Panel filled with tandems... rewiring to a sub?

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  #1  
Old 07-02-14, 03:30 PM
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Panel filled with tandems... rewiring to a sub?

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This is the current layout of my wiring panel. I have absolutely no room for expansion or adding new breakers as it has filled a 20 slot Murray branded service panel. There are four AFCI's on this panel consisting of three bedroom circuits and one fire alarm circuit. The rest of the circuits are on tandem breakers (WTF?) and 2 pole breakers for the 240v stuff.

I plan to convert all tandems to standard sized AFCI breakers, and the plan in doing so is to remove the tandem, install the single circuit AFCI breaker and install one circuit to that breaker, move the second circuit that was in tandem into a subpanel with a single circuit AFCI. When it's all said and done all breakers will be normal sized AFCI's or double pole 240v breakers. I plan on removing the dryer / jacuzzi / counter recept. double pole breaker and installing a 60amp double pole to service the sub.

Does anyone see any issues with this?

I know I am able to use wire nuts within the panel but is it acceptable to extend any circuits going to the subpanel by wire nutting in the main panel? I plan on installing the sub panel next to the service panel with an appropriate sized conduit/pipe to fit the subpanel service wire and approximately 10 romex lines.
 
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  #2  
Old 07-02-14, 03:38 PM
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You can splice in the panel. I would not run NM cables through the nipple. It will be easier to use individual conductors.
 
  #3  
Old 07-02-14, 09:03 PM
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So individual conduit for each romex including the subpanel main? (I ask because my panel is mounted in garage and the entire garage is drywalled and the panel is flush with the dryall... not your typical stud/plywood layout. Didn't know if I could just use one large metal conduit with the cables in it.
 
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Old 07-03-14, 01:02 PM
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Use a large (2-3'') nipple between both panels. Use individual THHN conductors rather than Romex inside the nipple.
 
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Old 07-28-14, 04:43 PM
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When running all of the wires with the exception to the sub panel power source, would it be acceptable to just buy a roll of 12 gauge (20 amp) copper (or green), white, and black and use that wire (instead of romex runs) to extend the circuits to the sub panel INCLUDING the 14 gauge (15 amp) circuits since the 15 amp won't (or shouldn't) overheat? Or do I need to buy copper, white, and black 14 gauge too?
 
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Old 07-28-14, 05:34 PM
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Yes.......you may use 12 gauge for both...just keep the 15 amp circuits on 15 amp breakers

Green is nice for a ground wire but you may strip white or black and use that for ground.

Green or bare copper for ground.

White or gray for neutral.

All other colors are hot.


By the way--------you said you plan to convert all tandems to standard sized afci breakers,....are all the wires on the tandems black,are any red?.....does each wire have it's own white wire?
 

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  #7  
Old 07-29-14, 08:04 AM
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It might be just as easy to change out the panel.
 
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Old 07-29-14, 08:36 AM
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It might be just as easy to change out the panel.
Agree! 50 to 60 circuit panels are actually quite affordable.
 
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Old 07-29-14, 09:12 AM
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Panels may be affordable, everything that goes along with it is not!! I just dropped $450 on 10 AFCIs (Square D QO). I'm guessing if you swap the panel to a larger one you might have to upgrade service too, which kicks off a whole bunny trail of expenses...

Panel $175
AFCIs $450
Service wire $250
Ground Rods, Grounding wire, conduit, etc. $150
Bury OH service $700
Inspection $75
1000' of romex $200

 
  #10  
Old 07-29-14, 06:40 PM
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I considered swapping out the panel, but I would bring in an electrician for that job. Adding a subpanel is more of an easier DIY without having to disconnect the service. My plan was to go ahead and do the panel (or sub panel) first, get my sub double pole put in the main and take the previous two (or four on tandems) circuits and move them over to the sub with afci's. Then month by month buy a couple afci's and switch them out vs eating the cost all at once. How much would a utility company charge to come out to disconnect then reconnect? And would I really need to pay for 1000' of romex, a new buried cable, and so on? Lol I already have 200A service as it is.
 
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Old 07-29-14, 07:23 PM
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Haha, I was relating my bill after I came across the same problem, but I only had a 100 Amp service--If you already have a 200A service all you would need to do is get permission from the power company to pull the meter to swap the panel, everything should be wired up the same as the current panel. They may let you pull the meter on your own or they may arrange to do it for you. But since you already have the 200A service I would go with a sub panel
 
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Old 07-29-14, 08:06 PM
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And would I really need to pay for 1000' of romex, a new buried cable, and so on? Lol I already have 200A service as it is.
Most of it probably not. The age and condition of the meter socket, riser and service entrance wiring usually determines if they must be replaced. Typically grounding has to be updated to current code requirements though.
 
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Old 07-29-14, 10:33 PM
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Pulling a meter is not a DIY skill.
 
  #14  
Old 07-30-14, 05:44 AM
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That's why I said I would call an electrician if I chose that route instead of the subpanel (because the subpanel is/can be DIY) they can handle the big stuff.
 
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