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Old 08-28-2011, 04:54 PM   #1
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


I have been working on planning out my panel for my basement finish. I think I can barely fit - is that a bad thing? If I can fit I can fit, right?

-I have a T&B 150A panel Type 1 Model TBL15(20-30)C

-My house has 100 Amp service

-I did a load estimate on my house with what I expect in the remodel, and it came up around 90A (but that's NOT including electric dryer and range which I don't use), so I am going to leave it at 100A service for now. (An upgrade would be almost as hard now as later anyway since even now I would have to pull a new feeder cable through 95% finished space.)

I have attached:
1) A copy of the diagram from my panel
2) A picture of my planning spreadsheet, which I hope is self explanatory. Orange stuff shows changes from the current breaker layout.

a) By doing a basement remodel, they won't make me change existing circuits, right? If I have to go to AFCI for existing bedrooms, I don't think I can fit - since I can't find any "duplex" breakers that support AFCI.

b) When I bought the house, I put in a gas dryer and range, and don't use the 240V hookups for the range or dryer. Do I have to leave them in the panel? I would like to in case I sell, and I would imagine its just good practice (and probably code) to have a panel big enough for ALL installed circuits, whether in use or not?

c) I plan to put the two new bedrooms on AFCI, but put everything else on standard. For the new bathroom, the outlet will be GFCI, so I don't need a GFCI breaker, right? The breaker for our upstairs bath is "normal", so I was hoping to do the same thing.

d) Is there a way to just GFCI and AFCI protect the whole house with a fancy breaker in the outdoor panel? That would just make things a whole lot easier.

Sorry, lots of questions. I may be an electrical engineer, but I am no electrician. When it comes to this stuff I am very newbie.
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?-breaker_diagram.jpg   My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?-panel_plan.jpg  


Last edited by danielrg; 08-28-2011 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:25 PM   #2
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


In your spreadsheet I see breaker values but I don't see load calculations.
Have you done a load calculation or am I just not seeing it. The spreadsheet is kind of small....

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Old 08-28-2011, 05:40 PM   #3
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


My load calculation was another spreadsheet listing almost everything in the house and gave it a percentage based on estimated use. I thought it was too big to attach or make much sense of - I also corroborated it with some online estimators - I came up with 90 A. This includes the baseboard heaters I am putting downstairs (220V/22A) but does NOT include an electric range or dryer (I use gas) - even though I have circuits for them.

This would mean if I sold my house and the new occupants wanted to use electric range/dryer and keep the baseboard heaters, they may be in trouble with the current 100A service...

Last edited by danielrg; 08-28-2011 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:38 PM   #4
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


Try this load calculation.

www.bestinspectors.net/members/RES%20Service.xls
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:57 PM   #5
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


How many square feet is the house?
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Old 08-28-2011, 08:41 PM   #6
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


You need to install a 200 amp panel.
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #7
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


[a7ecorsair]: The house is currently 1400 sq ft, will be 2500 sq ft when the basement is finished.

[Jim Port]: I tried the load calculation spreadsheet you sent. I put in the electric dryer, electric range, and the baseboard heaters, 4 appliance circuits, some extra 10A appliances just for fun, 2500 sq ft for lighting, etc. It came up with 142 AMPS. My air conditioning unit has its own 40A breaker outside the house and isn't included in the calculation. So looks like 200A service, and 150A in the house from that. If I take the electric range and dryer off, it is 92 AMPs (range and dryer were 50A together)
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Old 08-28-2011, 10:35 PM   #8
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


If you have an electric range, dryer and baseboard heat, you absolutely need a 200 amp service. (at least)
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:17 AM   #9
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


Just install the 200. Do not cut yourself that close. Also you may find the 200 amp panel is cheaper than the 150 and typically you get another 10 breaker spaces too.
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Old 08-29-2011, 08:53 AM   #10
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
You need to install a 200 amp panel.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Missouri Bound View Post
If you have an electric range, dryer and baseboard heat, you absolutely need a 200 amp service. (at least)
OP has a gas range and dryer. Load calculations are based on Article 220 of the NEC, not opinion.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:11 AM   #11
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


Quote:
Originally Posted by danielrg View Post
I have been working on planning out my panel for my basement finish. I think I can barely fit - is that a bad thing? If I can fit I can fit, right?

-I have a T&B 150A panel Type 1 Model TBL15(20-30)C

-My house has 100 Amp service

-I did a load estimate on my house with what I expect in the remodel, and it came up around 90A (but that's NOT including electric dryer and range which I don't use), so I am going to leave it at 100A service for now. (An upgrade would be almost as hard now as later anyway since even now I would have to pull a new feeder cable through 95% finished space.)
Load calculations are based on Article 220 of the NEC/NFPA 70.

If you do not have a copy, you can read it online for free.

Go here:
http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/li..._standards.asp

I recommend you see the examples in Annex D. They are very informative.

Quote:
a) By doing a basement remodel, they won't make me change existing circuits, right? If I have to go to AFCI for existing bedrooms, I don't think I can fit - since I can't find any "duplex" breakers that support AFCI.
Unless you have a local amendment. AFCI not required for existing circuits that you do not extend or modify.

Quote:
b) When I bought the house, I put in a gas dryer and range, and don't use the 240V hookups for the range or dryer. Do I have to leave them in the panel? I would like to in case I sell, and I would imagine its just good practice (and probably code) to have a panel big enough for ALL installed circuits, whether in use or not?
You may remove the breakers and cap the wires.

Quote:
c) I plan to put the two new bedrooms on AFCI, but put everything else on standard. For the new bathroom, the outlet will be GFCI, so I don't need a GFCI breaker, right? The breaker for our upstairs bath is "normal", so I was hoping to do the same thing.
GFCI receptacles will be fine. GFCI breaker not needed for bathrooms.

AFCI protection will vary depending on what code cycle you are on and any local amendments.

Quote:
d) Is there a way to just GFCI and AFCI protect the whole house with a fancy breaker in the outdoor panel? That would just make things a whole lot easier.
Horrible idea and totally unfeasible.

Quote:
Sorry, lots of questions. I may be an electrical engineer, but I am no electrician. When it comes to this stuff I am very newbie.
Time to start learning.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:48 PM   #12
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


A number of you are throwing out a need for 200A service. Is that just because it is cool to have lots of amps in your house? I mean, ~$2000 is a lot of money to upgrade!

I know I don't want to be popping the breaker or anything, but as somewhat of a conservationist, and my desire to keep my electric bill under control, I also don't want to be pulling gobs of power.

The way I figure this from my load calculations is that I am okay with my 100A service provided I never use the electric dryer and range, even with my baseboard heaters, which are 5000W, and will only service the basement.

But I don't really want to be penny wise/pound foolish either. If I ever want some heavy duty electric appliance, such as an electric oven/gas range, or put an electric dryer in the basement for convenience, or want to power a hot tub, or want to have an air conditioned shed/workshop in the backyard fed off the garage, or have more power in the garage, etc, etc. it will be harder to do once the basement is all finished up. And I just feel this strange obligation to future owners of my house not to make bringing in their electric dryer or range something that will cause them real pain.

So despite all the stuff I said above, I am strongly considering going the "cool" route. I talked to a local electrician, and he's putting an estimates together for 150A or 200A service. He said that 200A is likely only 2-3 hundred dollars more. If I'm already shelling out $1900 or $2000, what's $2200 or $2300? I think I could totally be fine with 150A service, but with a fairly minor price difference, I suppose it doesn't hurt anything. It's not like having it forces me to use it. Once I'm taking the plunge...

Additionally, I am going to stub 3 20A circuits to the garage - two of which I could run to a shed in the future (one for tools, one for AC and heat). A subpanel would be overkill I think for me as I'm not a woodworking fiend or anything.

I'll also put in a 240V run to a possible washer/dryer area in the basement that I won't use now but may use later.

Last edited by danielrg; 08-30-2011 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:04 PM   #13
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05 View Post
Load calculations are based on Article 220 of the NEC/NFPA 70.

If you do not have a copy, you can read it online for free.

Go here:
http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/li..._standards.asp

I recommend you see the examples in Annex D. They are very informative.
I read these - very interesting. They helped me understand I don't necessarily need to go overkill. I mean my dad's 4500 sq ft house with two kitchens each with electric ovens, etc. has 200A service- and mine is 2400 sq ft, mostly gas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05 View Post
Unless you have a local amendment. AFCI not required for existing circuits that you do not extend or modify. .
This begs a question - the electrician I talked to wants to keep my 100A panel and add another 50A or 100A panel next to it (depending on upgrade to 150A or 200A) - he says its cheaper, but then he quotes the same price. If he does that, should I ask for a discount? Would it be better to just replace my existing panel and put everything in it? Does it really matter or is it personal preference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Code05
Quote:
Originally Posted by danielrg
d) Is there a way to just GFCI and AFCI protect the whole house with a fancy breaker in the outdoor panel? That would just make things a whole lot easier.
Horrible idea and totally unfeasible.
This made me laugh. When I thought about it more, I realized it would be next to impossible to find the offending circuit, plus a breaker that large (100A, 200A) could probably never have the sensitivity built in that it would need. Plus turning the whole house dark because of any little problem would be nuts. It was indeed a dumb comment on my part.

Another kind of weird question for all of you... - My current service cable was pulled from the meter up into the attic then down the middle of the house to a panel in the basement. Was there a reason for this? Why didn't they just pull the cable through the joists on the main floor?

The electrician I talked to yesterday said that he doesn't see why they did that - that they wasted cable and effort going through the attic, and if he adds new service he'll just straight shot it through the floor joists in the main floor, and just cut and leave the old cable (unless he does the 100A/100A thing) - I thought they might have had a reason for going through the attic and dropping down - and wanted to make sure he isn't just being lazy?

One more question - Lastly he said he had to hammer drill through the foundation and that was a big part of the cost of the service upgrade. What the heck? I said I'd be happy to drill a hole for him if that would save me $500. He just changed the subject.

Was he right? Because that doesn't make sense to me. I don't see why he can't go through the house's rim joist and just leave the foundation alone. The current service goes through the wood - why drill a hole in the foundation as he'd have to then go up a basement wall to get back to the joists? This confused me and made me wonder if he was being totally honest... Where do the high costs of a service upgrade really come from anyway? He kept talking about all metal something or other too which I didn't quite understand.

Thanks! All of you have really helped me learn a little more and hopefully make better choices here.

Last edited by danielrg; 08-30-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:47 PM   #14
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


Crap do I have a lot to learn. I just read this thread:

(2) 20A circuits, GFCI

and it looks like running two 20A circuits to the garage to later extend to the shed is a definite no-no. What do you all recommend? Should I just stub a double pole 240V 20A feeder to the garage to later run to the shed, or am I just way off here?

Do I have too much stuff in this thread?
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:00 PM   #15
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My plan for bsmnt has panel packed - should I upgrade?


After the fact always nice to hear what the OP did.

I installed another 100 AMP panel. Best thing I ever did. I don't see how I could have fit everything in the one panel.

Plus I had room to put certain things like baseboard heaters and radiant floor on separate dedicated circuits.

Because of the space, I was also able to run a subpanel to my utility room, garage, and a feed to my future shed location.

So in my opinion, the upgrade was well worth it.

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