Hi, I would like to describe my panel arrangement and see if anyone would like to offer any advice, ideas or opinions. I have an indoor, main shut off box which has the meter attached and contains two 70 amp BUSS fuses. This also has a large handle that can be pulled down to shut off power to the entire house. This main shut off box says 100 amps on it and it does not contain any circuit breakers.
Currently there are two small sub panels that come directly off the Main shut off box along with a third feed to the main circuit breaker panel. These two smaller panels are within a couple feet of the Main shut off box. One of these small sub panels contains a 30 amp, 240 Volt breaker for the Clothes dryer. The other small sub panel contains one single 20 amp breaker for the dish washer. There is another double breaker in this panel that has a line out and leads to a box that is not attached to anything. All three of the panels are being fed from the same connection inside the Main shut off box. In other words, each of the bolt down type connectors in the main shut off box has three wires attached, to supply the three separate panels.
The main circuit breaker box is about 20 feet away. It is a bulldog pushmatic type Panel rated at 100 amps. It has spaces for 14 Circuit breakers and it is full. It has worked well over the time Iíve lived here and I have replaced about 4 of the breakers. The house is not that big and we have plenty of electrical devices running with no problems. Breakers have rarely tripped. Maybe once every couple years when someone manages to turn every thing in the kitchen on at the same time. In other words I donít think I need more than 100 amps. I know many will say I should replace the pushmatic panel. I donít want to replace the Bull Dog panel because it is mounted in a very difficult spot within the wall of the basement stairway. It is a nightmare getting wires in and out of that box from behind that wall. There is about 4 inches of clearance behind the wall before you hit cinderblock. I think it might be a pretty big job because of the difficult location.
Right now none of the panels has a main breaker. They all rely on the 70 amp BUSS fuses in the Main shut off box. Iím going to read the local code book here but I suspect that it might not be allowed to have three panels feeding off the main shut off box.
The solution I am imagining is thisÖ
- Remove the two small sub panels.
- Replace them with one new larger 100 amp panel. Then, instead of having 3 direct feeds coming from the main shut off box there would be only one.
- Put a 100 amp breaker in this new panel that will feed the bull dog panel.
- Move a few of the circuits away from the Bull Dog over to the new panel.
- The end result would be a neater layout with less congestion on the bull dog panel. Also there would be several empty spaces on the new panel for future needs. I should note that I am not planning to add any more circuits than already exist in the current setup.
Iím planning to do this work myself followed by inspection by an electrician and local inspector. Iíve done work like this before on several homes I previously owned with no problems.
By having a 100 amp panel feeding off of another 100 amp panel would my house now be considered to have 200 amp service? Also since the Main shut off fuse box is rated at 100 amps would that be considered an overload? As I said, Iím not planning to add more appliances than currently exist.
Do I need a main breaker in the new panel or can I rely on the Buss fuses?
Thanks in advance for any enlightenment you shine my way!