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Old 10-06-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


I have a 100amp breaker box. Its completely full. While it is up to date wiring wise its not enough juice for my needs.

All I need is another 40 amps , more would be nice but if I could just get 2 20amp breakers to plug some equipment that uses 11.5amps each I would be good.


With a 100amp breaker box can I have someone install a sub panel off that?

or what is the cheapest solution for me to add 40 amps to a full 100amp box.

Thanks


Oh also is there a cheap tool to be able to tell how many amps your using on a paticular breaker?

If I could read what I am pulling from them maybe I could just split some line in other areas of the home that have unused amperage.

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Old 10-06-2011, 05:35 PM   #2
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


You could put a small sub panel right next to your main. A clamp on ammeter will tell you the loads on each circuit, or all circuits. They are available for as little as $10...up to a few hundred. I'm sure someone you know has one that would be glad to help you with this.

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Old 10-06-2011, 05:38 PM   #3
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


So the subpanel gets its juice from the "main line" coming in the home and is completely seperate frommain panel and does not draw off it correct? Any estimate on the cost of a subpanel + installation? So if I call around I know im not getting cheated. It just needs to be right next to the main same room and everything

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Old 10-06-2011, 06:01 PM   #4
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


To feed the subpanel a two pole breaker would be installed in your service panel. Two circuits will need to move into the subpanel to make space for the new breaker. All the power will come into the main panel.

I believe you might be confusing a full panel with the amount of load actually on the panel.

If you are concerned about how much service you have you can perform a demand load calculation.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:10 PM   #5
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


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Originally Posted by mrserv0n View Post
So the subpanel gets its juice from the "main line" coming in the home and is completely seperate frommain panel and does not draw off it correct? Any estimate on the cost of a subpanel + installation? So if I call around I know im not getting cheated. It just needs to be right next to the main same room and everything
The sub-panel is connected AFTER the 100A breaker, meaning you are still limited to 100 amps.

If all your spaces are full, then you'll need to move two current circuits over to the new sub-panel in order to make room for the breaker that will feed the subpanel. For example, you might pull two 15A breakers and add a 60A, that 60A will feed your subpanel.

The thing to keep in mind that is just because you hae a 20A breaker does not mean you use 20A, just that you have the potential to use up to 20A before it trips. If you add the total of all your breakers it will probably be well above 100A, but since all your circuits do not run at capacity (meaning you don't draw 15/20A from all circuits all the time) you don't trip the main.

So it some what will depend on what you're adding. For example, if you have central air, electric dryer, electric range and now are thinking of adding a hot tub heater or something, you might want to figure out whether you will be hitting the 100A mark and potentially tripping that main, if so, you need to upgrade the service.

Depending on the panel you have now you might find it to be cost effective to simply replace the existing panel with one that has more spaces (but is still limited to 100A).
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:55 PM   #6
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


How but putting a couple of twins in?
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:43 PM   #7
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


Not all panels are listed to accept tandems. You would need to check the panel model number or the panel label.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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Depending on the panel you have now you might find it to be cost effective to simply replace the existing panel with one that has more spaces (but is still limited to 100A).


Thanks for such an informative post. Yea so I will never reach 100a doing what I want. So it sounds like just a larger panel and stay at 100amps could work.

I counted mine and not counting the main it has 20 slots all used. So what would be the next step up I literally only NEED like 2 new 20 amp outlets to plug into.

And how much for someone to install on avg if people I know don't know how.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:53 PM   #9
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There are many threads on this board about adding subpanels. You can read through and ask any questions that remain.

The biggest issue is you will need a 4 wire feeder to the new panel and the grounds will need to be isolated from the grounds.

Material wise you are looking at about $100, if that.

While not the neatest panel I have ever seen here is a current link to someone elses subpanel install. You only need to reference the panel picture.

http://www.diychatroom.com/newreply....reply&p=743409
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Last edited by Jim Port; 10-06-2011 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:43 PM   #10
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Breaker box is full whats the best choice?


Alright, well thanks for the help . I have all the info I need to make a sensible decision.

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