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Old 06-29-2009, 09:40 AM   #1
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


So I need some dedicated 20amp lines to power the new media/server room downstairs and I've found some interested things that I have questions on.

Here it goes:

1. )It appears there is only one slot open in my box so can(should) I just add a tandem breaker there for my two new circuits?

2.) Related, what's the best way to run these wires into the house. It appears they are all in the wall now so can I just staple them along the wall in the garage all the way into the house or do they have to be metal conduit or something?

3.) What kind of scares me is I've replaced dozens of switches and receptacles in the house and I have yet to see a 20 amp line, they've all been 14/2 white lines but when I looked into the panel today most breakers are 20amp. Which brings me to the my next picture. While I was getting the room ready for the new walls I've noticed burn marks on wires and insulation. Should this concern me...I'm guessing yes.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:35 AM   #2
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


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So I need some dedicated 20amp lines to power the new media/server room downstairs and I've found some interested things that I have questions on.

Here it goes:

1. )It appears there is only one slot open in my box so can(should) I just add a tandem breaker there for my two new circuits?

Yes, Only if the panel is rated for them to be used. Look at the panel labeling and see if they are allowed and where you can physically install them. I notice you have no main breaker in this panel. Is it a sub panel or do you have a disconnect we cannot see in the pictures?

2.) Related, what's the best way to run these wires into the house. It appears they are all in the wall now so can I just staple them along the wall in the garage all the way into the house or do they have to be metal conduit or something?

Getting the cables to the garage can be fished, and no stapling is required. Once in the garage you should use conduit as sleeves when dropping down for receptacle boxes and switch boxes. Romex (NM) cannot be subject to physical damage.

3.) What kind of scares me is I've replaced dozens of switches and receptacles in the house and I have yet to see a 20 amp line, they've all been 14/2 white lines but when I looked into the panel today most breakers are 20amp.

Just because the cables are white does not mean they are #14 cables. It's only recently that they started color coding the cables. If your initial installer had #12 white available he was and is able to use it. Color of the cable does not always indicated the wire gauge.

Which brings me to the my next picture. While I was getting the room ready for the new walls I've noticed burn marks on wires and insulation. Should this concern me...I'm guessing yes.

Yes it should. In the picture it looks like the blue tubing or whatever it is, is touching the cable. What is this blue line for? Is it rubbing, getting hot? Keep the cables away from scrubbing or very hot lines or ducts. Burn marks in the middle of the cable are very rare and most always caused by another source. The terminals usually are where cables fail. Not in the middle.
Check the cable jacket for the correct size. Explain the blue line that is apparently causing your issue with the cable. Stay calm as all your concerns can be addressed and corrected if required.

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Old 06-29-2009, 10:49 AM   #3
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


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Check the cable jacket for the correct size. Explain the blue line that is apparently causing your issue with the cable. Stay calm as all your concerns can be addressed and corrected if required.
The blue like is cat5 that I ran about two weeks ago and that's when I noticed the burn mark. The burn marks in the insulation were there when I removed the drywall and the old[er] romex.

That's the main panel not a sub-panel. The main breaker is in the bottom right , if I switch that everything goes out.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:26 PM   #4
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


The burn mark in the bottom photo looks like it was caused by a torch used to solder copper.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


I'm trying to find if and what type of tandem breaker I can get. What is a "Pan Rail Slot" and what are the chances my box has them? I've found two different breakers, one works with the Pan Rail Slow and one does not. Give the picture above of the box trim and the fact that the house is 35 years old is it safe to say one way or the other I have the Pan Rail Slot?

http://www.amazon.com/Square-D-QO202...6295799&sr=1-6

http://www.amazon.com/BREAKER-SQUARE...295681&sr=1-93
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Old 06-29-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


I think you may want to have a licensed electrician take a look at the wiring for you. J.V. is correct about the color coding however something is obviously wrong here. I don't think anyone can safely diagnose whats going on there without being there. The panel label doesn't say how many amps the panel is rated for and that is a concern for me since from what I can see your over 300 amps currently. It may be nothing but when it comes to electricity its always better to be safe than sorry. The electrician can also tell you exactly what kind of breaker to use and where to get it while he is out there. As far as the run is concerned there are several books available at home centers that explain the process in detail and lay out what tools you need to complete the project. If you don't run them in the wall they will have to be in conduit. Also don't forget to get a building permit for this it is required by law.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:33 PM   #7
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


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I think you may want to have a licensed electrician take a look at the wiring for you. J.V. is correct about the color coding however something is obviously wrong here. I don't think anyone can safely diagnose whats going on there without being there. The panel label doesn't say how many amps the panel is rated for and that is a concern for me since from what I can see your over 300 amps currently.
How did you arrive at this number????????
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:14 PM   #8
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


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How did you arrive at this number????????
Why he added up the breakers, of course.

Ryan: Is that copper pipe below the wires with the burn mark? If so, then the burn is most likely courtesy of your plumber.
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:20 PM   #9
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


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The panel label doesn't say how many amps the panel is rated for and that is a concern for me since from what I can see your over 300 amps currently. It may be nothing but when it comes to electricity its always better to be safe than sorry.
I have over 800a in my panel & subs
Guess I'm really in trouble
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:18 AM   #10
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Three separate by related electrical/breaker questions and concerns


I apologize I must have entered a number wrong somewhere in my calculation for the load. Happens to the best of us. The basic formula I used is as follows:
Range 11500
Dishwasher 1500
Disposal 1000
Fridge 1500
Dryer 10000
Kitchen Circuits 1800*3
AC/Heat 3000
Garage lighting/ duplexes 800
House lighting load 1000*3
House duplex load 2000*3
Total Watts= 43700-10000=33700*40%=13480+10000=23480/230=102 amps
My main concern is the burn marks on the insulation obviously there is no copper pipe there so it was not the plumber in that case. The burned wire may or may not have been the plumber, either way it needs to be addressed. I still think this needs to be looked at by an electrician.

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