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  • Sub Panel Question

    First off I am a carpenter! But I do my own work at home with the proper info and guidance of those who are experts.
    I have a 200 AMP main panel in the house. I am out of space for breakers even with minis. I want to change out my LP gas water heater to electric and have the option of the same change out with the clothes dryer. LP is getting way too pricey.
    So hear is my idea. I mount a sub panel next to the main panel. I install a 60 amp breaker in the main to feed the sub. I move the circuits that the 50 takes the place of into the sub and then fedd my new applainces.
    Am I on the right track?

  • #2
    Re: Sub Panel Question

    That's the basic idea. Make sure to distribute the circuits so the subpanel is not overloaded and don't bond the neutral to the ground in the subpanel.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Sub Panel Question

      Yes,
      You are on the right track. This should work well for what you want to do. Use a four wire feed (a black, a red, a white and either a green or bare ground) to supply power to the feeder panel. The grounds all go to the ground bar in the feeder. The neutral all go to the neutral bar in the feeder. The ground bar and the neutral bar in the feeder are generally NOT bonded to each other. They are separated. And it is imperative that you follow the requirement that all neutrals go on one bar and all grounds on the other because of this. Remember that that neutral white wire IS a CURRENT CARRYING CONDUCTOR. It does not take the place of the ground wire. It does not do double duty along with the ground wire. That's why they are separate. If you need a good handy reference, get the book, "Wiring Simplified" by HP Richter, WC Schwan and FP Hartwell. It's about $12 and will be your best friend when doing this and you have more questions come up.
      Good luck and Cheers,
      Jim Don

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      • #4
        Re: Sub Panel Question

        Thanks for the quick reply!
        One more question that I should have included.
        Wire size from the main to the sub. 60 amp breaker = #6?
        Thanks

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Sub Panel Question

          No. 6 will do you just fine for the feeder. Home Depot will cut you amounts off their big reels (I'm assuming you'll put your feeder right next to your main panel) that will work for you without buying a whole spool. Buy a little extra for shaping it nicely in the panel so it doesn't look like somebody threw up a spaghetti dinner. Remember, "all work shall be done in a neat and workmanlike manner" according to the NEC.
          Jim

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Sub Panel Question

            Thanks Jim.
            And yes, all the work will be done neatly. As I am a finish carpenter/cabinet maker details mean alot to me!
            Also Home Dpot will not be getting my business but a local electrical supply house.
            Thanks again!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sub Panel Question

              Local electrical supply house? Even Better. Those guys know exactly what's going on and can cheerfully help with questions too. Don't be afraid to come back and ask further questions as you go either.
              Jim

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Sub Panel Question

                I'd say if you're going through the trouble to put in a sub panel. then don't waste your time with a 60amp, just put a 100amp sub in. You already said your main panel is full, if you plan to add anything else in the future, this will make sure that you won't have to re-wire the sub panel for a little larger load. I would just upsize (might even be cheaper) to #1 Aluminum for the 2 hots / neutral, and keep the ground #6 aluminum or #8 with copper.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Sub Panel Question

                  Let's do a little thinking before just installing a new sub-panel. Most but not all 200 Amp main breaker load centers have about 40 breaker spaces. If you have all of them in use and use some tandem breakers at that then you really have loads. I wonder if with future loads added on if you may not end up now and then tripping your 200 Amp main breaker. I know this may seem wild but larger houses in many cases end up with 400 or even 600 Amp service being needed.

                  Please list all of your heavy loads both current and what you think you'll add on over say the next few years.

                  Another thing to think about: For heat is there a way to bring in natural gas? Fuel oil? Electric heat is nice, clean and simple but operational costs are very high and only going up. Depending on your heating load and season it may pay off to think about another energy source.

                  Are you planning on any heavy motor loads? Starting current needs to be figured out and planned on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Sub Panel Question

                    Originally posted by PCPlumber
                    NO! You have to add the total amps of all the breakers and you cannot exceed 200 amps. If you are using minis, you probably exceeded your 200 amps. If not, put a sub pane somewhere else in the house. Run some number '8' wires in flex and put the sub panel near the water heater. You need a breaker, in the main panel, to turn the sub panel off. You will have to remove breakers and move the circuits to your sub panel. Ask someone as the electric warehouse. There are many codes requiring grounding all panels. There are many special fittings for grounding. I think we use 50 amp breakers for an electric water heater. You will need a double '50' or whatever it is.
                    No offense, but this is absolutely poor info. It is wrong on almost every level.

                    Kungur, stick to what JimDon has told you, he is dead on.

                    Jeff

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