights lighting a quarter of my basement. I tried to move them around to get more light, used a different plug and tripped the breaker.

I have a subpanel in my garage (which almost fried me when putting in a garden) that has a GFCI outlet that wonít work, and one that does. And by doesnít work, I mean if i wiggle a plug in that outlet, it trips the gfci.

Can i reuse the dryer line to reduce the load of the others? I have a gas dryer.
Should i just put in a sub-panel at the dryer outlet instead?

Some of the wiring going to the remodeled attic area ir running up thru the old water heater vent (which i would like to use as ventilation)

Any tips??

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Old 03-04-14, 07:15 PM
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Your house has most of the receptacles and lights on two 15 amp circuits probably because originally the panel consisted of nothing but two 120 volt circuits with 15 amp fuses. This was a common type of service in use back then although by 1956 most new homes had larger panels.

You can convert a 4 conductor (hot, hot, neutral, ground) dryer feed to a general purpose feed by running it into a subpanel as you suggested. But if there was no 4'th conductor or rigid metal conduit as a ground, you would not be able to modify that circuit or add onto it with parts that require grounding.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 07:16 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

You have a 100 amp service which should be fine. I suggest removing the dryer circuit and breaker and installing a 60 amp breaker. Off that new breaker feed a subpanel with #6 copper. Take your problem circuit and start splitting up your loads.
 
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Old 03-04-14, 08:32 PM
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You really need to run some new circuits to split some of the load off the old circuits.
 
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Old 03-05-14, 01:47 AM
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All good information from the crew here. I notice that you have one unused space in the panel and when combined with the two spaces used by the abandoned dryer circuit would give you three new 120 volt circuits. I also notice that you have three different manufacturers of circuit breakers in that panel, something that may, or may not, be a code violation. You need to check to see if those other CBs are "listed" for use with that panel.

Another thing is that is a 20 space panel and it might (perhaps not) allow for the use of tandem circuit breakers in some or even all positions. This could give you quite a bit of room for dedicated circuits if the manufacturer allows tandems. Posting the manufacturer and full model number might help one of the electricians determine if tandems are allowed.

Finally, with all those 120 volt circuits I suspect that some are lightly loaded versus the heavily loaded problem circuits you asked about. It may be possible to "double up" on the lightly loaded circuits to free up space for the more heavily loaded circuits to be split up.
 
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Old 03-07-14, 06:24 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Very helpful! It's a GE panel, I think model number NP245768-5. It says only to use GE breakers, but i haven't fully investigated that part yet. The other brands that have are currently installed are Westinghouse and Bryant.

After talking to a friend today, he mentioned that I may have aluminum wiring. And it appears that I do. Or at least I hope I do - because the breaker that feeds the sub panel in my garage is listed as an aluminum part. I know that the two metals do not mix. But is a breaker able to support both? And what about all the outlets in the garage? I'm assuming all parts should be one or the other?
Sub panel is NP266865-D. It contains seven 20A breakers, four of which are "tandem" ? I have a three-prong 220v outlet in the garage, which i don't use.
How can I tell if aluminum wiring is being used?
If it does exist, what are the actions to take?

Mod Note: MIdCity, please type your posts directly into the box that opens. Cutting and pasting from another text editor can produce the coding conflicts that showed up here.
 

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Old 03-07-14, 06:56 PM
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You can look at the cable sheath for labels like AL or look for the silver gray color near the breaker terminals.

Most breakers are listed for use with aluminum or copper.
 
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Old 03-07-14, 06:59 PM
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So as long as the two arenít directly connected, Iím good?
 
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Old 03-08-14, 08:14 AM
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ItÔŅĹs a GE panel, I think model number NP245768-5. It says only to use GE breakers, but i havenÔŅĹt fully investigated that part yet. The other brands that have are currently installed are Westinghouse and Bryant.
I have never seen any GE panel that was listed for Westinghouse or Bryant breakers.

MIdCityChef

So as long as the two arenít directly connected, Iím good?
The aluminum is Ok if it was installed properly when it was installed, but after seeing what uyou have, I seriously doubt it was. You'd be much better off with copper feeders. What about the smaller (15A & 20A) branch circuits, are they copper or aluminum?
 
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Old 03-08-14, 08:26 PM
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I haven't opened up the panel yet, or fully investigated what wiring I have. I just happened to notice that the one breaker was noted for aluminum. If it is aluminum, those wires will stay, because I'm not digging a trench just yet. If I need to replace breakers, that's what I'll do. I think he 15a and 20a cost less than $15
 
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Old 03-17-14, 03:01 PM
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Decided to run a dedicated line for the fridge today. Ran a 12 gauge line from the panel to the fridge (had to use a junction - line just wasnít long enough). Before I connect any wires, i want to make sure that they all go to the appropriate place. The neutral and ground buses are closer than i thought they would be - are they 2 separate buses indeed? The lower being the ground?
 
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Old 03-17-14, 03:24 PM
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are they 2 separate buses indeed? The lower being the ground?
No. The ground and neutral wires connect to the same place in the main panel. The two buses are connected together. Everywhere else they are kept separate.
 
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