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Old 10-07-2010, 04:55 PM   #16
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


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Just give the building department of your town a call...

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Old 10-07-2010, 05:31 PM   #17
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


This depends on if your panel is "full" or actually full. Hopefully you can find documentation or the sticker on the inside of the door is still there. You can fill a panel up with breakers but still have plenty of room if your panel takes tandems or the 1/2" thin ones. It really just depends on the panel you have. If there is room for more breakers, you can add a netutral/ground bar to make more room for those wires. It should also say in your panel documentation how many wires of what size can go under each lug on the grounding bars. Some panels allow grounds/neutrals together under lugs, some allow 2 #14 but only 1 #12, etc.

You also need to keep in mind the amperage of your panel and how much you are using it. Just because you can fit all your circuits on a 100A panel doesn't mean you aren't overloading it.

If your panel is actually full, then like others have said you have two options: 1) add a subpanel, 2) upgrade to a larger panel. Both of these options require a good deal of work and almost certainly require a permit.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:47 PM   #18
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


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Originally Posted by joside View Post
This depends on if your panel is "full" or actually full. Hopefully you can find documentation or the sticker on the inside of the door is still there. You can fill a panel up with breakers but still have plenty of room if your panel takes tandems or the 1/2" thin ones. It really just depends on the panel you have. If there is room for more breakers, you can add a netutral/ground bar to make more room for those wires. It should also say in your panel documentation how many wires of what size can go under each lug on the grounding bars. Some panels allow grounds/neutrals together under lugs, some allow 2 #14 but only 1 #12, etc.

You also need to keep in mind the amperage of your panel and how much you are using it. Just because you can fit all your circuits on a 100A panel doesn't mean you aren't overloading it.

If your panel is actually full, then like others have said you have two options: 1) add a subpanel, 2) upgrade to a larger panel. Both of these options require a good deal of work and almost certainly require a permit.
What you said is what I want to do Mine does take tandems, there is one in there currently.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:53 AM   #19
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


pics!













I think I can get more tandem breakers, so I can swap out the double tapped breaker and make it a tandem

what about the neutral and ground bars? I need more slots, can they be extended? If so.. how? I want to get the double tapped neutral out of there too.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:38 PM   #20
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


I can't speak for this exact panel but on most newer ones, the main body of the panel is connected to ground and neutral (unless it's a subpanel where neutral is isolated). You should be able to drill holes and bolt a new bar on. Then make sure there is good contact between the two separate bars. Home Depot sells grounding bars for about $5-10.

Are those two circuits on the right side with two switches each your tandem breakers? The newer tandems that I've worked with don't look like this, they have the switches vertical from one another rather than horizontal. You'll have to see if you can find breakers that fit your panel. I think Square D bought a brand called Homeline that Home Depot has but hopefully someone else here or a guy in the store can help you find the correct breakers.

Those pictures remind me of my old panel with the cloth covered Romex and no ground wires. Be careful working around those hot wires and make sure you flip the main breaker before touching anything on the buses.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:21 PM   #21
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


yeah, I don't mess around, I shut off the main any time I come close to that box
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:22 PM   #22
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


yeah, those are tandems also btw, I think they are old, I'm not sure, the whole box is old!
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:50 PM   #23
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


It says "Max 20 branch circuit poles".....

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Old 10-13-2010, 11:05 AM   #24
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


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It says "Max 20 branch circuit poles".....

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Yeah, he's right, I can barely read that without blowing up the picture more. It still looks like you have some room though. I count 14 if I'm seeing those tandems right.

Quick question: are those hanging red and black wires below for two other circuits not connected? I'm guessing that the red wires on the panel are from circuits that share a neutral with a black wire circuit? If this is correct, make sure when you hook up those two wires below, they are on different buses. It is ok to share a neutral, but you should have the hots on opposite buses.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:24 AM   #25
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


You seem determined to NOT get a permit. However if there is a fire for undetermined causes in your place, there's a risk your insurer may refuse to pay when they figure out you did unpermitted DIY work to your panel.

I suggest you use all this good free advice on here to help you get legal for the minimum expense, and as I said before, your city does allow DIY work but only if you get a permit.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:25 AM   #26
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


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It is ok to share a neutral, but you should have the hots on opposite buses.

And a double-pole breaker or handle ties.
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Old 10-13-2010, 11:57 AM   #27
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


yeah.. I think I'm just going to hire an electrician.

I get circuits, how they work, etc, I can hook up lights, run a new circuit if there are slots available, space on the bars, etc.. pretty straight forward, but trying to free up space and figure out what I need to do is crazy.. I'm nervous I might miss something.
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Old 10-13-2010, 12:22 PM   #28
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


It's not that hard, if you pick up one of the Advanced Wiring books at the big box store, and then follow their first chapters carefully.

Learn the symbols for mapping out what you have, then draw a quick floor plan of your house. and mark all the symbols room by room, for everything. Now make copies or scan it before you mark it up more.

Then go thru your breakers and mark your map with which breaker runs what. Don't forget about split outlets (check both plugs in duplex box since they might be different circuits).

When you are done, print another copy and color code it for each breaker.

Voila. you have a color coded inventory to show your codes people. They'll appreciate your effort and might very well help you make a plan for which circuigts you can combine. Then you go away and figure out how you will do the wiring, make pictures and go back to pull your permit.

That's exactly what I've done once before and am in process of doing now in a new place.

Best

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Old 10-13-2010, 12:48 PM   #29
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


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And a double-pole breaker or handle ties.
Correct! Thank you for reminding me about the handle ties. This was a change added to the 2008 NEC. My city still uses the 2005 so they don't require this but check with your city. Even if it's not required it's still a good idea. If you work on one branch of a multi-branch circuit you need to make sure the other branch sharing the neutral is also switched off.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:10 PM   #30
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Panel full, was wondering what options were


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Originally Posted by steveel View Post
It's not that hard, if you pick up one of the Advanced Wiring books at the big box store, and then follow their first chapters carefully.

Learn the symbols for mapping out what you have, then draw a quick floor plan of your house. and mark all the symbols room by room, for everything. Now make copies or scan it before you mark it up more.

Then go thru your breakers and mark your map with which breaker runs what. Don't forget about split outlets (check both plugs in duplex box since they might be different circuits).

When you are done, print another copy and color code it for each breaker.

Voila. you have a color coded inventory to show your codes people. They'll appreciate your effort and might very well help you make a plan for which circuigts you can combine. Then you go away and figure out how you will do the wiring, make pictures and go back to pull your permit.

That's exactly what I've done once before and am in process of doing now in a new place.

Best

Steve El
I have one of those books. What is a duplex box? I'm nervous about the current wiring and the permit, it looks like the previous owner ran everything over the rafters, and what headaches this could open up also

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