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Old 06-17-2013, 07:57 AM   #1
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Question about code compliance


Hello All,

My house is an 800 SF ranch built in the early 1970s. The service is 100 amp, and the panel is full. The panel does not accept tandem breakers. I want to add a sub-panel. Reason for the sub-panel: to provide a circuit for an electric hot water tank. Existing hot water is oil fired, and is working fine. But I want to have the option to switch to electric hot water in the future.

My question is: if I add a sub-panel, would I be required to bring the existing main panel up to the current code standards?

I live in Massachusetts in case this doesn't show in my profile.

Thanks

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Old 06-17-2013, 08:11 AM   #2
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Question about code compliance


To the best of my knowledge and experience, I believe that would be a local call by your BO and AHJ.

Seems to me that you are getting in your main, and they could require such. NOT SURE IF CODE EXPRESSLEY DEFINES THIS ISSUE THOUGH.

Practically speaking, it may be a subjective call on how "non-compliant" your main is.

I don't know that if you call the bldg department, whether they will / can answer your question... without seeing it.

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Old 06-17-2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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Question about code compliance


What about your current panel would not be up to code? You have not described anything that not up to code, unless you are thinking they will want all the circuits AFCI protected as required by new codes.
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:50 AM   #4
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Question about code compliance


Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrichfolkers View Post
My house is an 800 SF ranch built in the early 1970s.
The service is 100 amp, and the panel is full.
I want to add a sub-panel.
Adding the sub panel shouldn't be an issue...
but take some time to calculate your amp load too.

Unless you have a lot of demand your only issue is breaker space.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:26 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by joed View Post
What about your current panel would not be up to code? You have not described anything that not up to code, unless you are thinking they will want all the circuits AFCI protected as required by new codes.
Here's some of what I believe may be at issue if I would have to bring the main panel up to code:

The service only has a single grounding rod
The kitchen counter outlets are not GFI'd
The kitchen counter outlets are on a 15 amp circuit
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
Adding the sub panel shouldn't be an issue...
but take some time to calculate your amp load too.

Unless you have a lot of demand your only issue is breaker space.
A load calc clocks in at 106A demand load when I add in an electric hot water tank

Last edited by ulrichfolkers; 06-17-2013 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Mis-spoke
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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Question about code compliance


Quote:
Originally Posted by ulrichfolkers View Post
Here's some of what I believe may be at issue if I would have to bring the main panel up to code:

The service only has a single grounding rod
The kitchen counter outlets are not GFI'd
The kitchen counter outlets are on a 15 amp circuit
Just my guess.... but the first two are nothing to correct (well maybe $50)... and I would doubt highly any AHJ would require rewire to 20A kitchen service.
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:37 AM   #8
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Question about code compliance


An 800 square foot house should be WELL below 100 Amps. I'd be curious how you got to 106 Amps
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Old 06-17-2013, 09:46 AM   #9
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An 800 square foot house should be WELL below 100 Amps. I'd be curious how you got to 106 Amps
Maybe I gaffed up, but I used one of those Online Calculators. Here's how the number breakdown:

General Lighting 4365VA
Appliances 8130VA
Dryer 5000VA
Range 8000VA
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:51 AM   #10
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Question about code compliance


I came up with 63 amps by your numbers and ~59 by adjusting general lighting and receptacle load.

Curious to know what someone else's number is?
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wirenut1110 View Post
I came up with 63 amps by your numbers and ~59 by adjusting general lighting and receptacle load.

Curious to know what someone else's number is?
The Load calc spreadsheet I used was off the Mike Holt web site. Here's the rest of the numbers:

Total service demand 25495 VA
Demand Load 106 amp
Neutral Load 67 amp

Does the Demand Load mean: If all the service load was ON at the same time?
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Old 06-17-2013, 01:57 PM   #12
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Question about code compliance


I was just using an "existing dwelling" calc based on your numbers and changed your general lighting to 2400. It's 100% of the first 8kva and 40% of the remainder.
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:16 AM   #13
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Question about code compliance


Adding a 4500 watt water heater adds another 18.75 amps to your electrical load @ 240 volts.But I'm always pushing for electrical upgrades,especially more circuits to lessen circuit loads.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:50 AM   #14
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Adding a 4500 watt water heater adds another 18.75 amps to your electrical load @ 240 volts.But I'm always pushing for electrical upgrades,especially more circuits to lessen circuit loads.
If the circuit is not overloaded why add more circuits? Sounds like uneeded upgrade.
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Old 06-18-2013, 06:54 AM   #15
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Question about code compliance


I was surprised, this first one is using the optional resi calculation



This one is using the standard method



Both include water heater, ref, micro. Maybe there's no AC.

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