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Old 11-22-2010, 04:28 PM   #1
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


I need a little help sorting out if I have a good place to put a subpanel I'm planning for the kitchen. The plan is to put this in the adjacent utility room. I understand the placement dimensions about how much clear space there is, but I'm a little unclear as to whether any of my walls do or don't qualify as clear.

So let's start with the west wall of the utility, this is where the doorway to the kitchen is located. To the left of the doorway is the water heater in the south-west corner, to the right of the doorway is a 2' wide wall that would be convenient for the subpanel but doesn't seem to fit the dimensions, and next to that is a cabinet which is permanently built in but comes out from the wall.

The north wall has a door to the exterior, then probably enough space and then a wall mounted cabinet.

The south wall has, going from left to right, a utility sink, the washing machine, the dryer, then the water heater. There is a window in the middle of this 10' wall. Maybe I just don't want to go there even if I have free space required by code, but out of curiousity does code say the washer and dryer consitute a barrier that would mean the panel is obstructed if the panel is over them? And does code say being near the sink is a bad idea? (I don't need code to tell me that even if it doesn't)

The east wall has a window in the middle, again the utility sink in the southeast corner. Next to the window on both sides are wall cabinets - actually this is where I eventually plan to move the main panel, for which I'll remove a wall cabinet, so I wouldn't want to use this wall anyway.

I probably answered my own question, the north wall sounds best... does the panel have to be any distance away from the door openning?

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Old 11-22-2010, 08:15 PM   #2
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


It will do the most good if it is where it will make the runs to your oven, cooktop, and outlets the shortest but still provide ready access. I would get a box that was "oversized" in terms of the number of breakers so you can make changes later as more appliances are added over the years. It is not so much a matter of load as convenience in being able to cut power to an individual appliance or light circuit.

I am a big believer in having at least 3 circuits for lighting in kitchens at a bare minimum. Cabinet, cove, task, and under the cabinet lighting, and add in island lighting, and it helps to have plenty of breakers so they can have separate controls and dimmers.

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Old 11-22-2010, 09:56 PM   #3
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


This is a 9 foot long galley kitchen, I'd be hard pressed to find 3 places to put light fixtures. I'll bear in mind providing more breaker slots than needed, for now money is an object. To make room for a dishwasher, we replaced one side's base cabinets for $135.

Really the biggest convenience will be the ease of connecting this subpanel when I move the service panel right next to it. For that matter, maybe a prudent way to go would be to put in a 100A panel, run wire and a breaker on the current main for 60A (if the calculations work out for that) then run when I move the main panel and upgrade the main panel to 200A, upgrade the cable to the subpanel to the heavier gage and use a 100A breaker at that point.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:08 PM   #4
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


Do you have a basement ?
You do not need 3 lighting circuits in most kitchens
You can have separate controls to different lights on the same circuit

What you need for clearance
30" width can start at either edge or be somewhat centered
The washer & dryer would be a barrier

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Old 11-22-2010, 10:12 PM   #5
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


No basement, crawlspace only. The utility room where I plan to place this sub is adjacent to the kitchen, but it's on a slab. Routing wiring through the utility room attic space to go down through walls from above is the easiest, particularly since the second floor is gutted right now and I can access the utility room attic space through the knee wall attic above the kitchen.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:21 PM   #6
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


One of these images (first one) shows the wall nearest the kitchen - the wall with the square leaning up against it. The other wall shown is the cabinet, I am thinking no to either one.

The other image shows (second one, which is sideways) the wall I am thinking is best for the sub. Really, I don't think there's a good alternative aside from where I want to put the 200A main panel later on.

And yes, part of the plan invovles taking the wires in the first image out of service. Among many, many, many other things.
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen-100_2686.jpg   Placement of subpanel for kitchen-100_2687.jpg  

Last edited by WillK; 11-22-2010 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:39 PM   #7
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Placement of subpanel for kitchen


BTW, the panel does not have to be in the middle of the required space, it can be in a corner as long as the deadfront can be removed and the deadfront door opens a full 90 degrees. Not my personal preference, but acceptable per the NEC.

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