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Old 04-22-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
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I talked with a electrician on the phone this morning and he said to run a dedicated 20 amp circuit for my OTR Microwave he quoted me between $300-400. I can have all holes cut and drywall removed before installation. I told him I could even have the wires fished for him too and then he would just have to add a receptacle and possibly replace a breaker with a tandem. Does this estimate seem high considering I am doing most of labor myself?


Last edited by cibula11; 04-22-2008 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 04-22-2008, 10:48 AM   #2
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Doing work for a contrator does not save you any money. Actually they do not want you to touch anything. Contractors and good electricians have their own way of doing things and your help is not wanted or encouraged. If you can do all this work yourself, why not do the whole job. Installing a circuit for a microwave is not difficult. In fact you can get all the answers you need to DIY right here.
Get 2 more quotes before you decide what to do. And do not offer to drill holes or anything else.

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Old 04-22-2008, 10:53 AM   #3
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Not really all that high. He has to make enough money to justify the trip (and taking your job over another one), so you're probably going to pay a minimum trip charge no matter how little work he actually has to do.

He has business expenses as an electrician. Materials, insurance, licenses, permits, labor, etc...... There has to be an incentive for him to do your job, and if he's only making a couple connections the time involved would be less that $15. Most electricians I know wouldn't even look at a job for less than $300.
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:20 AM   #4
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I have had work done with the same company and they only charge 60-70 per hour depending on who does the work. I figure if access is easy they shouldn't be there more than an hour. $70 plus materials, right? I just can't imagine $250 for materials for 30 ft of romex, tandem breaker and a receptacle. I was thinking more like 150-200.

I guess the only reason I am worried about doing it myself is that I don't have room on my panel for another circuit, so it would involve disconnecting breakers, adding tandems, and running cable. I've never done any of this before and I would hate to screw something up. Believe me, I would LOVE to save myself $300. I just want to be able to sleep at night.
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cibula11 View Post
I talked with a electrician on the phone this morning and he said to run a dedicated 20 amp circuit for my OTR Microwave he quoted me between $300-400. I can have all holes cut and drywall removed before installation. I told him I could even have the wires fished for him too and then he would just have to add a receptacle and possibly replace a breaker with a tandem. Does this estimate seem high considering I am doing most of labor myself?
Sounds about right for what an electrician needs to make to travel out to a job. As stated, with overhead, insurance, etc, you aren't going to find a licensed electrician to do the job for cheap, unless you are related or good friends.... IMHO: The only way such a job would be less, would be if the electrician was already there doing other work....
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:43 AM   #6
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I guess the only reason I am worried about doing it myself is that I don't have room on my panel for another circuit, so it would involve disconnecting breakers, adding tandems, and running cable. I've never done any of this before and I would hate to screw something up.
I agree with JV. The electrician would rather that you didn't do anything. If he quoted it based on that, he may be concerned that he'd find something that was done incorrectly and then be faced with re-work that could kill his margin. Rememeber, he is responsible for the safety of the final product.

In further agreement with JV, if you went to all that trouble, you are very close to being done. Removing the existing breaker is really quite easy and installing a replacement is straightforward as well. If you are really leery about working in the panel, you could always turn it off via the main breaker or disconnect. If done via main breaker, the only parts that remain hot are the lugs at top (or bottom). Once the panel was dead, the amount of time that it should take to complete the work inside should be minimal.

This forum is frequented by many very competent electricians who would be more than happy to walk you through, no matter how many questions you have. JV is but one of these fine resources.

Good luck,
Jimmy
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Old 04-22-2008, 11:50 AM   #7
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Okay then, I have a boost of confidence and a group of people (YOU ALL) to blame if something goes wrong

What size wire?
Anyone want to walk me through the switch from a single pole breaker to replacing it with a 20A tandem?
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:45 PM   #8
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Okay then, I have a boost of confidence and a group of people (YOU ALL) to blame if something goes wrong

What size wire?
2/c (i.e. 2-conductor) 12 awg. copper NM-b for the 20A circuit. I'm assuming that you're using non metallic sheathed cable, i.e. Romex, correct?


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Anyone want to walk me through the switch from a single pole breaker to replacing it with a 20A tandem?
Start by turning off the branch circuit breaker (killing the entire panel is up to you at this point. It is not necessary but as I mentioned, you may feel more comfortable). Many residential breakers are plug-in type. They typically have a catch on one side (usu. the side where the wire is connected). You engage the catch on a steel tab and rock it down until it meets the underlying bus. Apply pressure and the breaker will completely seat as it engages the bus. To remove, simply rock it back in the opposite direction (i.e. upward toward you as you look at it).

Once removed, take your screwdriver, loosen the terminal on the old breaker and remove the existing wire. Insert this into your new tandem and tighten the terminal down. Assuming that your new cable is already in the panel and you've connected the white neutral wire to the neutral bus and the bare green wire to the ground bus, insert the new hot wire (probably black) into the other terminal on the tandem and tighten down. Now you can install the tandem as described above and re-energize the existing circuit.

I often install the breaker first and then connect the wire to the breaker once installed however I've done this many times and am quite comfortable working in a panel. I recommend that you terminate the wires on the breaker while it is outside of the panel for ease and safety.

Good luck,
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Old 04-22-2008, 12:55 PM   #9
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I will be using romex. Okay, so 12-2.
What about connecting to the neutral bar. I don't have room left. In fact there are couple of wires that are doubled up. Is this an issue? What can I do?

Also, should the 20 A that I replace with the tandem be one of the current 20A that supplies the kitchen, or can it be any 20A on the panel?

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Old 04-22-2008, 01:20 PM   #10
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I will be using romex. Okay, so 12-2.
What about connecting to the neutral bar. I don't have room left. In fact there are couple of wires that are doubled up. Is this an issue?
Unfortunately, yes, there is. According to the NEC,


408.41 Grounded Conductor Terminations.
Each grounded conductor shall terminate within the panelboard in an individual terminal that is not also used for another conductor.
A neutral is considered a "grounded conductor."

The problem with putting multiple neutrals under a single terminal is that if you loosen the screw to remove one, you run the risk of inadvertently removing the other. If the neutral in question is part of a multi-wire branch circuit, the effect can be devastating. Even if it is not, if you accidentally removed the neutral on a circuit that is hot, that wire is now at line voltage and is capable of giving you a rather nice shock.

I've never had this problem so I'm not too sure of what the solution is. Don't worry though. Someone else will chime in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cibula11 View Post

Also, should the 20 A that I replace with the tandem be one of the current 20A that supplies the kitchen, or can it be any 20A on the panel?

Electrically, it does not matter. On the other hand, you may want to group the two kitchen circuits together due to the location that they both serve.


Good luck!


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Old 04-22-2008, 02:13 PM   #11
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I know that the last time I had the pros in, this was apparently not an issue since there are at least 2 neutrals connected at one location. Anyone with any DIY solutions, or is a really a huge deal if more than 1 neutral is connected with another?
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Old 04-22-2008, 02:49 PM   #12
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I know that the last time I had the pros in, this was apparently not an issue since there are at least 2 neutrals connected at one location. Anyone with any DIY solutions, or is a really a huge deal if more than 1 neutral is connected with another?
Do you have a make/model number for the panel? You can often find this on the panel somewhere or inside the door on the directory. Also if possible, open the panel and note if there are separate ground and neutral busses. Also note the number of neutral busses.

In my previous post, I mentioned the pitfalls associated with doubling up the neutrals and they are not trivial. That being said, could you do it? Well, electrically it would be fine but it would be an accident waiting to happen.

Take care,
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Last edited by BigJimmy; 04-22-2008 at 02:53 PM. Reason: Added request for bus detail in ext'g panel
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:01 PM   #13
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So now what?

Do I need an electrician? Or is there another option?

Last edited by cibula11; 04-22-2008 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 04-22-2008, 04:10 PM   #14
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After having read through this post I have to ask a question on an install I just did.
I just installed a new service panel and a generator transfer panel.
The generator panel came pre-assembled with 9 breakers installed in it.
The brochure states it can hold up to 16 circuits.
The panel itself has a ground bar and a separate neutral bar.
Problem I have is that the ground bar has 5 holes in and the neutral has 6 holes in it.
Why would they do this if you are not supposed (or aren't allowed) to double up any of them?
What to do about a situation like this?

The panel is a Powerstay Cat. No. 501210
http://www.gen-tran.com/assets/pdfs/...chureFINAL.pdf

http://www.gen-tran.com/assets/pdfs/MTSinstall.pdf
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:51 PM   #15
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Okay so I came home and looked at my panel. I noticed that I had 3 neutrals that were doubled up. 2 of them were done by the last guys I had come in. (the were liscensed). Would this mean that my panel can double certain neutrals? If not, what are my other options besides spending 400 to have a pro do the same thing?

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