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Old 02-10-2009, 08:38 PM   #1
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


OK, I am going to tackle installing my sub panel this weekend and clean up a bunch of the wiring around the existing panel. Here are some pics of what we inherited when we bought the house. Many additions to this panel over the years for sure.
My plan in is to install a sub panel run off a 50amp breaker and take out all the tandems and replace with standard single poles. Then just generally clean up all the wire runs into this panel. I'm open to comments before I take this on. Thanks in advance.
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess-panel-1-small.jpg   Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess-panel-2-small.jpg   Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess-panel-3-small.jpg  

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Old 02-10-2009, 09:40 PM   #2
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Looks like one of the first qo panels, around 1950-1960. The grounds are the first thing I see that is bad. A sub panel is a good idea to clean this mess up. Consider a larger panel, in case you upgrade your service and change over to the sub. What is your service currently?

Your going to need to put a ground bar in the panel to get all of the grounds off of the mount screws!

How are you grounded currently? Any water pipe or ground rods?

I might not be able to help you further, I am only familiar with the NEC. Maybe some of the Canadian code experts can help you.


Last edited by rgsgww; 02-10-2009 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:27 PM   #3
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


The house was built in 1964 and yes, its a QO-20M panel, 125amp with a 100amp main breaker. For a sub I am using another 125amp Square-D Quikpak (best cost effectiveness with the breakers included). I don't plan on upping the service any time soon due to the cost, but I do want to clean this up best I can. I never have any breakers trip up to now. I do plan on purchasing a seperate ground bar to install in the current panel, and moving alot of the circuits to the sub should help too.

As far as I can tell, there is a ground going to the main water supply pipe as well as one going into the ground (to a rod I assume) The house was originally a rancher, then in 1975 they raised it and built the bottom story below it, and added to the panel as they went.

I am planning on keeping the big stuff (stove, dryer, A/C etc) on the main and moving alot of the smaller circuits to the sub.

Last edited by rovers1973; 02-12-2009 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 02-12-2009, 12:22 AM   #4
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Ok, got a bit of a start on cleaning up my panel. Labeled a bunch of the wires, and removed phone and cable wires that were in the way. Also pulled some insulation too.
I gotta say, pulling cable staples sure is tedious work.
Gonna try to get all the holes drilled friday so I can install the sub and re-route all the wiring over the weekend, hopefully be done before my wife gets back
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Old 02-12-2009, 01:58 AM   #5
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Have fun with this.
Is red romex sheathing common?
I have never seen it before.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:07 AM   #6
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Don't add to the mess with a sub, just install a larger panel.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:09 AM   #7
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Quote:
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Don't add to the mess with a sub, just install a larger panel.

Since his current setup has the cables going in at the bottom, he should have more than enough length for a new panel.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:25 AM   #8
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Quote:
Originally Posted by rovers1973 View Post
Ok, got a bit of a start on cleaning up my panel. Labeled a bunch of the wires, and removed phone and cable wires that were in the way. Also pulled some insulation too.
I gotta say, pulling cable staples sure is tedious work.
Gonna try to get all the holes drilled friday so I can install the sub and re-route all the wiring over the weekend, hopefully be done before my wife gets back
Make sure you mark each circuit label with the amp rating of the breaker its attached to as well as the function. And also be sure to mark out any 240 volt circuits as well.

I too would agree with installing a new 200 amp panel instead of another sub panel. You have plenty of length on the existing wires and plenty of room on the wall to put a new panel without having to worry about the old panel being in the way. They usually have good deals on the 200 amp panels and include a bunch of breakers with it as well. There would be no need at this point to back feed a breaker in the new panel because its OCPD (Over current protection device) would be installed in your existing panel.

This would make it very easy to upgrade to 200 amps later down the road, remove the old panel, and hook up the new panel as the main. Just keep in mind the additional panel you put in will need to have the neutral and ground separated and isolated from each other, but will tie into the same neutral bus on the old panel.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:10 AM   #9
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


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Have fun with this.
Is red romex sheathing common?
I have never seen it before.
Poster is from Canada....I actually think it's kinda cool....
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:29 AM   #10
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


I have debated upgrading the existing panel but chose to go with the sub due to cost. I would have to hire someone to do the SE upgrade, but this way I can do it myself.

Question, perhaps I could use a 200amp panel as a sub for now, allowing that I could move it over as the main should I choose to down the road? Would that work? I see Square D has a 200 amp Quikpak for about 90 bucks more than the 125.

As for the circuits, all of them are on 14/2 or 14/3 wire on 15amp breakers which is standard up here in Canada I guess. And I already know which wires are the 240 stuff. (2 stoves, a dryer and the A/C), which I'm leaving in the main panel.
Thanks for the input guys.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:47 AM   #11
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


I think you do what a ya gotta do....so install your sub but a new panel is better. But use a 60 amp breaker to feed your sub.

I see one thing that may be a concern and I don't know if it has been brought up. I see reds and blacks landed on your single pole tandem breakers be sure they both do not come from the same cable Those are multiwires and the red's and blacks need to be on opposite busses of the panel so the neutral current won't add but will be cancelled or unbalanced one the whites. Be sure to identify them as such.
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Why do you have all that 240 V red wire but not as many double pole breakers? I see that some land on the tandem breakers, but not as many neutrals. What gives?
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:57 AM   #13
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


If you are going to buy a 200 as a sub be aware that the lugs will only take a certain size wire. Yoiu can connect the smaller wire to a larger wire to use the lugs (IE small piece to use lugs) - I can't remember what the specific item, is called.

I have a 200a main & installed a 100a sub shortly after moving in. It's nice to have a sub to better organize. I like the red sheath wire too. When I run network wire I usually like to use a different color.

I don't mind tandems, I bought some & never used them
But too many can be a problem when you need to work on a circuit
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Old 02-12-2009, 04:37 PM   #14
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
I think you do what a ya gotta do....so install your sub but a new panel is better. But use a 60 amp breaker to feed your sub.

I see one thing that may be a concern and I don't know if it has been brought up. I see reds and blacks landed on your single pole tandem breakers be sure they both do not come from the same cable Those are multiwires and the red's and blacks need to be on opposite busses of the panel so the neutral current won't add but will be cancelled or unbalanced one the whites. Be sure to identify them as such.
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Why do you have all that 240 V red wire but not as many double pole breakers? I see that some land on the tandem breakers, but not as many neutrals. What gives?
Yes, I did check to make sure the mulitwire stuff landed on opposite buses. Guy before me wired them to seperate breakers instead of double poles, probably due to being to0 lazy to move stuff around when they added all those tandems etc. Would have been nice if they marked the stuff that shared neutals too. This will be fixed.

Stubbie, will #6/3 wire work for 60 amp breaker? I have about 8' of that I would like to use instead of buying it if possible.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:18 PM   #15
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Adding a sub panel and cleaning up this mess


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Originally Posted by rovers1973 View Post
Yes, I did check to make sure the mulitwire stuff landed on opposite buses. Guy before me wired them to seperate breakers instead of double poles, probably due to being to0 lazy to move stuff around when they added all those tandems etc. Would have been nice if they marked the stuff that shared neutals too. This will be fixed.

Stubbie, will #6/3 wire work for 60 amp breaker? I have about 8' of that I would like to use instead of buying it if possible.
6/3 with ground will work for 60 amp breaker. In the USA 6/3 NM-B is 55 amps but we have no 55 amp breaker so we are allowed on feeders to go to the next size up for the breaker which is 60 amps. In Canada you use NM-D 90 (I believe) so I'm not sure what your rules are there. But I'd breaker it as much as allowed. 50 works but 60 is better IMO just watch what loads you put over in that sub panel considering diversification.

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