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Old 12-29-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
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Want to add a subpanel


So we want to add a subpanel to our main this year since we are doing some new additions to the house. After reading on here about feeder breakers and open slots I decided that I would take pics let you look and tell me if it can be done....I don't know the amp service yet because the main switch is a light switch and not a breaker...I can say that I have over 300 amps in breakers.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:20 PM   #2
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Are you saying that the Main Breaker is a standard light switch??

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Old 12-29-2010, 12:22 PM   #3
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That is what I am saying...let me go and get a better pic of just that!
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
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Ok here are the pics...it looks like an actual light switch
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GinaB View Post
So we want to add a subpanel to our main this year since we are doing some new additions to the house. After reading on here about feeder breakers and open slots I decided that I would take pics let you look and tell me if it can be done....I don't know the amp service yet because the main switch is a light switch and not a breaker...I can say that I have over 300 amps in breakers.

First of all, that panel is packed pretty full. If you add a subpanel, you're probably going to need to reroute some circuits to the sub to make room for the sub disconnect breaker. That's not to say it can't be done, though.

Also, just because the total rating of the breakers in your panel exceeds 300A does not mean that you have 300A service. The total rating of the breakers is allowed to exceed the main breaker rating. The real question is what is the total load of the house?

Also, what sort of addition are you planning (bedroom, living area, workshop, etc.)? Some uses will require more load than others, so that is an important consideration.

You need to determine the rating of your service (100A, 150A, 200A, etc.), calculate the additional load the additional will create, and then determine if your service is capable of supporting the additional load. Once you've determined that, then you can decide if you need have your service upgraded (if so, just replace the service panel with a larger one), or if you want to add a sub.

The "light switch" as a main disconnect intrigues me. Can you post a better picture? Also, does your service have an outside disconnect at the meter can?
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:30 PM   #6
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Clashley did you see the latest pics or do you need a better one than that of the light switch
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:42 PM   #7
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Clashley did you see the latest pics or do you need a better one than that of the light switch
Gina, that is not a light switch, that is the main breaker.
If should have # in the middle, or on the side of the handle.
That # will be 100, 125, 150 or 200.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:45 PM   #8
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Clashley did you see the latest pics or do you need a better one than that of the light switch
That should be your main breaker. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it should be stamped with the rating somewhere on the handle.

*EDIT - Yeah, what JB said *
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:46 PM   #9
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LOl...I know I am not an electrician but that is what it looked like to me...sorry...quick question...I really don't want to flip the main breaker to see what the number says on the top of it...so can I go to my meter and look for the total there...if so where would it be at...I have a digital meter and the numbers start off with CL200 240v 60 (something..I can't remember right off hand)
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:49 PM   #10
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LOl...I know I am not an electrician but that is what it looked like to me...sorry...quick question...I really don't want to flip the main breaker to see what the number says on the top of it...so can I go to my meter and look for the total there...if so where would it be at...I have a digital meter and the numbers start off with CL200 240v 60 (something..I can't remember right off hand)
The meter is not going to tell you anything for sure. You need to see what the breaker says. Use a hand mirror to see the top if you don't want to flip the breaker.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:49 PM   #11
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You should not have to turn the main off.
It will be on the front tip, or the side of the handle.
You have a 200 amp rated meter base, but that does not tell us the size of your service.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:54 PM   #12
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Eureka! It is 150amp service....the addition would be 60amps total by the way....so now what....
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:02 PM   #13
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Eureka! It is 150amp service....the addition would be 60amps total by the way....so now what....

What exactly are you doing in the addition? I'm assuming from your panel that you have electric appliances (stove, water heater, heat). Adding a 60A panel is not necessarily a problem.

What we need to do now is figure out how much of your 150A service is being used currently, and how much more of a load you are going to add. If you are adding simple living space (a bedroom or living room/den), you're probably fine. If you are building a workshop that will have heavy tools, then you might want to upgrade the service.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:05 PM   #14
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This should get you started on the calculations.

http://www.electricalknowledge.com/SFDLoadCalc.asp
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:57 PM   #15
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Sorry Jbfan but I now completely lost with the calculations. I was never good at math and now I am completely confused....I don't have info on my stove and dishwasher to get the watts or volts for it so I don't know...then my heater/ac has several numbers on it so I am not sure which one to use

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