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Old 09-22-2009, 10:06 AM   #1
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


We are renovating our kitchen and we need to add a few more electric lines for appliances. Our current panel box is full. The electrician told us we needed to get a larger panel box to put in more lines. Can we just add a sub panel instead of all that rewiring?

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Old 09-22-2009, 10:21 AM   #2
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


With all the circuits a modern kitchen requires, I think it is a good idea to install a subpanel near the kitchen...

BUT there may be "issues" with your existing main panel. Perhaps it needs to be replaced anyway? Maybe it needs to be upgraded?

Pretty much it is a cost thing. If your existing panel needs to be replaced anyway, then probably cheaper to wire the new circuits to that panel and not install an additional subpanel.

Or if your existing main panel is in tip top shape, has the amperage capacity, up to code, etc., then might be cheaper to install a subpanel near your kitchen.

Also the design of the house and the ability to run wires is a factor. Maybe it would be easier to run wires to the main panel location? Maybe it would be easier to install a subpanel? Maybe there is no good location for a subpanel and the main panel would be your only option? (There are rules as to where an electric panel may be located.)

So a lot of things to consider...

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Old 09-22-2009, 11:09 AM   #3
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


Thank you for your help. I'm just paranoid that the electrician was trying to do more work than necessary. He did mention that we would need to go from 150 to 200, which I guess is why he also wanted to change out the panel box (?) to one bigger one. We have lots of room to run wires through the attic, so placement wouldn't be an issue. If I need to get a new box, I was thinking of getting one that is "generator ready" (I'm in FL-lots of hurricanes!). Any thoughts on those types of panels?
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Old 09-22-2009, 12:09 PM   #4
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


Don't go for the panel upgrade yet. If the panel is relatively new and in good condition it may accept tandem or slimline breakers. These are breakers that consist of 2 circuits but only occupy 1 slot. See if the panel will accept them. It's alot cheaper than a panel upgrade. Just how many circuits do you need? Thats the question you need to answer.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:04 PM   #5
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
Don't go for the panel upgrade yet. If the panel is relatively new and in good condition it may accept tandem or slimline breakers. These are breakers that consist of 2 circuits but only occupy 1 slot. See if the panel will accept them. It's alot cheaper than a panel upgrade. Just how many circuits do you need? Thats the question you need to answer.
I agree with JV. What size is you house? What appliances run on gas? What major appliances do you have? Your 150 amp service/ panel may be adequate depending on what you have and what you want to add. Generators are whole different deal. Lets solve one problem at a time.
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:09 PM   #6
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


Do a search for 'demand load calculation'. There a several online versions. Plug in all the numbers for your house and see what size panel it says you need. That is the only way know if you need to upgrade form 150 to 200 amp.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:33 AM   #7
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


So far as the generator, you can also get a separate "transfer switch".

So again we have a cost thing here. Maybe the least expensive route would be a new panel which is "generator ready" as you say and wire the new circuits to that.

(As opposed to a new main panel, a sub panel, and a separate transfer switch!)

As to generators, these typically will not power *everything* in a house. You can buy a generator which will power everything, but that will be more expensive.

What I do with my generator is to just "survive" until the power is back on. I have about 5000 watts of power on my generator. I can power my refrigerator, freezer, satellite TV, and a few lights. Not much more than that.

So might want to go generator shopping *now* and see what the prices are. See how many watts you will be willing to fork out the cash for (at a later time). Anyway come up with a total watts amount for the generator, then you and the electrician can then plan which circuits would be powered by the generator.

Following is a link to a list of home appliances and their wattage. Note that if you had too many of these on at the same time, it would quickly exceed the wattage capacity of a 5000 watt generator!
http://www.flatheadelectric.com/ener...ncewattage.htm

You can also shut off things like a refrigerator/freezer, run a 1000 watt microwave for a bit, then turn back on the refrigerator/freezer.

Also be aware that home generators can produce "dirty electricity". And electronics may not like this. A furnace with an electronic control may not work when powered by a generator. You may need a "power line conditioner". Or might want to see if you can get a generator which is "electronics friendly".

Here is what dirty electricity looks like...
http://www.jkovach.net/projects/powerquality/

Last edited by Billy_Bob; 09-23-2009 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:02 AM   #8
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


Here is a bit about generators which are electronics friendly. Also the noise thing. Some generators can be quite loud!

http://www.hayesequipment.com/honda/...generators.htm


Here are larger generators. Ask if they are electronics friendly...
(kW = 1000 watts - 100 kW = 100,000 watts)
http://www.cumminsonan.com/residenti...cts/naturalgas
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:34 PM   #9
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New Panel Box or Sub Panel??


Quote:
Can we just add a sub panel instead of all that rewiring?
Sometimes it makes more sense to replace the panel, sometimes a sub makes sense.

If you don't trust your electrician, get a real life second or third opinion. Kind of hard to speculate without even a picture

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