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Old 01-11-2019, 07:54 PM   #16
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Re: Additional circuits?


While you're at it you might want to confirm that the circuits have 20a wiring (12g) and the previous owner didn't just pop in 20a breakers on existing 14g wiring.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:12 AM   #17
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Re: Additional circuits?


@Wiredindallas Yeah, the well went down in 1970, the foundation was poured in 1977 and the house was finished in 1978. A second panel was added in the 1980s in the detached garage/shop so I guess I presumed we can just add another panel? Do we need to buy a new bigger one instead? We do plan to build an addition, I'm just not sure where to put it yet.

By "13 outlets", commercial or residential, are we talking about actual things plugged in (I'm probably well over that in most rooms) or do we mean the number of "receptacles" on the circuit?

@jbfan I'm not sure I care if it's commercial or residential specs, nor even what our basically non-existent local codes might "allow." I want to comply with the latest international wisdom & practices regardless.

@BrownEyedGuy I'll tack you in here now too so I can ask all three of you the same question:


What is the purpose of the difference between commercial and residential specs? I just have assumptions, mostly centered around costs. To which I say, this house is going to my youngest when my husband and I retire to our place in Arizona. My eventual grand kids are likely going to be raised here; cost is not an issue.





@lenaitch That's a good point. Kitchen ceiling picture, but this is what's in the walls, I can't bend the stuff at all. Think the sheathing on this stuff is standard? My calipers say it's 6mm x 12.6mm

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Old 01-12-2019, 02:55 AM   #18
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Re: Additional circuits?


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What is the purpose of the difference between commercial and residential specs? I just have assumptions, mostly centered around costs. To which I say, this house is going to my youngest when my husband and I retire to our place in Arizona. My eventual grand kids are likely going to be raised here; cost is not an issue.
I don't know the history of the passage. It's a fairly minor passage and has been in code for ages. The fact is, it's a non-issue in residential work, and should never have been brought up in the discussion for the very reason that you are now focused on it. The majority of residential outlets never get used, because they are stuck behind dressers and couches and beds, oh my.

In a similar manner, the wire gauge didn't need to be brought up in this discussion either. Yeah, it's good to know that 12 gauge wire should be used on 20 amp circuits, but to blindly toss out a warning about it as though it is commonplace served no purpose here.
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:12 AM   #19
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Re: Additional circuits?


@BrownEyedGuy I'll disagree slightly, I think it's good for folks to know - good for them to know it's a non-issue too.

I'm in the "never too much knowledge" camp

That said, what if I /am/ going to use every outlet and still want more??



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Old 01-12-2019, 03:38 AM   #20
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Re: Additional circuits?


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@BrownEyedGuy I'll disagree slightly, I think it's good for folks to know - good for them to know it's a non-issue too.

I'm in the "never too much knowledge" camp
You're absolutely right....you can never have too much information. I'm like that too. The problem is that sometimes that information gets presented only partially, and worse, for reasons not necessarily beneficial to the person seeking that knowledge.
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That said, what if I /am/ going to use every outlet and still want more??
Well, for the most part, that's actually the situation you face with your office area....or whatever you call it. So in that case, you should examine all possible loads that you expect to have running simultaneously in that space. A "normal" human being would never need to do this in a residential room....But you and I appear to be similar "non-normal" human beings. .....We play with things in the office that tend to max out circuits.

So in that case, simply split your office area up so you are dividing the heavy loads between two circuits.

But for the rest of the house, it is very unlikely that you would ever need to worry about outlet loading. Kitchens and bathrooms are the exceptions, but those also have their own specific rules.

EDIT: Oh, P.S. Code is there to cover the "gee I don't know" situations so electricians don't short change the customer. You, on the other hand, already do know. So that's why you don't need to worry about generic calculations on outlet loading. You're doing user-specific loading calcs.

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Old 01-12-2019, 03:49 AM   #21
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Re: Additional circuits?


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Originally Posted by BrownEyedGuy View Post
A "normal" human being would never need to do this in a residential room....But you and I appear to be similar "non-normal" human beings. .....We play with things in the office that tend to max out circuits.

So in that case, simply split your office area up so you are dividing the heavy loads between two circuits.

Abnormal twin powers, activate!


My box is full so can I add in a second box, or should I get a new bigger one? - Not something we'd be comfortable doing so I'll need to schedule that with an electrician ASAP or they probably won't be able to fit me in this summer.
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:56 AM   #22
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Re: Additional circuits?


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My box is full so can I add in a second box, or should I get a new bigger one? - Not something we'd be comfortable doing so I'll need to schedule that with an electrician ASAP or they probably won't be able to fit me in this summer.
Answering that question has the potential for giving bad advice without knowing more about the entire situation.

If you are only adding 1 circuit, then doing a little rearranging and using another tandem breaker would resolve it easier. However, I don't recall if you said this was your main load center versus a subpanel. There's a lot of things that should probably be asked before sending you down a bad path. For example, I'm not even sure that you ever mentioned why you were opening up all the walls in the first place.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:15 AM   #23
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Re: Additional circuits?


Actually, when I look at the picture of the load center, it would appear to be your main, and only, load center. So considering that it is only a 20-position panel, plus already has 4 tandem breakers installed, it probably would be reasonable to upgrade to a new panel with more positions.

That's entirely your call, though. The fact that you appear to be doing some major renovation work also tends to make it a logical choice.

Oh, and then there is the fact that you are demanding hubby build you a wood shop. You'll have new circuits there too.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:43 AM   #24
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Re: Additional circuits?


I decided to look up all the threads you started, and see that you are doing a lot of work on your house. So that leads me to ask an important question in regard to your upgrading the main load center.

Can you find out how large your existing electrical service is? i.e what size is the main circuit breaker?

Given the age, location, and size of the house, it wouldn't be unusual that you have only a 100 amp service. If that is the case, you may want to inquire with the utility company what it would cost to upgrade to 200 amp. With the hobbies that you are in to, it is probably a good time to look into it. Oh, if it's already 150 amp, then maybe/maybe not. That one is more marginal.

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Old 01-12-2019, 08:30 AM   #25
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Re: Additional circuits?


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In a similar manner, the wire gauge didn't need to be brought up in this discussion either. Yeah, it's good to know that 12 gauge wire should be used on 20 amp circuits, but to blindly toss out a warning about it as though it is commonplace served no purpose here.

Notwithstanding that I believe it is a basic Code requirement (although it appears some consider it optional), it's a caution raised by many contributors on many threads.



Perhaps you could provide your email address so all contributors of this site can pass their posts through you for prior approval.
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Old 01-12-2019, 08:36 AM   #26
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Re: Additional circuits?


Gosh, that would be swell.

But simply repeating something just because you've heard it mentioned under other circumstances is not really conducive to fostering good information.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:05 PM   #27
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Re: Additional circuits?


I'll call the electric company on Monday and see what service the house has. I wouldn't mind burying the overhead line anyway, it practically lays across the shop roof all winter, it always gets snarled up in the trees (and I'm sure they're tired of coming out here to trim the birches,) plus I want to clear out a bigger "parking lot" next to the shop anyway. The harder question is if they can even upgrade me at all, we're on an old "pig tail" line that only services maybe 10 houses; it wouldn't surprise me if it has limited capacity.



On the breaker box, I got an appointment for work the end of March but their sending someone to scout end of the month so I'll see what they recommend. Maybe we can swap out the 60A that goes to the shop for something smaller, all he has out there is the big air compressor. My tools are the ones that'll be plugged in.




Thanks guys! Very helpful and I learned that we already have the "higher capacity" breakers too. My husband says we have 12g wire in the wall too \o/
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:54 AM   #28
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Re: Additional circuits?


Alright, discussed all this with the husband and he's not real keen on getting a new fuse box right now.

His thought was that we'll want to move the meter to a different location so it's not in the way of the back deck. He wants to add a new "main panel" in the addition and use the existing one as a second (third really because there's one in the detatched shop) Does that sound doable? (Note that I want to bury the overhead wires coming into the house.)


The electric company hasn't returned my call about the service to the house yet. I'm still trying to catch an actual person in the office.




He also said there actually are a few open slots in the existing fuse box because we had a dryer circuit, the old fridge one, and one that used to run the sump pump and drain pipe heater in the basement (the new dryer is gas and the new fridge needed a new one with moar power, idk what he did with the sump pump/pipe heater circuit, maybe put it with the basement lights...) He said this summer we can go through the entire fuse box and "reorganize" it - a bunch of the breakers are mis-labeled and "unknown" so he wants to sort that out anyway.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:04 AM   #29
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Re: Additional circuits?


Yes, that sounds fine.

I'm throwing this out just for the heck of it..."the more you know...." Ya know?

If the walls between the existing load center and the new load center will be completely opened up, you do have the option of gutting the old load center and using it as a big splice box (junction box), and then moving all circuits to the new, larger load center. You just need to replace (or modify) the front cover to have no holes.

It's not done too often, because the benefits aren't always worth the work. But it is an option available. It does put all of your breakers in one location, which can be nice. It also means you don't need the full clearances in front of the old panel because it is now just a junction box.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:07 AM   #30
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Re: Additional circuits?


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The electric company hasn't returned my call about the service to the house yet. I'm still trying to catch an actual person in the office.
Oh, I missed this. The easiest way to find out is to locate your main circuit breaker, and see what amperage is stamped on the handle. Your actual service "might" be larger, but more often than not, they match.
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