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Old 07-17-2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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sub-panel electrical code


I have a 200 Amp service which is plenty for anything I can imagine wiring into my 120 year old house. I am adding an addtion to the house and the 120 year design is causing a huge problem in running all the required wires to the kitchen, dinning room and second floor addition.

All of the wires must cross a 7" basement beam with no overhead space from joists, or an 18" stone foundation, or are being cut off by 32" cold air return as well as additional ductwork. I need a minimum of 11 circuits in the kitchen alone in order to meet local code. Finally, none of the doorways from the basement to the first and then second floors line up. I am running additional ductwork for heat and a new cold air return which is eating up what little raceway exists.

I have followed all the code calculations and have determined I need a 40 Amp panel with 11 circuits for the kitchen, and a 30 Amp panel for the second floor. This would be accompanied with about 8 additional circuits to the first floor for varying purposes. That is way too many wires to run through available space. To me, the solution is to install a sub-panel in the kitchen and another in the second floor addition. That would reduce about 20 wires to 2 from the basement to the first floor and 10 to 7 from the first floor to the second.

All I am seeing are 100 Amp panels and I'm being told by Home Depot salesmen that I will need an electrition to do this. Is this true? I'm not about to shell out the money for 2 - 100 Amp services which are nothing more that running wires and making a few simple connections that I have often made in the past.

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Old 07-17-2010, 05:17 PM   #2
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IMO a 40 amp panel is not nearly enough for a kitchen.

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Old 07-17-2010, 05:58 PM   #3
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100-Amp panels are fine, and usually a pretty good deal. You can get a Square-D homeline panel for about $50, which comes with 5 20-amp breakers.

The important thing is that the breaker in your main panel which feeds your subpanel is sized appropriately for the wire you use. So if you run #6 wire from your main panel to the sub, you would use (I think) a 50-amp breaker, and you would have a 50-amp sub-panel. I'll let someone else confirm what breaker rating is needed for what size wire.

As far as whether you need an electrician, that depends on the laws in your area, and your electrical skill & comfort level.

Here in MN, homeowners are allowed to do their own wiring. They must still get a permit, and have it inspected.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:19 PM   #4
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Just because a panel is rated at 100 amps, does not mean you have to feed it with 100 amps.
You can feed it with any size circuit up 100 amps.
As far as HD saying you need an electrician, that is up to local codes.
It seems to suck that HD sells this stuff that you can buy but not install yourself!
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulkf View Post
I need a minimum of 11 circuits in the kitchen alone in order to meet local code.
Do you mean 11 circuits or 11 outlets? Normally, two circuits are all that is required.
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Old 07-17-2010, 06:41 PM   #6
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Do you mean 11 circuits or 11 outlets? Normally, two circuits are all that is required.
I'm sure he means devices.... and yup....code now requires TWO separate 20 amp circuits for a kitchen.

If he needs 11 circuits, he's got one helluva HUGE kitchen!

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Old 07-17-2010, 06:47 PM   #7
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I would think a multi wire branch would be easier to do than a sub if he needs two circuits. Here is his comment:
Quote:
That is way too many wires to run through available space.
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Old 07-17-2010, 07:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
I'm sure he means devices.... and yup....code now requires TWO separate 20 amp circuits for a kitchen.

If he needs 11 circuits, he's got one helluva HUGE kitchen!

DM
I count 8 circuits standard off the top of my head that are typical for a new kitchen. I could see going overboard if it was my kitchen and I was trying to anticipate electrical needs for the future.

2 - appliance circuits
1 - micro/hood fan
1 - d/w & disposal
1 - instahot
1 - refrigerator
1 - range
1 - lights

optional (high end kitchen):
wine cooler
warming drawers
cooktop separate from oven
second oven
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:46 AM   #9
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The two 20 amp circuits are for countertop appliances. So as Jupe Blue says more circuits are needed for a kitchen.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:07 AM   #10
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Well, MY inspector told me I needed TWO separate circuits for my kitchen...period. I even asked about the fridge and one outlet on one circuit, and 3 or 4 more outlets on the other. He said that is fine. So THAT is what I'm doing.
(luckily, my second panel will have empty spaces for future use if needed.)

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Old 07-18-2010, 07:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Stubbie View Post
The two 20 amp circuits are for countertop appliances. So as Jupe Blue says more circuits are needed for a kitchen.
Yup, the "11" just threw me for a loop - seemed like a lot but when you start counting, there are quite a few. We also don't know the complete configuration of the kitchen either - gas stove or electric, separate cook top, etc.
paulkf,
Can you complete the project with one sub-panel? Would you be able to get the wires upstairs?
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:45 AM   #12
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I recently did something similar to what you are doing. On the second floor addition I installed a sub-panel. I used 6/3 with a 50 amp breaker. The power needs on my second floor were minimal - just lights and outlets. I don't know what your second floor looks like.

My kitchen was wired off an existing 90 amp sub panel. I used 3 circuits for outlets, one for the fridge, one for the dish washer, one for the garbage disposal, one for a microwave. All outlets need GFCI but I used GFCI for everything in the kitchen, even where not required - in my mind - water and electricity don't mix.

If you are comfortable with doing your own electric, a sub-panel install is not difficult. Just discuss your plans with the inspector ahead of time. Saves rework later.
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupe Blue View Post
I count 8 circuits standard off the top of my head that are typical for a new kitchen. I could see going overboard if it was my kitchen and I was trying to anticipate electrical needs for the future.

2 - appliance circuits
1 - micro/hood fan
1 - d/w & disposal
1 - instahot
1 - refrigerator
1 - range
1 - lights

optional (high end kitchen):
wine cooler
warming drawers
cooktop separate from oven
second oven
The kitchen is not really that big and your list is pretty good. I donít have the d/w and disposal, but I have a connected eat-in area (light) that leads to a porch (light), a security system, 2 added receptacle circuits, and both basement and second floor stairs - right off the kitchen which adds 2 circuits via 3-way switches.

All of this, running at full use and capacity multiplied by 125% results in about 40A.

The entire upstairs requires 30A @ 125% of full capacity. Since this is a wiring problem, not a power problem, with wires going to the first floor are one problem and the wires going to the second floor are another, a single 100A sub-panel is only a partial solution.

I guess that a #6 wire, for 50A to a 100A panel is not such a horrible solution for the kitchen. I donít understand why 50A sub-panels with 10 knock-outs or so arenít within code and available Ė especially for reconstructions where raceways are limited, feeding wires through cavities could be limited and cheaper, and insulation would not be as subject to being crushed or split, etc..
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:50 PM   #14
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Yeah, talking with the inspector seems the course to take.
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Old 07-22-2010, 10:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulkf View Post
I guess that a #6 wire, for 50A to a 100A panel is not such a horrible solution for the kitchen. I donít understand why 50A sub-panels with 10 knock-outs or so arenít within code and available Ė especially for reconstructions where raceways are limited, feeding wires through cavities could be limited and cheaper, and insulation would not be as subject to being crushed or split, etc..
I agree with you... but as I understand it the capacity of the subpanel is limited by the breaker in the main panel. The main disconnect for the subpanel is for convenience. So might as well make all subpanels the same and let people choose the maximum current when they hook them into the main panel, I guess.

My two cents,
Robert

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