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Old 01-05-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


First, I know this is my first post, so please be gentle. I've done some searching and have found a lot of posts about adding a panel for external buildings (garages, sheds, etc), but either my queries are wrong or I am just skipping over the ones I need. I realize this is a large job, likely best placed in the hands of a professional. That said, I'd still like to tackle it with proper guidance because I'm a relatively hands on person.

Cliff Notes Version:
200 AMP service panel in attached garage. Want to add 100AMP subpanel in basement, to provide service for finished basement and potentially add a hot tub in rear of house, outside the basement door. I currently only have 3 spots left open in my main panel.

Location: Delaware

About me: Homeowner, and have done some home electrical changes myself. (Re-wired switches to control a ceiling fan instead of 1/2 an outlet, installed the boxes necessary for those jobs, etc.) This will be my largest electrical task to date.

I originally thought about putting in a 50AMP subpanel using 6/3 wire, but figured if I'm going to go through the trouble of installing a panel I mind as well plan for the future just in case.

My research so far is pointing me in the direction of using 2-2-2-4 SER wire to provide a feed to the subpanel. Can someone confirm if this is the correct wire? The main panel will use 2 of the 3 available slots and will have a 100AMP breaker installed there, as well as a 100AMP breaker in the subpanel in the basement. I'm also aware that the I'll need a separate neutral bar and grounding bar in the subpanel.

The main questions I have surround how to get the (2-2-2-4) wire from the main panel to the basement. I've added a diagram (which is unfortunately small(er) than I'd like, but hopefully helps. The main panel is located in my attached garage, front left corner of the house. The subpanel can, at this point, be placed anywhere in the basement as I'm still in the process of framing.

I have a two floor home, with un-used space above the garage. I could go through the attic, and climb down, above the garage, and run the cable through the wall, across the attic, and down another wall to the basement. Alternatively, I was hoping to run the cable through conduit, either along the wall into the basement, or across the basement ceiling and down another wall. (Either works, really.)

I've tried my best to mark the attached diagram to where the main box is located, and the proposed ways to get the cable into the basement. Any and all advice is welcome. (Good or bad, I'm a big boy, I can take it.)

Some notes on the Diagram:

All Sub Locations are in the basement.
Sub A location will be in an unfinished area of the basement.
Sub B location will be in finished section of the basement. That section is an office, and the location of the panel would be in the closet of that office.
Sub C location is underneath the steps, inside a finished closet.

Thanks in advance for either helping, or taking the time to read this rather lengthy post. If I can answer any questions that will help you form a better opinion, please let me know!

-cj
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Last edited by mindle; 01-05-2010 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 01-05-2010, 03:37 PM   #2
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Just a few things about the diagram:

It's the complete basement layout. The 'grayed' area in the main portion is the section that will eventually be completely finished. (~950 sq ft)

In between 'square' between Sub B and Sub C, that will be a secluded room (4 walls, and a closet) to be used as an Office. I don't mind putting the box there.

Where the label 'MAIN SERVICE PANEL' is, the panel is on the LEFT, inside the garage. Underneath that label is two garage doors. I can run the cable up the wall and over the garages through conduit, or can climb into the attic and run them from there.

Let me know if anything else isn't clear.

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Old 01-05-2010, 04:11 PM   #3
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


I do have one question before I answer. Is the garage on the same level as the basement?
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:08 PM   #4
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


No, it's not.

The garage on the main floor level. I have a second floor, which for this project is fairly irrelevant (but I can answer any questions if you have them).

Also, the basement is considered a 'walk-out'. I have a 6' sliding glass door out to a patio behind the house. Above the patio is a deck off the main floor. (I believe how much above/below grade has some relevance, but I don't know for sure.)
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:21 PM   #5
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


I assume that you are going to use 2/3 w#4 groung Aluminum SER cable to feed the sub panel. Because the NEC allows you to downsize the cable for a service. Instead you can use 3/3 SER Aluminum or 4/3 romex. I would run it through the attic. I do not like the idea of running service feeders above garage doors even though you would sleave it in EMT. Once you get into the basement you can place the panel anywhere except in a closet per NEC.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:28 PM   #6
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by HIVOLT View Post
I do not like the idea of running service feeders above garage doors even though you would sleave it in EMT. Once you get into the basement you can place the panel anywhere except in a closet per NEC.
I felt the same way, to be honest. (Especially considering I have two small(er) kids.)

And anywhere BUT a closet. Alrighty.. Can you point me in the right code direction? Aside from wanting to know the rights and wrongs, I actually want to learn this stuff to be self sufficient.

Thanks HIVOLT.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:39 PM   #7
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by HIVOLT View Post
Because the NEC allows you to downsize the cable for a service. Instead you can use 3/3 SER Aluminum or 4/3 romex. I would run it through the attic. .
My understanding he was talking about a subpanel not a service.
What is your reasoning?
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:46 PM   #8
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Yes, I am looking to install a SUBPANEL. Sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

Were you referring to my reasoning in installing a sub, or in his posts?
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:48 PM   #9
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Statment in his post.
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:01 PM   #10
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Anyone else have opinions, thoughts, critiques or advice?
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Old 01-06-2010, 06:00 PM   #11
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


100a sub I ran #3 copper approx 27' from my 200a Main, #6 ground
2 black/red hots, white neutral, green ground
Not familiar with SER, I prefer to do copper

Usually hot tubs (or large loads) they prefer you run them from the Main panel
That said both the tubs at the last 2 houses ended up being run from a 100a sub
How much room do you have above the garage doors ?
If tight I probably would not run it there...but chances are if enough room it would be OK
Up to an Inspector if the y might consider it subject to physical damage & need protection

Spot A seems like it would be out of the way, which can be a good thing
But that would mean longer circuit runs

Spot B same main run but some circuit runs would be shorter

Spot C do you have the 30" width required for clearance ?
That area seems like it would be better used for storage...or a dart board
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:53 PM   #12
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
100a sub I ran #3 copper approx 27' from my 200a Main, #6 ground
2 black/red hots, white neutral, green ground
Not familiar with SER, I prefer to do copper
The only question I have about this, is I thought 6/3 wire was only rated upto 50a? Perhaps I am confusing 6/3 with different type of wire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave
How much room do you have above the garage doors ?
Above the garage I have a fair amount. I snuck up in the attic earlier and took some pictures of the room above the garage. You can see a majority of the wiring coming up out of the wall where the main is located, and running above the garages. This should give you a good idea of room, I haven't climbed down there yet but I expect to be able to stand and walk around.

Below is a picture of the 6/3 cable that I have... about 25 feet of it. If I can use it, great, but if I need additional cable I'll just buy whatever is necessary to meet code requirements.

Here is a picture of the currently unfinished spot "C". I also have another picture of spot "B". "C" would be enclosed underneath the steps, so I'm not sure if that would count as a 'closet', in which case it would no longer work. Spot "B" is definitely going to be a closet, so again, I think thats also out.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:55 PM   #13
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by mindle View Post
The only question I have about this, is I thought 6/3 wire was only rated upto 50a? Perhaps I am confusing 6/3 with different type of wire.
Not not #6 wire

#3 wire for the hots & neutral, #6 wire for the ground only


Pics not showing......?
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:57 PM   #14
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


6/3 cable that I have, and a picture above the garages.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:06 PM   #15
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Adding Subpanel for Basement - Few Questions


Locations B and C.

For Loc "C", it would be along the inside of the 'right' framing you see. I originally was thinking to put it there, but beginning to think that's a horrible idea the more I look at it.

I marked off where I was originally thinking in the pictures. Hope that helps. First two pictures are "C" location (and irony would have it, I have a dart board in the box on the floor). The last picture is location "B"
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