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Old 03-05-2010, 11:43 PM   #1
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


Woohoo, First time post. Anyways here is the deal, I've got an AC unit in a bedroom of mine rated at 10amps, I also have a computer that pulls anywhere between 3-10amps (seriously) and some other odds and ends devices that probably add up to another 10amps. What would be the best method of powering all these devices, I'm tired of sharing breakers with other people in the house.

Just looking at other peoples methods would a small sub panel be the best choice? The main breaker box is probably about 50 feet away. It'd be an easy run just up into the attic and through a wall into a closet. What gauge of wire would be best suited to running to the sub panel?

Opinions/Suggestions very welcome Thanks in advance!

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Old 03-06-2010, 08:25 AM   #2
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


Where are you located ?
What size is the Main panel ?

I would not run a sub, I'd run a dedicated 20a circuit for the AC
A 2nd 20a run for the PC...what kind of PC do you have that pulls 10a ??
Have you tested the actual power used, not just the power supply rating

What else do youhave that pulls a lot of power ?
You should have approx enough with 2 runs
You would have 10a free on the AC run that could be used for other devices

These will need to be AFCI breakers since it is a bedroom

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Old 03-06-2010, 09:27 AM   #3
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


To be code compliant, electrical panels are not allowed in clothes closets.
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Old 03-06-2010, 10:31 AM   #4
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


Agreed - just run two new 20a circuits to the room.
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:18 PM   #5
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


If you don't have enough slots in your panel for new circuits, you can install half width (one slot) double breakers here and there. For a 240 volt air conditioner you need a double wide breaker pair so you would have to move other circuits onto the half width breakers to free up two adjacent slots for the AC breaker.

Theoretically, and also before you install a subpanel, you should do a load calculation to be sure that you don't technically need a higher capacity main panel such as a 200 amp panel replacing a 100 amp panel. The load calculation assigns something like 3 watts for each square foot of living area plus so many watts for a clothes dryer, so many watts for an electric stove, etc.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:15 AM   #6
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


I live in Washington state, Lol the computer is custom I've checked it with a couple different meters when I'm stress testing it, it'll draw 700-800 watts of juice, not including two 24inch monitors. To make matters worse the house is sort of old so it seems like they went cheap on wiring it, might of just been the trend of the day since they didn't figure you'd have much more than a lamp and a alarm clock in your room, I also have a LCD TV and a second computer in the room but I've never had much more of a problem with them since they share the circuit with the living room, and for the panel its a Square D i think and its almost full its got two slots left, most of the panel is full of the old baseboard heating circuits which are never used anymore.

and for anyones thats curious this is a computer that can pull around 10 amps

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Old 03-07-2010, 07:38 AM   #7
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Need more power, Sub panel best choice?


All of those unused baseboard heat circuits should be available for new circuits.

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