Questions on replacing old Square D Load center

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Old 03-05-15, 11:01 PM
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Questions on replacing old Square D Load center

I typed up a long back story and realized that I wouldn't read it myself. Ill ask the question then fill in the back story if need be. Ranch house, while Id like to keep it safe I don't necessarily think code is an issue? We had a 220v 50 amp breaker that didn't trip and burnt the bus bar that it was connected to. This happens to be the one on the right that is shared between the hot water heater and range. I can shut the power off via the outside box, confirmed and double checked.

Id like to replace this with a square D that allows me to get rid of the tandem and not double up on that 220. I'm somewhat confused with the naming of spaces and circuits. I will need 16x 20amp and what will be 4x 50amp 220. What box would be recommended for this install? Ill deal with grounding via pigtails or take suggestions if the new box requires it.

I don't mind replacing all the breakers, probably a good idea anyhow. Unfortunately the house is over an hour away from the nearest store so I need to take everything with me the first time. Please excuse the wallpaper, it dates the house and is only in this closet

Thanks in advance for your time.


 
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Old 03-06-15, 04:25 AM
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Welcome to the forums! Thanks for keeping it brief.
I don't necessarily think code is an issue
Sorry, but it IS the issue, and that is why it nearly burned down the house.

shared between the hot water heater and range
This was SHARED between a 30 amp unit and a 50 amp unit????? You are quite fortunate that the wiring for the water heater didn't burn all the way back to the panel inside the wall and cause a fire. Why would someone protect two units that are incompatible on a common oversized breaker?

You could install just about any main lug panel where yours is, choosing the number of slots that you think you will need. It may require removing some of your sheetrock to retrofit it in the hole, but it can be repaired. Just make sure each circuit is properly protected according to the size of wire and its application.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 07:22 AM
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Anyone else see at least 4, code infractions in that box and where it's located?
Makes me wonder why all the 20's and no 15's.
What size wire is going to those 20's? Makes me wonder when I see white sheathing. (and having that much sheathing inside the box is one of the violations)
 
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Old 03-06-15, 07:27 AM
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Note that pretty much every main lug panel can be mounted "upside down" in case your feed wires aren't long enough to reach the top of a new panel in the "upright" configuration. Not every panel is reversible though so you might want to see if the one you buy is to give yourself that option.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 07:36 AM
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Please excuse the wallpaper, it dates the house and is only in this closet
This is a problem, your panel cannot be in the typical residential closet. You'll need to find a new location for a new panel.

I'd suggest a Square D QO series 30 space-40 circuit panel.

Shop Square D 40-Circuit 30-Space 200-Amp Main Breaker Load Center (Value Pack) at Lowes.com breaker|Square D|Indoor

Here is a similar panel with main lugs only rather than a main breaker.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...z11xxoZ1z1232n

You must use separate breakers for the range and water heater.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 07:56 AM
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Is that a sub panel? If so a ground wire and ground buss should be installed,also be sure to install cable connectors where needed.
Look's like # 10's on that 2 pole 50
Geo
 
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Old 03-06-15, 08:10 AM
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Is that a sub panel? If so a ground wire and ground buss should be installed
Good point. Do you have a disconnect at the meter outside? If you have a disconnect outside your panel IS A SUBPANEL Currently the ground and neutral conductors are mixed on the neutral bus. Like Geo mentioned, you need a separate ground bar to keep the neutrals isolated from ground IF THIS IS A SUBPANEL. And, make sure you do not install the green neutral bonding screw IF THIS IS A SUBPANEL.

If you have no disconnect outside, you need a main breaker panel.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 08:20 AM
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Some of this depends on how much of the modern code is enforced for a panel replacement in your jurisdiction. If you have a local inspection authority, it would be a good idea to consult them about what your code requirements are when replacing a damaged panel.

In some places you can do a one for one replacement of the panel without upgrading to modern code (location not in closet, four wire feeder, AFCI breakers). Other places will enforce some or all of the modern codes on the new panel. This could change the job from "medium" to "large" in a hurry depending on where the main is relative to this panel and what other legal locations are available.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 08:26 AM
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How big is this closet?

Please be sure to use connectors on the cable when the panel is changed.

There is no limit to the amount of cable sheath inside the panel, but you do need at least 6" of free conductor outside the sheath.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 09:09 AM
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First off thanks to those who took the time to answer questions and help out. Yes this is a subpanel. The main panel is outside the house and there is a main breaker that shuts all the power to the house off. This was originally two homes moved to this site. You would cringe if you saw the attic, original tongue and grove, drop, and 6 inches below is the current.

I realized that I typed range and hot water it was the dryer and hot water that shared this breaker, regardless its why I don't want to go back in the same way. The range is on the breaker you see in the top right with the red and black wire, which brings up other questions.

Ill revisit code isn't an issue. It was in terms of, I have to do x to pass inspection. I don't mind doing it to code but don't have to pass inspections other than my own. Again not trying to skirt code just wanted to make that clear. I'm a car guy and its like asking catalytic converter questions on forums if that makes sense.

The closet I referenced is 12 x 6 and has a door to the outside of the house, its not a clothes closet and would technically be a hallway if there wasn't a door between it and the living room.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 10:02 AM
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Since you are dealing with some aluminum wiring.... pick up a bottle of Penetrox. It's a grease like compound used at the connections of aluminum wires to help control oxidization.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 10:23 AM
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If you can keep a refrigerator sized box area in front of the panel I would think the panel would be fine where it is. Since you sound like there are no building official to ask it becomes a judgment call.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 10:40 AM
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Hi

Here would be my shopping list if I had to go an hour away.
  • Main Lug Panel - As Casual Joe listed.
  • Additional Ground Bar for the panel.
  • Breakers - I would check the gauge on each wire coming in and buy the appropriate breakers (ie 14 = 15amp, 12 = 20amp, doubles as needed - get a few spares as well) Then if you find that the current breaker is in excess of the allowed amperage on the wire check the attached appliance to see whether it can have a smaller breaker or not.
  • A few Grounding Lugs in case the wires are too big for the neutral bar / ground bar in the panel (Square D QO70ANCP perhaps)
  • Plenty of Non Metalic Conduit Clamp Fittings in different sizes (I see some are missing the photos and some are doubled up).
  • Lock Nuts for the clamps.
  • Convienence Receptable and hardware for somewhere near the panel would be a nice addition if there is nothing in the closet / hallway.
  • 2x4 to frame around the panel as needed.
  • Noalox for the AL Connections.
  • Sheetrock to repair.
  • Knockout Fillers for the inevitable screw ups!
  • Wirenuts / extra 14/2, 12/2 if you have to splice in the panel

Tools, hardware to mount the panel etc...


Questions
  • Whats the service wire coming in from the disconnect - is it 2 hots, neutral and ground ? It will need to be so you might need a length of SER cable appropriately sized. I see a few nicks where the insulation was removed where it connects to the lug also - you will need to trim that back and do it without the nicks - will you have enough length on the existing wire if you need to that ?
  • What's that large wire(s) hanging out of the panel at the front ?
  • Do you have any Multi Wire Branch Circuits (I see some red wires which makes think it might be possible) - you'll need double pole breakers for them.


Also check whether AFCI's are required if there is a local inspection required.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 11:58 AM
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Thanks mick999 I know that took some time to put together, if you were in Texas Id buy you a drink. I was in NJ for business the week of 2/16 and with your weather I know you can use one

To answer your questions.

I didn't get a good look at the service wire, should have pulled all the crap out of the way to take the picture. From what I saw there are two bare aluminum wires at the bottom of the box. Large wire hanging out is attached to the 50amp breaker for the AC, it was in that vacant spot. The power was off when I took this picture. In regard to multi branch I'm not positive but I do see what you pointed out. One of the local electricians is a friend from what I'm reading I'm probably going to need him to come out. Ill take the HW listed do what I can, get him watch over the work and hopefully get this knocked out.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 12:22 PM
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The MWBC should be easy to spot. If the Red wire goes into the same cable as black out of the panel then you either have a 240V Circuit that is split across single pole breakers (not good) or you have a MWBC which should be on a double pole breaker (these days anyway).

Have a read up on them - they are sharing a neutral if the cable has a neutral.

NJ - yes its been cold and I'm somewhat sick of the snow - too many small storms!. At least I sorted out my snowblower issues thanks to this forum. I'm in Houston now and then for business - I miss the warmth!
 
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Old 03-06-15, 12:47 PM
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Yes I was actually reading up on it because I had questions on the wires going to the range, top right 50 amp. It is a black red wire vs. black white which had me asking myself questions.

Yes that snow was amazing. I was in NY, NJ, PA, MA, DE, MD, RI, IN and IL over the course of 9 days. The snow in Boston was something a Texas guy can do without just like the -9 temps in Chicago.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 02:12 PM
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The 4 wires for the range is because you need the 240 from the red and black and the white carries the current from the timers and lights. The ground is for safety. If it were straight 240 you could have the black and white as hots with the bare ground.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 03:14 PM
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No need for AFCI check out NEC 2014 210- 12 B.
Geo
 
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Old 03-07-15, 08:28 AM
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If you have some aluminum wiring, as was mentioned, keep in mind that #10 aluminum circuits must be protected at 20 amps and #12 aluminum circuits must be protected at 15 amps.

For multiwire branch circuits, you can use either a 2-pole breaker OR.....the method I prefer......install a handle tie across the two adjacent 1-pole breakers for the multiwire branch circuit. A common trip is not required on multiwire branch circuits, just common disconnect. By using handle ties if you should have a problem with one of those circuits, only the circuit with the problem will trip it's breaker rather than both poles tripping when using a 2-pole breaker. If both poles trip, as with a 2-pole breaker, you would be required to do further trouble shooting just to find which circuit has a problem.
 
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