Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-08-2013, 07:31 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 0
Share |
Default

Load Center Replacement


Hi, I'm in the process of replacing the original load center (35-40 yrs old) in the garage and I'm looking to get some advise on a suitable replacement. Here's the current set up:

At the outside service entrance I have a 100amp breaker adjacent to the residential service meter. This service breaker connects to a 125amp/24 pole main breaker panel in the garage.

The question: Is it better to stick with the 125amp / 24pole or would a 100amp / 32pole load center be equally suitable? I'm thinking that with a 100amp breaker at the service entrance I'm limited to 100amps anyway - correct? (And the extra space in panel would be nice....)

dfelb8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 07:51 PM   #2
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,794
Rewards Points: 20
Default

Load Center Replacement


With the 100 amp breaker outside, you could put in a 200 amp panel if you wanted to.
The panel would be protected by the 100 amp breaker.
Is space the only concern, or just the age of the panel?

__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 08:20 PM   #3
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Load Center Replacement


The original load center is a FPE stab-lok which I now understand to be a fire hazard. That is reason number one for replacement. Reason 2 is breaker selection and reason 3 is expansion. It seems the common practice is to add a subpanel if you run out of breaker space and the tandem style cannot provide the remedy. I'm thinking if I had 32 circuits instead of 24 I could avoid the subpanel scenario.

Also, you bring up a good point of clarification. Its seems that exceeding the amp rating is common practice. Example - Home Depot sells a 100amp/32 pole load center with 5 20amp single breakers included. If 100amp was the true ceiling of the panel then what would I use the other 27 circuits for? (Presumably this means not more than 100amps total are in use at any one time).

I wouldn't mind putting in a 200amp replacement but that is dependent on the conductor size coming from the service entrance - correct? What gauge would I need to allow for the 200amp load center?
dfelb8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-08-2013, 11:57 PM   #4
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Central Indiana (USA)
Posts: 1,318
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Load Center Replacement


Quote:
At the outside service entrance I have a 100amp breaker adjacent to the residential service meter. This service breaker connects to a 125amp/24-space main breaker panel in the garage.
The breaker near the meter: is it in a 100amp disconnect box (has only one breaker in it), or are there spaces for other breaker too? Doesn't really matter, I was just curious, for my own edification

Anyhow, a 200 amp panel in the garage (I assume it's an attached garage?) would require 4/0 AL, or 2/0 CU.

Quote:
Its seems that exceeding the amp rating is common practice. Example - Home Depot sells a 100amp/32 space load center with 5 20amp single breakers included. If 100amp was the true ceiling of the panel then what would I use the other 27 circuits for? (Presumably this means not more than 100amps total are in use at any one time).
Forget that! The sum of the individual breakers do not indicate the ampacity of the panel. Not every circuit will be in use at the same time, you won't be running both the AC and the Heat, and not every circuit will be loaded at its capacity.
sirsparksalot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2013, 02:20 AM   #5
Electrician
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Oviedo, FL near Orlando
Posts: 227
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Load Center Replacement


Quote:
Originally Posted by dfelb8 View Post
I wouldn't mind putting in a 200amp replacement but that is dependent on the conductor size coming from the service entrance - correct?
No. You can feed a 200A panel with 30A breaker and wire. If the load calculation says ok it's perfectly legal, but silly.

In your case there just wont be 200A available until you upgrade the service and feed. Until then the 100A breaker near the meter will limit what the panel can draw.

A residential load calculation will tell you if the house has outgrown the 100A service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dfelb8 View Post
What gauge would I need to allow for the 200amp load center?
Every load center has a label inside the front cover. A range of wire sizes will be listed for the lugs and/or the main breaker. Do not put a wire in a terminal if it does not fall in its listed range. To fix an out of range wire you can either splice a short piece of wire that is a correct size or backfeed a smaller breaker. Smaller breakers also have wire ranges written on them. And backfed breakers need a special retainer.

It is a good idea to have enough full spaces for every circuit, and extra for future expansion. It is a bad design to have a new panel with any tandems or quads.

Last edited by Glennsparky; 04-09-2013 at 02:33 AM.
Glennsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2013, 12:44 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 17
Rewards Points: 0
Default

Load Center Replacement


Great feedback all - thanks! I confirmed that the wire coming in at the service entrance and the wire from the service panel to main breaker panel are both 2 gauge aluminum. Based on this I think I will go ahead with a 200amp main breaker panel/load center in preparation for a Service change to 200amp shortly down the road. In the meantime the main breaker panel in the garage will not get more than 100amps and I'll use that as the guide/threshold for power consumption.
Please advise if any major concerns with this plan of action....

dfelb8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Main load center grounding question. sgip2000 Electrical 18 10-03-2012 11:45 AM
Boxing In My Load Center? ddawg16 Building & Construction 5 08-22-2012 10:21 PM
portable generator to load center old blue Electrical 1 07-06-2012 12:41 PM
Installing new load center - do I have to buy AFCI breakers jerseyguy1996 Electrical 6 11-01-2010 09:29 PM
Load Center Replacement Question EmilG Electrical 10 09-29-2010 12:11 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.