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Old 03-25-2011, 09:31 PM   #1
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room for expansion in main panel???


I have a 150A main panel in my home. The home was built in 1994. I would like to add an additional breaker for some new lighting i was planning on installing this summer. majority of the breakers in the panel are 15/1 or 20/1

How can i find out if i have enough room (load wise) to add more load to the panel without tripping the main breaker? Is this easy to do?

now, i am not sure if any of the existing circuits have enough room to add more load to them. how can i find that out? cause it may be easy enough to tie the new lighting in to an existing circuit (if theirs room)

Here are some specifics:

Square D
#QOC30U

Type 1
Series G1

150Amp Main
30ckt panel
6 spaces left

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Old 03-25-2011, 11:10 PM   #2
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room for expansion in main panel???


List the breakers in the panel, and possibly post a picture showing same. Only way to know, would be to do a load calculation, and that means going through everything plugged in, or hooked up to the panel and adding up the numbers.

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Old 03-26-2011, 07:47 AM   #3
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room for expansion in main panel???


I'm probably safe to assume that by adding a few lights(i.e potlioghts, track lights, wall sconces) will not cause you problems. If there is room in your panel to adda nreaker just add another breaker.
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:11 AM   #4
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room for expansion in main panel???


If your service is loaded to the point of tripping out the main with the addition of a couple of lights, you can't afford the electric bills!
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Old 03-26-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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room for expansion in main panel???


i will get this info today or as much as i can.

if i wanted to add a new breaker, do i have to have a permit to do so? is this an easy enough DIY that i dont need a professional to come in?
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:01 AM   #6
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room for expansion in main panel???


Pulling a permit depends on how strict your local codes are. Check online at your City or County website, and you should be able to find out what scope of work, the home owner can perform without a permit. Our city is pretty lax when it comes to being able to perform your own electrical without a permit.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:29 PM   #7
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room for expansion in main panel???


it looks like i need a permit to add a breaker in to my house panel as well as having it inspected once complete.

i have never got a permit before or had a reason too, plus the inspection on top of that. i cant imagine its that cheap. what was supposed to be a quick fix/addition has turned in to being quite expensive.
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Old 03-26-2011, 07:52 PM   #8
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room for expansion in main panel???


If your just adding a simple circuit and not doing major work I dont see yourself needing a permit.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:21 PM   #9
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room for expansion in main panel???


I believe that breakers are made to trip at 80% of there rating so your 150 Amp main would need 120 Amps drawn to trip it. Your main concerns would be Electric Stove, Dryer, Hot Water Tank, Furnace or other Larger breakers in your panel. If you are just adding lighting and plugs you should be ok, but err on the side of caution.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:23 PM   #10
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room for expansion in main panel???


Quote:
Originally Posted by screwy View Post
I believe that breakers are made to trip at 80% of there rating so your 150 Amp main would need 120 Amps drawn to trip it. Your main concerns would be Electric Stove, Dryer, Hot Water Tank, Furnace or other Larger breakers in your panel. If you are just adding lighting and plugs you should be ok, but err on the side of caution.
Not true! A150amp breaker will trip when the current is 150amps or more.
This pretty much for any breaker, with few exceptions.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:43 PM   #11
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room for expansion in main panel???


i actually contacted the permit place for my county. they told me i had to have a permit/inspection to add a breaker and any additional wiring........
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:52 PM   #12
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room for expansion in main panel???


All municipalities are like this cuz they want to get paid. If youre only adding a simple circuit with a few lights,outlets,ect. Youll be fine without a permit. They wont know youre doing work in your own house. As long as youre not doin anything structual or an outdoors big noticable job your fine.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseystyle26 View Post
All municipalities are like this cuz they want to get paid. If youre only adding a simple circuit with a few lights,outlets,ect. Youll be fine without a permit. They wont know youre doing work in your own house. As long as youre not doin anything structual or an outdoors big noticable job your fine.
Some jurisdictions do not even cover the costs of doing the inspection from the permit fees. Maybe they are concerned enough that they want the wiring checked to ensure the life safety of the current and future residents. Without the oversight how will an untrained person know that the work they did is safe? The Op might want to consider themselves lucky that they don't need a license to pull the permit.

Your attitude runs counter to the safe and compliant instructions that many professionals on this site give.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:27 PM   #14
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room for expansion in main panel???


Just talked to my sparky about the same thing
No permit required.
If the panel doesn't have any spare slots, you can add a doubled up mini breaker.
It gives you two breakers in one slot.
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Old 03-26-2011, 10:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcleve4911 View Post
Just talked to my sparky about the same thing
No permit required.
If the panel doesn't have any spare slots, you can add a doubled up mini breaker.
It gives you two breakers in one slot.
Not all panels are listed to accept tandems. You need to check the panel label.

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