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Old 07-09-2009, 05:39 PM   #1
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


some of you may remember me previous post about my "rats nest" breaker panel. I'm starting to get ready for running the new wires and mounting the new subpanel inside the house and I need some help with how this will all tap in to the existing breaker panel. Here's how it looked when I first started...


...and here's how it looks now that I've done a bit of cleanup with a vacuum


There's a TON of nesting still up inside and behind the meter and I'm probably going to have the power company come and clean that out for me as I don't think I'm allowed behind there...

So here's my plan: I'm going to run a new heavy line from this panel to a new subpanel inside my house and slowly begin running new circuits out to each room as we remodel them. This way, I'm running new electrical while keeping the old in place -abandoning circuits one at a time. Eventually, there will be no live circuits on the original panel -just the meter.

Here's a shot from the inside of the house (back of the panel):


So here's some of my concerns: I'm not sure where I'd tap into the existing power feed. Would I need to access the wiring behind the meter as opposed to the two large black leads in the center of the existing breaker panel? If I need to go behind the meter, maybe I'll have the power shut off at the pole by Edison and then have them go in and clean out the back of the meter (all the old rat's nest bedding) and run new power leads at the same time before they switch it back on?

Any ideas would be great!

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Old 07-09-2009, 05:48 PM   #2
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


I am missing something here. Where is the main breaker/ disconnect?

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Old 07-09-2009, 05:49 PM   #3
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


It's a good question! My guess is that the doubled-up green breaker in the center of the panel is all I've got.
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:54 PM   #4
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Okay, it is a 100 amp breaker, I did not see that earlier. Question what size is your house and how many of your major alliances are gas. I have a reason I am asking this.
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:59 PM   #5
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Oh yeah, a totally valid question. I have a gas range/oven, gas water heater, and gas dryer. The house is currently 1600sf and I'm going to be bringing right up to 2000 by the time I'm done. Can I bypass that breaker? I'd eventually like to abandon the entire panel and just leave the meter. Will I still need a breaker on the outside of the house?
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


What breaker outside the house? This is inportant. Describe the box it is in.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:07 PM   #7
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


That looks like a split bus panel.

The 2 pole 30 probably feeds the right side of the panel.

The left side of the bus has no disconnect. It's fed directly from the meter (above),

The biggest circuit you are going to be able to run will ba 100 amps due to breaker size limitation.

I would just run a 60 amp sub panel circuit to the new panel.

I would feed all your new heavy 240V circuits (AC, Rrange, dryer, WH etc) from the main panel.

Id use a full size breaker for the sub and AC, You will have to use thin breakers for the two remaining 240V circuits.

Run a 6/3 (60A) cable to the new sub. Put the breaker on the "main" side of the service. Isolate the neutrals in the sub and you are done. Upgrage your grounding/bonding while you're at it.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:09 PM   #8
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


I mean, after I manage to replace all of the currently live circuits that are running through this breaker box, will I be able to remove the guts and just leave the meter in this box? I'd sure like to. I don't think that Edison needs the ability to access the master breaker from the outside of my house anyways so maybe I'm just asking stupid questions right now. What I was asking was if there still needs to be a master breaker at this panel (that is now facing the outside of my house). I'm trying to move the breakers to the inside of the house so I won't have any more "rat's nest" problems in the future (as well as modernize the materials and maybe even bring it up to code!). The box is steel. The top half contains the meter (and a bunch of rats nesting material from what I can peek in to see from below. The lower half contains the breaker rail you see pictured above.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:14 PM   #9
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


OK


Left to right, it looks like...

2 pole mystery breaker

2 pole AC breaker

3 single pole breakers

2 pole (30?) feeding the remainder of the panel (split bus?)

5 single poles

1 two pole 30 (thin)

1 twin 20 (2 120v 20A circuits)

1 single pole.

Quote:
after I manage to replace all of the currently live circuits that are running through this breaker box, will I be able to remove the guts and just leave the meter in this box?
You need a main outside.

A) Local code will likely require it.
B) You need to attach your sub panel feeder to something so it will have to be a breaker.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:15 PM   #10
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
That looks like a split bus panel.

The 2 pole 30 probably feeds the right side of the panel.

The left side of the bus has no disconnect. It's fed directly from the meter (above),

The biggest circuit you are going to be able to run will ba 100 amps due to breaker size limitation.

I would just run a 60 amp sub panel circuit to the new panel.

I would feed all your new heavy 240V circuits (AC, Rrange, dryer, WH etc) from the main panel.

Id use a full size breaker for the sub and AC, You will have to use thin breakers for the two remaining 240V circuits.

Run a 6/3 (60A) cable to the new sub. Put the breaker on the "main" side of the service. Isolate the neutrals in the sub and you are done. Upgrage your grounding/bonding while you're at it.
How big of a deal would it be to completely bypass this breaker panel? I hate relying on components that are not only decades old but located on the outside of my house.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:20 PM   #11
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


The reason I would take the high draw loads from the service outside is to minimize the load/wire size for the new sub inside.

The max breaker you are going to find for that panel is 100...maybe 125A.


The existing service is likely 100 or 125 so I guess it wouldn't be any different.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:21 PM   #12
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
That looks like a split bus panel.

The 2 pole 30 probably feeds the right side of the panel.

The left side of the bus has no disconnect. It's fed directly from the meter (above),

The biggest circuit you are going to be able to run will ba 100 amps due to breaker size limitation.

I would just run a 60 amp sub panel circuit to the new panel.

I would feed all your new heavy 240V circuits (AC, Rrange, dryer, WH etc) from the main panel.

Id use a full size breaker for the sub and AC, You will have to use thin breakers for the two remaining 240V circuits.

Run a 6/3 (60A) cable to the new sub. Put the breaker on the "main" side of the service. Isolate the neutrals in the sub and you are done. Upgrage your grounding/bonding while you're at it.
220/221 help me out here. Is this a 100 or 200 amp service and why do i think I see a 30 amp sp in the panel.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:25 PM   #13
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Quote:
How big of a deal would it be to completely bypass this breaker panel? I hate relying on components that are not only decades old but located on the outside of my house.
You will still probably need a main outside.


Change the service @ about $2k-$3k. DIY for substantially less money, substantially more headache.


If you are all gas, the 125A will do it. If you want to upgrade, now is the time to do it.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:27 PM   #14
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Quote:
220/221 help me out here. Is this a 100 or 200 amp service and why do i think I see a 30 amp sp in the panel.
It a 100 or 125 I believe.

It does look like a 1p30 on the far right.....with a white wire


Perp, Turn off the green 2 pole breaker in the middle and test power on all breakers. I am thinking that the right half will shut off and the left half will still be hot.

They did that for the "six switch or less max to kill all power" rule

Last edited by 220/221; 07-09-2009 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:51 PM   #15
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Advice on installing a subpanel...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
It a 100 or 125 I believe.

It does look like a 1p30 on the far right.....with a white wire
I did not see that it does look 10# white on a SP, but look left of the 100 amp in the middle and the third breaker left of it looks like 12# on a sp 30

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