How much can I do/change before needing to bring everything up to code.
Based upon a thread I had posted a few days ago, I'm trying to decide between a subpanel or service upgrade for my house. In order to make sure that I've got all of the pertinent info, I'm wondering how far I can go with a subpanel stopgap before I have to end up bringing everything else in the house up to code? I plan to eventually get the whole house updated, but was hoping to do so in more of a phased approach as time and money allow.
I know it may vary by state and inspector, but looking for some general advice. In general, can I install a sub-panel and move circuits to it without needing to refit the entire house?
For that matter, will I even be approved for a subpanel install if the existing main panel is not up to code? I'm assuming it's not as It's stuck in a corner, so doesn't have 30" of clearance on all sides (unless clearance can turn the corner), doesn't have conduit for the service entrance, and is in a room with a dropped ceiling that's less than 7'8". (I'm unsure whether dropped celings count for the ceiling height requirement, or it's measured to the joist?)
You only need 30" wide clearance. The panel can be anywhere within that 30". You don't need 30" on each side. The wall doesn't need to be 30" wide either as long it is open on at least one side so you are not boxed in.
Generally you can replace an entire panel without bringing any of the branch circuits in the house to code.
Generally a panel installation does not include a wiring upgrade for the rest of the house. However, if you are moving, re-routing or doing anything with the existing branch circuits your AHJ may want you to at least upgrade those circuits you worked on.
If your main service panel is not in good shape or non compliant. This is where I would start. You can install a sub anytime.