Economics of a subpanel

Old 06-04-02, 07:18 PM
Gary Tait
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Economics of a subpanel

When would one consider it more economical, in both materials,
labour, and effecincy and safety to run a sub panel in part of the house, as opposed to home-running each circuit to the main panel?

There will be about 30 ft of cable run between the main panel and the sub

The circuits will be 3 GP receptacle circuts, 1 outdoor
plug circuit, 1 or 2 lighting, and 1 or 2 220V baseboard heater

At this time, I do have a small sub panel that can supply
the general lighting and outlet circuits, and maybe a general
purpose 220V 15 outlet (in my situation, a 220V outlet ends up
serving numerous uses). I do not have a new main panel yet
though, and would to know if I can save money and labour doing
the sub-panel thing (buying a smaller main panel and the 8/3
Old 06-04-02, 07:53 PM
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I am not a big fan of sub panels in a house. Only on a rare and special designated areas such as a compact machine area or a voltage drop problem with a heavy load.

If you want a true answer, set down and write a list of everything including cable footage to wire it with the branch cuitcuits going directly from the panel for all you want to serve from that sub panel.

Then make a list of all material required to install the sub panel including breakers in that sub panel and the feeder serving that sub panel and branch circuit wiring to serve the equipment from that sub panel.

Then take that list to your supplier and ask for a price of each list concerning materials.

Then compare the two material costs to see which is the most cost affective.

Remember that installing a subpanel actually increases labor compared to running branch circuit conductors directly from the main panel. Think in your mind article by article how many hours it would take one person times one or two people times two totalling the hours to be spent on each wiring design.

Let us know what you discover during this informative experiment.


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